Broncos Earn Tie in South Bend, Drop at Home with Notre Dame
It was a battle of two ranked squads to open up their 2020 portion of their schedules before they headed into their respective conference's play.
Friday - Western Michigan 1, (at) Notre Dame 1
The Friday night portion of the weekend was an all-out battle between the two squads. Both goals came in the second period with the Irish scoring first. Cam Morrison would score following a scrum in front of Bronco goaltender Brandon Bussi just before the halfway mark of the second.
Just 53 seconds later, Luke Bafia would tally his first goal on the season for Western, pounding a rebound past Irish netminder Cale Morris' glove to tie.
Not much would take place with both teams playing clean hockey all the way through the extra five-minute period. Per NCAA rules, the non-conference game ended in a tie following a single overtime.
The highlights from the game are provided by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish YouTube channel. The game was broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Sunday - Notre Dame 4, (at) Western Michigan 1
After a day off Saturday, the two teams commenced for the finale Sunday at Lawson Ice Arena. Like Friday, another scoreless first period led to an onslaught of offense in the second stanza. This time around, Notre Dame would continue to capitalize on their chances.
In a stretch of just over seven minutes, the Irish placed all four goals on the evening and all coming from the same line. Morrison was credited for two assists before his second goal of the weekend. Alex Steeves would also tally two goals and two assists in the stretch.
The Broncos broke the shutout with just under five minutes remaining in the game. Freshman winger Jason Polin would score his second career goal placing a shot just under the crossbar in the loss.
The Broncos hit the road for another tough challenge as they return to National Collegiate Hockey Conference play this Friday and Saturday. Western makes their way to Minnesota Duluth to take on the back-to-back National Champion Bulldogs.
Duluth is ranked 10th in the nation and have won four straight. They are coming off a non-conference sweep over Merrimack on December 29th and 30th. The Bulldogs hold a 6-1-1 (win-loss-tie) mark in the NCHC and have won their last five conference matches.
The two teams split in their only meeting last season at Lawson Ice Arena. Western also came away with a split at AMSOIL Arena in their last appearance in Duluth in November 2017. This weekend will be the first of two weekends with the Bulldogs. Duluth returns to Lawson for a pair of games February 21st and 22nd. Face-off both nights in Minnesota are at 8:07pm.
Next Home Weekend
The Broncos return home on January 17th and 18th as they welcome the Colorado College Tigers. Western came away with a win and a tie (shootout loss) in November in Colorado Springs in November. It will be the first time the Tigers make their way to Lawson after eliminating them in the NCHC playoffs last season, winning the series 2-1 in the best-of-three.