Western Michigan's "insurance goal" paid off as the Broncos defeated the Bulldogs 3-2 in the first game of NCHC quarterfinals at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, MN.
With 1 minute and 42 seconds remaining in the third period, Western Michigan's Will Kessel buried an empty net goal as the Bulldogs were trying to rally. Kessel's goal gave the Broncos a 3-0 lead that looked to be the end of things.
But his insurance goal paid off.
Minnesota Duluth's Cal Decowski and Max Tardy closed the gap but the Bulldogs were unable to find the game-tying goal after Tardy's tally.
Sam Mellor put the Bronco's up on the board first, taking advantage of UMD penalty and scoring the lonely power play goal between both teams in the first period.
After a scoreless second period, Boston Bruins prospect Colton Hargrove fired things back up again to give the Broncos the 2-0 lead, while Nolan LaPorte earned his 14 assist of the year and 2nd of the night.
Kessel's empty netter and UMD's last minute scramble followed, but it wouldn't be enough.
The two teams will square off tomorrow at the Oil Can at 7:07 CT.
1st Period - WMU (17:25) PP Sam Mellor from Jordan Osterle and Nolan LaPorte
3rd Period - WMU (0:25) Colton Hargrove from Nolan LaPorte
3rd Period - WMU (18:18) ENG Will Kessel
3rd Period - UMD (18:30) Cal Decowski from Willie Corrin and Dan Molenaar
3rd Period - UMD (19:44) Max Tardy from Justin Crandall
Lukas Hafner (WMU): 14-9-8 = 31 (2 GA) - W
Aaron Crandall (UMD): 7-8-4 = 19 (3 GA) - L
The Bulldogs hit the post three times and outshot the Broncos by a 33-22 margin, but failed to find the back of the net until the final two minutes.
Both Dennis Brown and Jordan Oesterle finished the night with a +2 skater rating.
UMD went 0/3 on the power play and is now just 14% since the start of February.
Western Michigan remains undefeated while entering the second period with the lead and Minnesota Duluth remains winless when coming into the third period behind.
Puck Drops at 7:07 CT Saturday night.