Sophomore goaltender Nick Pisellini made 15 of his 27 saves in the second and third periods and Western Michigan used two goals just 42 seconds apart in the first period to set the stage for a 3-1 NCAA Division I men’s hockey victory over St. Lawrence Friday night.
Pisellini, who started his collegiate career at Quinnipiac in the 2008-09 season, won for the second time in his career at Appleton Arena, as he was also the goalie of record in a 5-2 Quinnipiac win in 2008. He won his fourth straight start for the Broncos, who will take a 4-1-0 record into a Saturday night rematch with the 0-3-2 Saints.
Western Michigan jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with the rapid fire goals in the first period, but the Saints battled back and nearly tied the game as the first period buzzer sounded.
Sophomore defenseman Matt Tennyson scored just 24 seconds into the game’s first power play opportunity to put the Broncos up 1-0 with his second of the year, taking a pass from Dennis Brown and putting a shot inside the far post from the faceoff dot at 4:51. The Broncos came right back down ice after the puck bounced off a Saint defender following the faceoff and junior Derek Roehl scored his first of the season unassisted, going stick side from point blank range at 5:33.
SLU got one back with 1:03 to play in the period as junior Jacob Drewiske jammed the puck under Pisellini’s pads at the right post with Kyle Essery and George Hughes assisting and the Saints thought they had tied the game when rookie Jeremy Wick put back a rebound of a shot by captain Aaron Bogosian, but it was ruled that Wick’s shot came after the buzzer ending the period.
“I thought we did a pretty good job from the midpoint of the first period on,” said Saint associate head coach Bob Prier, who was running the team while head coach Joe Marsh is away on personal business. “We had our chances to tie it up, but Pisellini made some big saves and we had a couple of great chances go wide. We saw some good things out there, and hopefully we can build on this and get a win on Saturday.”
The Saints came on strong in the second period, outshooting Western Michigan 12-6, but couldn’t get anything past Pisellini.
St. Lawrence also had the upper hand in shots on goal in the third period, but their comeback efforts were hurt by a trio of penalties. Western iced the win with an empty net goal with 42.2 seconds to play as junior Ian Slater scored his second of the season into the empty net after sophomore defenseman Luke Witkowski broke the puck out of the Saint zone.
Saint goalie Matt Weninger finished with 20 saves for the Saints.