OMAHA, Neb. – No. 8 Western Michigan scored two late goals to beat the Omaha hockey team, 7-6, on Friday night at Baxter Arena.
Griffen Molino capped off a hat trick with two goals in the final 5:48 to finish off a wild game in which the Broncos at one time had a three-goal lead. Molino beat back-up goaltender Alex Blankenburg with his second and his team’s third shorthanded goal of the game at 14:12 to tie the game at six. He then fired home the winner at 17:49.
The loss put the Mavericks 14-12-5 overall and 7-10-2-0/0 in the NCHC, dropping them into sixth place after St. Cloud State moved ahead of them with a win against Miami. The Broncos moved into sole possession of third over idle North Dakota, improving to 9-7-1-0/1 in the conference and 16-7-4 overall.
Trailing 5-4 entering the third period, the Mavericks tied the game at 4:58. Joel Messner’s shot from the right point found its way through traffic, beating goaltender Ben Blacker just inside the left post for his second of the year.
The Mavericks then took their only lead of the game when Fredrik Olofsson fired home his eighth goal of the year on a power play at 8:24. It was the last of four straight goals by UNO.
The first period was an offensive slugfest with the two teams combining for eight goals. Western Michigan opened up a 2-0 lead just 4:18 into the game and after the Mavericks trimmed it to 2-1 on a power play goal by David Pope, the Broncos popped home two more to lead 4-1.
The Mavericks weren’t done. Pope tipped in a shot by Jordan Klehr during a delayed penalty for his second of the night, but the Broncos stretched their lead when Molino scored shorthanded to make it 5-2.
But during the continuation of the power play, the Mavericks would tally again when Luc Snuggerud scored his 10th of the year on a blast from the left point.
The second period featured just one goal. Justin Parizek took a rink-wide pass from Snuggerud and threw the puck toward the goal. Tristan Keck fought off a defender to tip it past Blacker for his fourth goal of the season.
Blankenburg took the loss, allowing three goals while making 19 saves. He entered the game midway through the first period after starter Evan Weninger was pulled after allowing four goals on seven shots.
Blacker made 33 saves as the Mavericks outshot the Broncos, 39-29.
The two teams conclude the season series on Saturday at 7:07 p.m.