Both teams were far from home, playing an essentially meaningless contest in a nearly-empty arena. But you wouldn’t have known it from the performance on the ice, where Brown and Western Michigan battled to a lively 1-1 tie in the consolation game of the Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci Arena.
Freshman winger Greg Squires scored the lone goal for Western Michigan (3-12-5) late in the second period, while senior defenseman Mark Stuart countered midway through the third with the tying score for Brown (1-9-3).
But the biggest stars were the goaltenders. The Broncos and the Bears combined for 77 shots on goal and quickened the pace as the game progressed, leading to 32 saves by Western Michigan’s Jerry Kuhn and a game-high 43 for Brown’s Mike Clemente.
Special teams were also prominently displayed, with a total of 11 power plays including three five-on-three advantages. Both goals were scored on the power play.
Brown had the better of the play in a nearly penalty-free first period, racking up a 13-8 advantage in shots, but no scoring. Action truly began in the second period; two WMU early penalties gave Brown 57 seconds of five-on-three, but Western Michigan killed both.
Minutes later, an apparent goal was waved off after a rebound by Western Michigan off a scramble. After video review the call was confirmed, leaving the scoreboard unmarked.
But with just over three minutes left in the middle frame, a high-stick by Brown’s Jarred Smith put WMU on its second power play of the game. A minute and a half later a delayed call on Stuart allowed Kuhn to depart the Bronco net, and Squires scored six-on-four to give WMU the 1-0 lead.
Squires’ goal, his third of the year, came from the top of the left faceoff circle, a waist-high shot off a pass from blueliner Jordan Collins that beat Clemente to the far side at 18:15.
The Broncos immediately went back on the power play due to the Stuart infraction and earned a five-on-three of their own when Brown’s Matt Palmer was sent off for crosschecking, but the Bears killed both of those penalties to keep the deficit to one.
Midway through the third period, Patrick Galivan had a chance to extend the WMU lead, but Clemente saved his shot off a two-on-one rush after a turnover at the far blue line. Instead, a hook by Sean Weaver put Brown up a man, and at 11:02 Stuart redeemed his penalty with the game-tying goal.
Off a feed from Sean McMonagle, the 6-foot-5 senior fired from the point, rattling the puck just the crossbar for his second goal of the season.
Western Michigan immediately got a chance to retake the lead when two more Brown penalties produced the third five-on-three of the afternoon. But for the third time in a row the two-man advantage failed, though yet another Brown penalty put the Broncos on a four-on-three which also came to naught.
In overtime, both teams had chances, including a shot by WMU sophomore Patrick Nagorsen that skidded wide and a slapper by Stuart that hit Kuhn up high before being stopped.
Finally, with three seconds left in OT, Clemente stopped the last WMU opportunity, a redirection by Max Campbell from the right side of the crease, to preserve the tie.
Next weekend, Brown returns to ECAC Hockey play with games at Harvard and Dartmouth, while Western Michigan also jumps back into conference action with a CCHA home-and-home against neighboring Ferris State.