Like their previous ten meetings, the Western Michigan Stallions and 20th-ranked Rochester College played a one-goal game Friday. Unlike their previous five meetings, Rochester won, defeating the Stallions at Lawson Ice Arena 7-6. It was a tight game and very clean, other than the scrapping right at the game’s conclusion.
Rochester had the game’s first goal with 16:27 on the clock in the first period thanks to Chris Williford. With 9:14 left, Wyatt Ford evened things up. But 30 seconds later, Joe Swenson put the Warriors back ahead and they held the lead into the break.
With 15:18 remaining in the second, Zach Mudge’s 20th goal of the season tied the game for the Stallions. With 12:22 left, Ford scored off a great assist by Christian Sana, giving Western Michigan its first lead of the game. At 11:21 on the clock, we had the game’s first penalty and three seconds later, a howitzer from Mike DiFranco evened the game at 3-3.
With seven minutes left, Colin Schieman reclaimed the lead for WMU, but the game’s second penalty led to Rochester’s second powerplay goal, coming from Ryan Jaros with 2:29 in the period, to tie the game at 4-4 after two. Rochester ended the period on the powerplay and only two seconds after it ended, 32 seconds into the third period, Josh Foster deflected a Dakota Olvin shot to push the Warriors ahead 5-4.
At 13:01 remaining, Niko Michos scored for the Stallions to tie things at 5-5. With 9:26 remaining, poor positioning by Stallion goalie Myles Madden allowed Jacob Burford to score a weak one to give the lead back to Rochester. But the lead was short lived, as Mudge fed Brandon Grillo with 8:29 left to even the game once again.
In the final four minutes, Western Michigan got its first powerplay of the game. However, a turnover led to a decisive short-handed goal by Brandon Mezuk with 2:40 on the clock. The Stallions couldn’t even things up before the final horn and immediately after said horn, a couple of players began to fight. Even Rochester goalie Zakk Olvin got into the scrap, going after Mudge following Mudge’s confrontation with Zakk’s brother Dakota with four seconds to go, which had prompted a penalty against Rochester. The evening ended with Stallion forward Zachary Roberts getting helped off the ice after a scuffle with Shawn Adam.
The defeat drops Western Michigan to 13-13-1-1 overall and 3-8-1-0 in GLCHL play. Rochester improves to 16-9-1-1 and 7-4 in league play. They’ll have a short amount of time to diffuse the tempers, meeting on Rochester’s home ice in Macomb Saturday at 1:30 p.m. It will be the fourth meeting this season between the two; the Stallions won both meetings of a home-and-home back in October.
Listen back to Friday’s contest here: