By Stefan Kubus –
DETROIT – In their 292nd all-time meeting, the Spartans and Wolverines battled out another chapter in the rivalry – with Michigan emerging victorious.
This time, it was a 5-2 Wolverines decision in the third-place game at the Great Lakes Invitational, which brings their all-time record against the Spartans to 147-126-19.
Lee Moffie, Andrew Copp, Kevin Lynch, Phil Di Giuseppe and Zach Hyman had the goals for Michigan, the final four all recorded in the third period.
“Well you’re used to me saying that we got off to a good start, and I thought we did again,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. “We played well in the early going, stayed with them throughout, and then got the goals when we needed them when it came down to it in the third period. We haven’t had much puck luck around the net in recent weeks, and it was good to see the puck go in.”
Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos said he liked the way his club played through 40 minutes, but acknowledged that it takes a full 60-minute effort to win games.
“Well, we obviously didn’t play for 60 minutes,” Anastos said. “We played two very good periods I thought… We made a turnover that gave them a 3-on-1 and they capitalized, which I thought – they’re a momentum team – gave them life in my opinion and set the tone for the third period.”
The Wolverines kicked off the scoring, with Moffie – senior captain and alternate captain – burying a nifty 2-on-1 feed from senior captain A.J. Treais – Treais leads the Wolverines with 17 points now. Copp (Ann Arbor) would record the secondary assist on the play.
But the Spartans struck back, as sophomores Tanner Sorenson and leading scorer Matt Berry put MSU up 2-1. Like Treais for Michigan, Berry – on a five-game point streak dating back to Dec. 7 against Notre Dame – extended his team-lead in goals (11) and points (18) for MSU.
That’s the way things would end after 20 minutes.
The second period saw more of the same fast-paced action witnessed in the first, minus the scoring. The Spartans maintained the edge on the scoreboard along with a 30-20 shot advantage.
However, things would dramatically change beginning in the third period.
The Wolverines came out looking like a rejuvenated team, scoring twice less than three minutes in. First, Copp walked in the high slot and sniped a top-shelf shot over Jake Hildebrand’s glove for his second point of the game.
“Growing up, you always want to put up points against State and the first play, I just made a nice little chip and A.J. and Lee made a good play,” Copp said of his two points. “Throughout the game, I just thought I needed to be a little more physical. I hadn’t been using my size like I should and in the end, I got one through, it ended up going in and helped jump start my team.”
The Spartans’ penalty kill had killed off 15 straight man-advantage opportunities and hadn’t taken a penalty through two periods. That would change seconds after the Copp goal, as Mike Ferrantino would head off for hooking just 1:44 into the period.
Thirty-two seconds into the power play, Kevin Lynch put the Wolverines ahead, 3-2, with a rebound tally after a Treais shot from the point was tipped by sophomore forward Phil Di Giuseppe and found the post.
From there, Di Giuseppe contributed a goal of his own halfway through the third.
Late, with less than three minutes to play, Treais was handed a five-minute major and ten-minute game misconduct for contact to the head on Michigan State’s Matt DeBlouw.
While the Spartans found themselves with a huge opportunity, Wolverines forward Zach Hyman contributed a goal to cap things off at 5-2 in rather controversial fashion with Hildebrand pulled.
As Hyman broke away, MSU captain Greg Wolfe pursued him, dove to knock the puck away, but lost his stick. It was ruled that Wolfe threw his stick, resulting in an automatic goal for the Wolverines and the final score of 5-2.
“This game to us didn’t feel like a consolation game,” Berenson said. “We have too much respect for our rival, we knew it was going to be a big game. It’s a bigger game than a consolation game. I know it’s not the Stanley Cup, but it’s a good win for Michigan.”