FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Michigan State got goals from three different players in decisive second period and notched five unanswered tallies as the Spartans (10-3-2 overall, 8-3-1 CCHA) beat host Alaska-Fairbanks 5-1 Saturday. The win is the first in four road contests on the season for the Spartans.
“[Tonight] is more like we have to be to be successful,” said MSU head coach Ron Mason. “You need everybody to contribute on the team to be successful.”
With the Spartans trailing 1-0, Andrew Hutchinson tied the game 1:06 into the second on MSU’s third power-play opportunity. Hutchinson raced to the far point to cut off a clearing attempt by UAF’s Cam Keith and hold the puck in the offensive zone. Keith slid into the half boards, opening a lane for Hutchinson to walk into the high slot. The Spartan senior defenseman skated to the top of the faceoff circles, retreated a couple of strides and unleashed a wrist shot through traffic and past Nanook netminder Lance Mayes.
The Spartans took their first lead of the night halfway through the second on junior defenseman Brad Fast’s fifth goal of the year. Fast broke into the offensive zone on the right wing, corralled a rebound off a shot by junior forward Kris Koski and easily beat Mayes at 10:25.
Freshman Jim Slater gave MSU a 3-1 edge with his sixth goal of the season at 14:49 of the second period. The rookie pivot’s centering attempt caromed off the skate of a UAF defender and past Mayes. Kevin Estrada earned the lone assist.
MSU put the game out of reach with a pair of power-play markers in the third period. The first was a Brian Maloney laser from the near faceoff circle that found the top left corner of the net at 13:56. The second came courtesy of freshman winger Mike Lalonde, who celebrated his 21st birthday with his third goal of the year at 14:43.
Alaska-Fairbanks’ Ryan Lang opened the scoring 12:08 into the first period. The Nanooks’ Blaine Bablitz won the battle for a loose puck behind the Spartan net and fed linemate Cory Rask who was stationed to the right of MSU netminder Ryan Miller. Rask slid the puck across the crease to Lang, who barely beat Miller for his fifth goal of the season.
Miller stopped 36 Nanook shots to earn the win. Mayes made 34 saves for Alaska-Fairbanks (7-7-0, 3-6-0 CCHA) before being relieved by Keith Bartusch late in the third period.