EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State coach Rick Comley said he wanted to see his team work on line combinations and look for certain players to step up. Comley had both of his wishes granted as Michigan State went on to beat the U.S. National Under-18 team by a final score of 4-3 at Munn Ice Arena.
“It was interesting before the game,” said Comley. “I wanted to hear our locker room and see who steps up, talks and what they are waiting for. The players kept waiting for me to do something, and I want them to do things. Everything has been a phase and now we’re in the next phase.
“All-in-all it was okay for a first game. What a game does for you is gives you something to come back and work on and that’s step one.”
Michigan State started the scoring with a power play goal from sophomore Ash Goldie at 4:56.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team answered back with its first goal on a power play at 8:15 by Jacob Dowell. The U.S. Under-18 Team scored the go-ahead goal at the 13:17 mark of the second period on a slap shot from defenseman Ryan Suter.
Comley said he saw obvious mistakes that cost the Spartans goals, but fatigue and line changes were factors in those mistakes.
“This early in the season, you have to be careful how much you’re looking for and how much you’re demanding,” commented Comley. “There’s great value in a lot of players stepping in, so we’ll just have to see how that evolves.”
Freshman defenseman Corey Potter, who played for the U.S. Under-18 Team last year, tied the game at two on the power play. Lee Falardeau and David Booth grinded away for the puck and passed it back to Potter who snapped a wrister past Chris Holt.
“Going into tonight’s game, I was a little nervous,” said Potter. “Once I was out there it was like playing a regular old game. My old teammates even congratulated me on the goal after the game.”
Senior assistant captain John-Michael Liles added another power play goal for the Spartans at 3:05. Senior Steve Clark’s goal at the 10:38 mark turned out to be the game winner, as the goal made the score 4-2.
“Our power play looked very good today,” commented Clark. “We’re all getting good possession, getting good shots through and when those things are going on you usually end up successful.”
J.D. Corbin put the U.S. Under-18 Team within one goal, making a 4-3 game by adding a goal at 13:59.
NTDP goaltender Chris Holt, who was selected the No. 1 star of the game, stopped 43 of 47 shots. Meanwhile, Spartan freshman goalie Justin Tobe earned the starting nod and finished with 15 saves, including a combined four stops over the final two periods.
Michigan State returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 8 when the Spartans face Western Ontario in their final tune-up before the season opener.