EAST LANSING, Mich. — Saturday’s 3-3 tie between the Michigan State Spartans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish could have gone either way, with one bounce making the difference in the game.
Or, in this case, one disallowed goal.
Late in the third period, Irish forward Rob Globke grabbed a puck at center ice on a turnover, speeding in on Spartan netminder Matt Migliaccio to rip it over his left shoulder for the goal that would have been the game winner.
Except that a linesman had whistled the play dead at center ice. The reasoning for his call was Globke closed his hand over the puck when he grabbed it out of midair, a call which should have resulted in a penalty, but since the referee didn’t see it, they simply waved off the goal instead.
“It’s disappointing. You give yourself a chance to win the hockey game, and score a goal that should have won the hockey game,” Irish coach Dave Poulin said.
But Poulin isn’t going to waste his time crying over spilled milk. “I am more focused on the way my hockey team played,” he said.
Poulin revealed that preparation for this game was heavy on his mind all morning, and the first thing he did to rev his team up was a little light reading.
“I read them the scores from all the college hockey games last night,” Poulin said, “to show them how tight college hockey is.”
Early in the game, it looked as if the Spartans were going to dominate the second game of the two-game series the same as they had the first, although they erased the zero from their side of the scoreboard a little sooner.
Seven minutes into the first period, Spartan junior captain Jim Slater scored his first goal in three games to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Slater’s goal ended freshman Irish netminder David Brown’s shutout streak, in which he went 193:27 without letting a puck past.
With one minute left in the first, junior forward Brock Radunske hit the back of the net to give the Spartans a two-goal cushion going into the first intermission.
Notre Dame sophomore forward Mike Walsh, who had the only Irish tally on Friday night, finally solved Migliaccio a little over nine minutes into the second to make the game 2-1, jumpstarting a kindling Irish team.
Even though Slater managed to push a wild puck past Brown at the end of the second period to return the Spartan lead to two, the Irish started the third with victory on their minds and goals in their eyes.
Senior defenseman Neil Komadoski capitalized on a power-play opportunity when his shot from the point made it past Migliaccio less than two minutes into the third period, putting the Spartans back on their heels and igniting the Irish charge.
The Spartans managed to keep the rush at bay until tempers flared with a little less than three minutes left, and Radunske took a seat in the penalty box for boarding. Almost a minute into the power play, Poulin pulled Brown, and Irish senior captain Aaron Gill answered the call, knotting the score at three with the extra attacker.
Then came Globke’s disallowed goal, and five minutes of overtime with quality scoring chances for both sides, but no goal lights, saw the game end tied at three.
“I didn’t think we played very well,” Spartan coach Rick Comley said. “All night I thought it was a struggle for us. We were lucky to get a tie.
“They’re a tough team to play against. They’re physical, they slow you down a lot, and maybe that wore on our kids. But they’re also a pretty good team. They came in here with a four-game win streak and had to fight for their life to get one point.”
The Irish have a one-game weekend next weekend, on Friday night against the U.S. National Development Team, with faceoff set for 7:35 p.m. The Spartans have a two-game series against the Miami RedHawks in Oxford, Ohio, with both games also starting at 7:35 p.m.