EAST LANSING, Mich. — Lansing native and Miami freshman Marty Guerin enjoyed his Friday evening in East Lansing, where his two-point night (one goal, one assist) helped his RedHawks to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Michigan State at Munn Arena.
Fellow freshmen Matt Christie and Brandon Crawford-West added some help in the RedHawks’ win with a goal and an assist and 27 saves respectively.
Spartan junior forward Adam Nightingale had the first goal of the evening just over seven minutes into the first period, when he skated up the right side and stuffed the puck between Crawford-West’s pads.
The two teams exchanged good scoring chances later in the period when defensive turnovers in both ends back to back led to scary moments for Crawford-West and Spartan freshman goaltender Dominic Vicari, but when all the traffic in front of the nets cleared, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Spartans.
In the second period, there was more of the same. Although the Spartans controlled the flow of the game, the shots in the second period were minimal (three for Miami and six for MSU), and almost every one was a quality scoring opportunity.
The Spartans even killed off 39 seconds of a five-on-three RedHawk power-play and seemed to have everything going for them except the bounces of the puck.
The Spartans missed two golden opportunities, one in each of the final two periods, in which the net was wide open and rebounds landed on sticks, but the rebounds couldn’t be controlled and directed into the net.
As a result, the second period ended the same way the first had, with the Spartans up by one.
Then, the third period rolled around, and the scoreboard changed again.
Spartan coach Rick Comley said, “You knew you needed a second goal — it wasn’t going to be a one-goal game.”
He was right. 54 seconds into the third period, Guerin tallied his first point on the evening on a goal by Christie, and Miami pulled even.
14 minutes later, Christie took a pass from Guerin and beat a Spartan defender, rocketing up the left side, then stuffing the puck between Vicari’s pads to pull the RedHawks ahead.
Crawford-West, who had been caught out of position and was seriously tested by the Spartans at times throughout the game, shut the door for the final six minutes, including 1:18 with Vicari pulled for an extra attacker on the ice, and clinched the victory for his team.
“I thought we played really well,” Comley said. “They’re a good team, obviously; they defend very well. They plug the middle of the ice and make it tough to get there. I thought we did everything we needed to do to win. We just didn’t win.”
“It’s a tough loss, but again, I thought we played very well.”
“Especially at this point in the season, every single point is huge — wherever we are, it’s big,” said Guerin.
“Our whole team is scrappers – everybody in there wants to play for each other,” Christie added.
“I thought it was a good hockey game,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “Michigan State played a great game tonight. It went back and forth all night long, and that’s what we expected. We expected it to be a one-goal game either way and both teams to play well.
“I think we’ll need to adjust some things tomorrow, but now we can come out gunning on Saturday night and see what happens.”
The teams meet again Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m., also at Munn Arena.