MARQUETTE, Mich. — The student must have learned something from the mentor as Walt Kyle and Northern Michigan defeated Rick Comley and the Michigan State Spartans by a score of 3-2 on Friday night at the Berry Events Center. It was the CCHA opener for both teams.
Kyle picked up his sixth win in nine games against Comley. The Wildats are now 2-1-0 overall and 1-0-0 in the CCHA. The Spartans are now 1-2-0 and 0-1-0 in the conference for the season.
“We have to have contributions from a lot of people,” Kyle said. “Every game they should gain more experience and get better and better.”
“It was a one-goal game on the road,” said MSU head coach Rick Comley. “It was a hard, fought game. These are two pretty close teams. I really thought our kids worked hard.”
The Spartans jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Colton Fretter at the 6:48 mark of the opening stanza. Jim Slater won the face-off just inside the blueline and fed the puck into the corner to Tommy Goebel, who sent the puck back to Fretter at the blueline, who one-timed a shot that beat NMU netminder Bill Zaniboni.
Clayton Lainsbury would knock home his first collegiate goal at 7:44 of the opening period, to tie the game at one-all, with an assist from Jamie Milam. Andrew Contois scored his second goal of the young season, which was of the short-handed variety and unassisted at 2:16 of the second period to give the Wildcats the 2-1 lead.
Lainsbury score the game-winning goal which was his second of the night and season at 3:37 of the third period. The goal was unassisted. Lainsbury with his two goals was named the first star of the game.
“It is good to have a couple (of goals) against our rivals with the packed house,” Lainsbury said.
However, State was not going to go away. With the teams skated 4-on-4 and Vicari pulled for an extra skater on a delayed penalty, Kevin Estrada knocked home a rebound on a Slater shot to bring the Spartans within one, 3-2.
“We need to come back and work even harder tomorrow,” said Estrada. “We have to step up when we have chances.”
Towards the end of the game what looked liked to be an empty net goal was called off when the fans in the stands littered the ice with the shakers that were given out before the game. NMU was given a team penalty for delay of game.
Bill Zaniboni had 27 saves on the night and was awarded for his effort with the second star of the game honors.
“I felt pretty good and our D played well,” Zaniboni said. “They let me see a lot of pucks. We dumped the puck well.”
Dominic Vicari in goal for the Spartans had 28 saves on the night. MSU was 1-12 on the power play while the Wildcats were shutout in eight attempts with the extra attacker.
“We took too many penalties,” said Comley. “We need to get a power play that is good enough and take advantage of those opportunities.”