College Hockey:
Telltale Fast Start Buoys Spartans

— Michigan State’s fans are starting to see a pattern.

Within the first five minutes of a game, it’s been relatively easy to tell how their Spartans are going to play. In three wins this season, MSU has played a high-energy first period, scoring seven goals and holding its opponents to just two.

Friday against Ferris State was no different as Michigan State rode three first-period goals to a 4-2 victory at Munn Arena.

An action-packed first saw the teams combine to score five goals, mostly in the first 10 minutes. Michigan State jumped out to early leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but Ferris State battled back twice to find itself trailing by one heading into the locker room.

Both goaltenders appeared to fight the puck in the early going. David Booth’s goal was the only clean score of the frame. The junior forward broke in one-on-one, faked a shot to shed his defender, and lifted a shot over Bulldog netminder Mike Brown’s glove to put the Spartans up by two.

Ethan Graham gave MSU a little breathing room, scoring his first goal of the season with 30 seconds remaining in the second period to put the Spartans ahead by two. Although the scoring from the first didn’t carry over, the action did. The sophomore defenseman must like playing against Ferris as all three of his career goals have come against the Bulldogs.

Before the Graham tally, Ferris State had plenty of chances to draw even, playing most of the period on the power play. The Bulldogs had a span of five straight opportunities, two of which were the five-on-three variety, but were unable to find an equalizer.

Spartan defenseman A.J. Thelen had something to say about that. With goaltender Dominic Vicari sprawled out after making a save, Thelen batted a puck that was labeled for the back of the net clean out of the air to maintain the MSU lead.

Brown, although shaky in the first period, was able to hold his team in the game backstopping the Bulldogs to a few key kills in the third period. The senior made a huge save, stoning Drew Miller on the doorstep late in the third for one of his 25 saves.

Jeff Legue came as close to finding the net as the Bulldogs would get when he clanked a slapshot from the high slot off the post.

Vicari rebounded from the forgettable first, making 27 saves in the win.

Ferris’ freshman top-liner Matt Stefanishion received a major penalty and game disqualification in the final minutes of the game for kicking MSU’s Tommy Goebel, who was laying on the ice. Goebel, obviously in pain, was assisted off the ice by two teammates. His condition is unknown.

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