ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Dominic Vicari fought off the flu and 41 of 43 Michigan shots in the first 57 minutes of play before Drew Miller brought Michigan State back from the dead.
With Michigan leading 2-0 with just 2:26 remaining in the game, Miller scored twice, his second goal tying the game with only 1.2 seconds left in regulation. 6,952 raucous fans at Yost Arena stood in silence, then watched five minutes of overtime that failed to break the 2-2 tie.
“We should have won the game and we should have won 2-0,” Berenson said. “It’s disappointing to give up the first goal and that gives them a life. Michigan State is a good hockey team. We gave them that chance to get back in the hockey game and they took advantage of it.”
To make one point out of none was a major accomplishment for the Spartans. “That was certainly an outstanding point,” Comley said. “To come back, like the kids did to fall behind 2-0 and then battle back was key.”
Michigan State was unable to solve Michigan goalie Al Montoya until Miller deflected Ethan Graham’s point shot to get his team on the board. Two minutes later, with Vicari out of the net, Miller emerged from a scrum in front of the Wolverine net and slid the puck just inside the left post to complete the Spartans’ resurrection.
Despite Miller’s heroics, it was Vicari who kept the Spartans in the game long enough for Miller to strike.
“All I can say is that (Vicari) was unbelievable,” Graham said. “He really kept us in that game and gave us a chance. Without him, I don’t know how many goals they would have had.”
Michigan’s first-period blitzkrieg was led by juniors Andrew Ebbett and Jeff Tambellini. Ebbett tallied two assists while Tambellini was the best skater on the ice, eventually notching one goal and one assist on the night. Ebbett set up Tambellini for a slapshot that led to the Wolverines’s first goal 3:56 into the first period. Senior Charlie Henderson corralled Tambellini’s rebound and slid it behind Vicari for the 1-0 lead.
Vicari kept the Wolverines off the board for the next 10 minutes, including over two minutes of five-on-three resulting from three consecutive Spartan penalties.
In the five-on-four power play that followed, Ebbett again set the table for a Tambellini slapshot. This time he beat Vicari over his right shoulder from the left slot.
“He saw me so much through out the game,” Tambellini said of Ebbett. “(His) passes found the right holes and not just being in the right place at the right time. He sees the ice so well, it’s fun to play with him.”
It seemed as though Michigan could have scored five goals in the first 10 minutes alone, if not for Vicari. The Wolverines pounded 19 shots on Vicari while holding the Spartans to only five shots on Montoya. Michigan ended the game with a 43-25 advantage in shots on goal.
Michigan now holds a slim 2-1-1 edge over the Spartans in the season series as the two teams head to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday for their fifth and final regular-season meeting. The puck drops at 7:35 p.m.