DETROIT — Michigan State and Michigan Tech kicked right back into the pre-holiday patterns of their ’09-’10 seasons in Tuesday’s opening game of the 45th annual Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The Spartans continued their winning ways and the Huskies’ struggles persisted, as Michigan State pounded out a merciless 10-1 beating of tournament host Michigan Tech.
Five unanswered goals in the second period, added to a 3-1 lead heading into that period, paced the Spartans’ rout.
Brett Perlini scored the first two goals of his collegiate career for Michigan State and the rest of the balanced Spartans’ scoring came on single tallies by eight different players.
The 10-goal Michigan State outburst was their largest offensive output of the season, topping their previous high of six goals against Clarkson in October.
“Good win, obviously,” said purposely understated Michigan State coach Rick Comley. “Now we’ll watch this game here (Michigan vs. RPI) and see who we’ll play tomorrow night.”
Andrew Rowe and Corey Tropp were a little more forthcoming about the Spartans’ offensive explosion.
“Getting on the ice twice a day, to begin with after the break, was helpful for the team,” said Rowe of the two-a-day practices the team faced upon returning from their holiday break. “I don’t think legs were an issue considering the two-a-days that we had.”
“Tonight, we were fortunate not to need a late goal,” said Tropp. “I think it’s a confidence-builder for the team as a whole, especially the guys who don’t get on the board too often.”
“I thought we had a really good start to the game,” said Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell. “I thought we had some really good chances and we couldn’t convert.
“(We’re) a young team. We really let things get away from us. We tried to be too creative in the neutral zone, causing a lot of turnovers.”
Drew Palmisano stopped 28 of the 29 Michigan Tech shots for the Spartans.
Michigan State wasted little time establishing post-holiday scoring dominance over Michigan Tech.
The Spartans popped three opening period goals, prompting a Huskies’ goaltending change.
The Huskies managed only one scoring response to trail 3-1 after the first period.
Spartan sophomore forward Perlini notched his first goal of the season and Michigan State’s first goal of the game on a power play at 4:29.
Zach Josepher’s shot from the left point resulted in a juicy rebound that Perlini, waiting stealthily in the slot, deposited over the shoulder of Huskies’ netminder Kevin Genoe.
Michigan Tech exhibited a heartbeat just over halfway through the period when the puck caromed off the end boards straight in front of the net to Eric Kattelus. Drew Dobson capitalized on the rebound from Kattelus’s shot, knotting the score at 11:02.
Josepher’s screen shot from just inside the right point along the boards eluded a surprised Genoe, prompting Russell to replace him with sophomore goaltender Josh Robinson.
The change made little difference.
Only 63 seconds later, Tropp took a backhand pass from Daultan Leveille, shifted the puck to his forehand and easily beat Robinson for his nation-leading 17th goal of the season, completing the first period scoring.
Career first goals by Spartans Zach Golembiewski and Matt Crandell highlighted an all-out Michigan State blitz of the Huskies’ cage, as the Spartans piled up five unanswered second period goals to build a 8-1 bulge.
Dustin Gazley started the Michigan State second period offensive frenzy at 1:30 when the puck appeared to bounce off his left foot and roll up and over Robinson into the Michigan Tech goal.
At 5:42, Leveille took a pass in front of the net and banked a shot off the right post and into the net.
Golembiewski’s career first goal at 9:16 was a short-handed beauty. The freshman forward undressed Robinson after avoiding the goaltender’s attempted poke check.
Crandell’s shot from the right point hit Robinson’s right pad and lay invitingly just outside the crease for Nick Sucharski to tap in at 10:27.
Crandell got a goal of his own, the first of his career, to finish the Spartans’ offensive second period explosion at 16:09 when his shot from the left point sailed high over Robinson’s glove.
Perlini and Trevor Nill, also his season’s first, scored third period goals for Michigan State to add to the Huskies’ misery.
Michigan State (13-6-2, 9-3-2-0 CCHA) advances to the Great Lakes Invitational final on Wednesday against RPI, while Michigan Tech (3-15-0, 2-12-0 WCHA) looks to regain some confidence in Tuesday night tourney consolation opener against Michigan.