MINNEAPOLIS — Michigan State ended a three-game skid with just their second win in eight games, beating No. 15 Minnesota 5-2. The loss was the first by Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson (6-1-1). The Spartans tallied three goals on six shots to chase Patterson from the net at just 8:48.
“We have not been scoring much and then I don’t think it is all the goaltenders fault; the puck just went in,” said Spartans coach Rick Comley.
“It was one of those games,” said Gophers coach Don Lucia. “Kent had played so well all season long, It wasn’t his night tonight.”
The Gophers attempted a comeback in the second, netting two straight goals to tighten the game to 3-2.
“I have been in this building enough times to know the onslaught is coming,” said Comley. “But we lost our last three. You never know how young team is going to react. They stabilized it. It was a good win.”
At 18:10, Dustin Gazley netted his second of the game for Michigan State, ending the Gophers rally early. The goal came on a two=on-one rush wbere Cade Fairchild failed to hold the zone, creating the odd-man attack. Gazley pass deflected off Seth Helgenson past Alex Kangas. It was the second goal off a defenseman that Michigan State scored.
“Obviously, the backbreaker was the one late in the second that went off Helgenson’s stick,” said Lucia.
Allowing only two goals on 31 shots, Drew Palmisano played solid in net for the Spartans all night long.
“He was really great wasn’t he? Sharp, focused, in front of the puck all night long; he can be that good,” said Comley.
“I thought Palmisano made some really big saves during the course of the game,” commented Lucia.
The bounces started early for the Spartans. At 2:26 Torey Krug scored a power-play goal. Krug stopped a clearing attempt by Seth Helgeson and fired a shot that was going wide until it deflected off a Minnesota defenseman past Kent Patterson into the far corner.
Just 22 seconds later, Daultan Leveille fired a puck from the blue line that Patterson failed to control. The puck trickled over his pads and lay behind Patterson. Dustin Gazley hustled on the play and poked the loose puck in.
The Spartans chased Patterson from the net at 8:48 when Brett Perlin made it 3-0 Michigan State. Patterson left another big rebound that popped straight up. Perlin took it out of mid-air. The replay was reviewed to see if it was a high stick, but it was inconclusive and the goal stood as called on the ice.
Fairchild started the scoring for the Gophers, scoring on a power play at 5:46 of the second. Fairchild fired the puck through heavy traffic. The puck trickled past Drew Palmisano.
The Gophers brought the game to within a goal at 10:19 on a partial breakaway by Taylor Matson. Matson fired the puck from the top of the faceoff circle, beating Palmisano blocker side.
“I knew they would come back at us at some time,” said Comley.
Derek Grant put the game out of reach at 13:42 of the second while on the power play. Grant had also been given a 10-minute misconduct for saying something inappropriate to the refs.
Michigan State heads to Madison to take on the Badgers Saturday night while Minnesota plays host to Michigan at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon.
Video: Michigan State coach Rick Comley
Video: Minnesota coach Don Lucia