EAST LANSING, Mich. — When Torey Krug scored his third goal of the night at 14:09 in the third period for his first career hat trick — the first hat trick of his life — he gave Michigan State a 3-1 lead over the Wolverines that had all the makings of sure thing.
Then Michigan’s Luke Moffatt scored at 17:02 and David Wohlberg tied it with 13 seconds left, and it took Daultan Leveille’s tip-in of Matt Grassi’s overtime shot to give the Spartans a 4-3 win that ensured that Krug’s singular achievement wouldn’t be overshadowed by a crushing defeat.
“So far, that’s the biggest win of the season and in my career here at Michigan State, it might have been the most emotional and biggest win so far,” said Krug, MSU’s sophomore captain. “We’ve got to keep that going. We’ve got to use that tomorrow to our advantage.”
That the win felt like vindication was clear the moment the game ended, when Spartans poured from the bench to congratulate freshman goaltender Will Yanakeff’s second career win, reacting as though the win came complete with hardware.
The last time these teams met, the Wolverines blanked the Spartans, 5-0, in front of more than 100,000 people, and UM ended MSU’s season last year with two CCHA playoff wins in Munn Arena.
“Good for them,” said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. “Good home win for Michigan State, and it’s a bad road loss for Michigan.”
“It was huge,” said Krug. “All season we’ve been waiting for breaks like that and we were so fortunate to get those breaks. Obviously, we played great in front of Yanakeff and he played unbelievable. Can’t give him enough credit. He really showed up today and the guys like seeing that.”
Yanakeff finished the night with 37 saves on 40 shots in his third career start. After the win, he gave as much credit to his rivals as he did to the play of his own teammates.
“They’re a really skilled team. They’re a quick team. They’re physical. The rivalry, too, that adds to it. Obviously, it’s a lot more intense. I thought they played a great game tonight. They worked hard and they got a lot of chances. We just came out with a win.”
Krug scored all three of his goals from the same spot in the same way: from the top of the slot, all one-timers through traffic to beat a screened Shawn Hunwick in the Michigan net. At 5:03 in the second, Krug’s shot slipped under Luke Glendening’s stick and past a Spartan and Wolverine engaged in front of the UM net to make it 1-0.
Carl Hagelin answered on the UM power play at 9:37 on a cross-crease feed from Chad Langlais to make it a 1-1 game after two.
Krug’s second two goals came when the Spartan’s had two-man advantages. At 8:13 in the third when Shawn Hunwick was given a double-minor for a scuffle in the crease with Spartan Dustin Gazley, Krug took a pass from Brett Perlini and fired to make it 2-1. At 14:09 with David Wohlberg and Langlais in the box for separate incidents, Krug’s shot from the top of the slot hit UM’s Scooter Vaughan on its way to the back of the Michigan net.
But the Wolverines had their own 5-on-3 opportunity moments after Krug’s hat trick goal when two Spartans were called for hooking in quick succession, Chris Forfar at 14:19 and Tim Buttery at 15:18. MSU killed off the 5-on-3, but Luke Moffatt tipped in Brandon Burlon’s shot from the top of the slot — from the same spot where Krug netted his three goals — at 17:02 to make it a 3-2 game.
With Hunwick pulled for the extra attacker, Wohlberg scored from behind the net at 19:47, banking in the tying goal off the back of Yanakeff’s leg. The goal was under review for a considerable period of time. Comley thought that Yanakeff had been pushed into the net on the play.
“What you’re thinking, very honestly, is, ‘Here we go again,’” said MSU head coach Rick Comley. “It’s just been one of those years when things don’t go good. I mean, the goal shouldn’t count. What’s the sense of video replay if you can’t look at a video and see that.”
Neither coach seemed particularly happy with the officiating.
“It was a pretty good game until the penalties started and then it was just about a referee’s game,” said Berenson. “Whatever team got the penalties, they lost any momentum, and that was a tough way to play the game. We’ve been a pretty disciplined team in the last month or two months, and then all of a sudden we get a rash of penalties. Every time somebody falls down, it’s a penalty.
“It’s frustrating for our team. And we get two goals behind…and we came back and got the goals that we needed to tie the game, and it’s a disappointing overtime … goal.”
The teams meet again Saturday in Ann Arbor at 7:05 p.m.