EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State led Bowling Green 2-1 by the middle of the first period, and that nearly sums up the entirety of this game.
“It was fine,” said MSU head coach Rick Comley. “Kind of diligent. Business-like.”
Dean Chelios scored at 1:16 in the first to make it 1-0. Brett Perlini had the goal that held up to be the game-winner at 9:02. At 9:53, Brett Mohler scored the Falcons’ only goal on the power play.
“Not a very good game,” said BGSU coach Chris Bergeron. “I’m not sure what it was like to watch it from the stands or on television, but didn’t seem like a very good game. There seemed like there was some energy early. Michigan State scored right away and a little bit of energy and then they scored again. I thought we did a good job of fighting back and getting our first goal before it got out of hand, but I just thought there were plays to be made — from our side of things, there were plays to be made that we didn’t make.
“Michigan State outcompeted us tonight, no doubt about it, and unfortunately a little bit of a typical situation for us so far to us this year.”
Chelios scored on a near-empty net with BG’s Andrew Hammond drawn left to defend him, an easy-looking goal assisted by Perlini and Zach Golembieski. Perlini picked up his own rebound for a goal that fluttered up and over Hammond, crossing the goal line in slow motion. Golembiewski assisted on that, too.
Mohler’s goal was the best of the night, a shot from the top of the left circle that beat MSU goaltender Will Yanakeff high on the opposite side.
With the exception of a couple of three good Michigan State chances in the third, there wasn’t much else to this one. With 10:02 to go in the game, Dustin Gazley almost had a goal, but officials waved it off immediately and upon review ruled that the puck was directed in with Gazley’s skate. (It was.)
Gazley almost had another goal not long after that, when Torey Krug sent a sweet set-up through traffic and sideways across the crease to the crashing Gazley, but there was too much on the pass and Gazley couldn’t connect.
With 6:00 to go in the third, Derek Grant shot point-blank on Hammond, who had his best save of the game.
“It looked like there were going to be a lot going in, but all of a sudden, they kind of tightened up and we didn’t get a ton after that,” said Comley. “We had the puck a lot, but never got it to the net very much.”
“I don’t think that Hammond had to completely stand on his head,” said Bergeron, “but I think on a couple of occasions he did a nice job of keeping it at 2-1, when you’re one shot away. We weren’t able to get that goal.”
Hammond finished with 24 saves on 26 shots; Yanakeff stopped 16-of-17.
The outcome of tonight’s contest changes nothing in terms of the standings. The Falcons (8-23-4, 3-20-4-2 CCHA) are still in last place, where they were before the puck dropped. The Spartans (14-17-4, 10-15-2-0 CCHA) are still in 10th place, where they were before the puck dropped.
And that’s where each team will finish at the end of the regular season, regardless of Saturday night’s rematch. There will be one significant difference between tonight’s game and tomorrow’s. Saturday’s game will be the last that Rick Comley coaches in this building, and a win would give the Spartans their first and only CCHA sweep of the 2010-11 season.
“It would be nice to go out on top at home with Coach retiring and the seniors leaving,” said Golembiewski. “It would be great to sing (the fight song) in the locker room. I think it would be great to get another win going into next week’s playoffs.”
Video: Michigan State’s Brett Perlini:
Video: Michigan State coach Rick Comley: