GRAND FORKS, N.D. — In the end, the blistering speed that Boston College has been known for in the last decade overwhelmed the Michigan State Spartans.
Boston College used three third period goals in the last 9:17 to knock off the Michigan State Spartans 5-2 in the first game of the Icebreaker Tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena Friday night.
“BC’s a real good team,” said Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos. “They’re talented, they work hard, they play aggressively, and that’s pretty much what we expected to play against.”
Michigan State and Boston College skated to a scoreless and mostly quiet first period. Michigan State had the first big opportunity, an extended 5-on-3 that spanned over the first intermission. The Spartans came up empty however, registering just one shot on goal in that time frame.
Boston College struck first thanks to a point shot from senior defenseman Tommy Cross. Cross’s shot found the stick of sophomore forward Patrick Brown who redirected it past Spartan goaltender Drew Palmisano (30 saves) at 4:17 of the second.
Twenty-two seconds later, Spartan forward Lee Reimer got a five minute major and a game misconduct penalty for checking from behind.
There was a 15 minute interruption with 13 minutes remaining in the second period. High wind gusts in the Grand Forks area briefly knocked out the power at the arena and the game was delayed while the house lights were shut down and warmed up again.
The Spartans knotted the game up on a shorthanded goal from Brett Perlini. Perlini was left open almost directly in front of the net and fired a quick wrist shot past Parker Milner at 10:32 in the second.
A shallow angle shot from defenseman Patch Alber slipped past Palmisano with 55 seconds left to put the Eagles back up 2-1 heading into the second intermission.
Michigan State responded once again, however. Trevor Nill fired a wrist shot of his own to even it once again at two.
“We tried to be hard to play against,” Anastos said. “With the kind of speed they have, and with the way they move the puck up the ice. You have to find a way to slow them down. I think at times we did during the game and at other times we didn’t.”
Chris Kreider, however, put Boston College back on track. Kreider, junior power forward, made a nifty forehand-to-backhand goal gave the Eagles the lead for good at 11:43 in the second, scoring a goal that York referred to as “running to daylight.”
“Chris Kreider has just become such a force for us,” York said. “He’s hard to stop.”
That lead they would not relinquish, and instead the Eagles turned key Spartan turnovers into more goals. Steven Whitney scored at 16:27 and Barry Almeida added another goal at 18:59 to put away the Spartans.
“We certainly made our share of mistakes,” said Spartan head coach Tom Anastos, “which against a team of this caliber usually end up in our net. They did.”
Milner finished with 17 saves, but more importantly, York liked what he saw in Milner’s poise, encouraging to a player looking to be the Eagles’ next go-to goaltender.
“He was really self-assured in the net,” York said. “He made some key saves, but he really just looked like a goaltender, a lot of confidence. That’s certainly a big plus for our team.”
Boston College outshot the Spartans 35-19. They’ll face North Dakota in the Icebreaker Tournament championship Saturday night at 7:37 p.m. Michigan State will play the matinee game in a 4:07 p.m. matchup with Air Force.