ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After two close periods of hockey, Michigan scored three third-period goals to bury Michigan State, 5-1, in the first meeting between these two rivals this season.
Five different Wolverines scored and freshman Jared Rutledge earned his first collegiate win, topping 28-of-29 shots to do so.
“We were scoring timely goals and that was important,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “It’s nice to see us have a strong third period at home with a lead.”
Timing was everything in this game. Trailing 2-0 on first-period goals by Lindsay Sparks and Cristoval Nieves, the Spartans drew to within one with 36.4 seconds remaining in the second period when Kevin Walrod backhanded one past Rutledge while crossing the slot. Michigan State coach Tom Anastos was disappointed that the Spartans didn’t capitalize on the kind of momentum a period-ending goal can provide.
“I liked where we were going into the third period,” said Anastos. “I thought our guys were more comfortable in the game and we’d settled down … and then we give them a goal. You want to get beaten by a real good play by the other team, make them make a good play. We gave it to them.”
What the Spartans gave to the Wolverines was an opportunity to score early in the third period. Michigan’s Phil Di Giuseppe took the puck to the MSU crease and turned it over to Spartan Anthony Hayes — who immediately gave the puck to Wolverine Derek DeBlois, who one-timed it back past MSU goaltender Will Yanakeff to give Michigan a 3-1 lead at 4:09.
“We’re not talking about a complicated play,” said Anastos. “That was a fundamental play that we talk about doing. We didn’t execute it, and they took advantage of it.”
At 15:28, Kevin Lynch made it 4-1 moments after Michigan’s Jacob Trouba exited the penalty box, and then Trouba scored himself on a power play at 18:01.
“I like the way we started the game,” said Berenson. “I thought we sagged in the second period and they came back, they pushed back — you know they would — and I thought we had a good third period. The all-important goal was DeBlois’. And then when we’re killing a penalty and they don’t score and Kevin Lynch does.
“It’s important to finish the game strong. If you look at Michigan State’s scoring, their third period has been their best period.”
Neither coach would commit to a starting goalie for Saturday’s rematch in Munn Ice Arena, although Berenson said that he would consider Rutledge.
“He’s been off to a shaky start,” said Berenson. “We knew he was a good goalie inside and it just had to come out and it came out tonight. I thought he was quick. He looked comfortable, confident, and made some key saves.”
Anastos has praise for Yanakeff, who stopped 29 shots in the loss. Yanakeff looked particularly good in the first period, when UM outshot MSU, 15-5. With a little over two minutes left in the period and MSU trailing already 2-0, Yanakeff shut down Michigan’s leading scorer, A.J. Treais, when Treais threaded two Spartans and had Yanakeff all to himself.
“It’s disappointing that we end up losing the game 5-1 after a performance with some of the saves that he did make,” said Anastos.
Saturday’s game in East Lansing begins at 7:05 p.m.