When asked what he’s taking away from the 2012 Great Lakes Invitational, Tom Anastos paused and answered with one word: heartburn.
After a shootout loss to Western Michigan on Saturday and a 5-2 loss to rival Michigan on Sunday, the hearts of all MSU hockey (5-11-3 overall, 4-8-1-0 CCHA) players are likely burning along with their head coach.
The Great Lakes Invitational, or GLI, third place game between MSU and U-M quickly kicked off in the Wolverines’ favor when U-M’s Lee Moffie capitalized on a two-on-one and found the back of MSU’s net.
The Spartans responded with a great deal of offense and managed to pull ahead with goals by sophomore forwards Tanner Sorenson and Matt Berry to close out the first period, 2-1.
The score remained as so throughout the middle frame, but MSU continued to generate the offensive spurts it’s been struggling with all season, managing a game-high 17 shots in the second.
“While we played well in the first two periods, we didn’t take advantage of some very good scoring chances that we had, especially in the second period,” Anastos said. “Then going into the third, to create or allow (a) transition goal so early in the period and allow them to build some momentum and transition it was a costly mistake for us.”
The third period was the downfall for MSU, and the Wolverines capitalized on the little mistakes the Spartans made and converted them into goals.
U-M’s Andrew Copp completed an odd-man rush less than two minutes into the second period to tie the game and steal some momentum for his team.
About 15 seconds later, that momentum coupled with a man advantage following MSU freshman forward Michael Ferrantino’s hooking penalty and U-M’s Kevin Lynch netted the go-ahead goal.
The Wolverines’ third period play continued to prove too much for MSU to handle.
With about 11 minutes to play, U-M’s Phil Di Giuseppe nailed the puck into the net after a spectacular backhanded pass from Luke Moffatt on one knee.
“In the third, we didn’t do a very good job of getting to the net and creating chances and creating traffic and capitalizing on our opportunities,” senior forward Chris Forfar said. “We made some mindless errors in the neutral zone. Michigan’s a great transition team and they capitalized on those chances.”
With just more than two minutes in the game, U-M’s A.J. Treais received a game misconduct and a five minute major after contact to MSU freshman forward’s Matt DeBlouw’s head.
The Spartans pulled their goaltender to get an extra skater on the ice, and a U-M’s Zach Hyman stole the puck and took off on a breakaway.
MSU junior forward Greg Wolfe took off after him, and ended up on the ground with his stick tangled in Hyman’s skates right in front of MSU’s net.
Despite the puck not going in the net, the play resulted in a goal for U-M, as officials ruled Wolfe threw his stick and stopped an obvious goal.
“Anytime the net is empty as it was in the game, when a player from either team throws their stick … and the goal was obvious and imminent because it was an empty net, the goal is to be awarded,” said CCHA director of officials Steve Piotrowski.
Whether a regular season or tournament game, both teams will continue to look at MSU and U-M matchups a bit differently than most games — and U-M head coach Red Berenson said Sunday’s game didn’t feel like a fight for third place.
“This game to us didn’t feel like a consolation game,” Berenson said. “We have too much respect for our rival down the road. It’s a big game; it’s a bigger game than a consolation game. Its not the Stanley Cup, but it was a good win for Michigan.”