The Spartan locker room was silent. Ten minutes after the game and some players still hadn’t begun to undress. The aftermath of the third period avalanche MSU had just endured was still in the air. In many eyes, there were no positives for MSU hockey on Friday night.
No. 14 Michigan (12-6-2 overall, 4-2-0 Big Ten) used three third period goals, two within 51 seconds, to burry the Spartans, 5-2, and complete the sweep of MSU (8-12-3, 2-4-2-2) on Friday night.
“Unacceptable performance tonight and it wasn’t just the third period, it was the whole game,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “I didn’t like the approach to our game, I felt it earlier in the day. I didn’t like it.”
MSU lost handle of the game in the third period, giving up three goals and losing its discipline with eight third period penalties. There also was a small fight between the two teams in the final minute, with redshirt freshman defenseman Rhett Holland sent off with a game misconduct.
Directly following the fight, senior defenseman Jake Chelios also received a game misconduct.
MSU finished the game with 39 penalty minutes. Anastos said the team needs to “grow up” to improve.
“Unacceptable, it’s unacceptable. I’ve addressed it, it’s unacceptable,” Anastos said. “Our team plays with lots of discipline, but toward the end of the game it didn’t, so that’s part of growing up.”
The first period started off on the right foot for MSU with junior forward Tanner Sorenson breaking the tie late in the first period on a power play goal.
Sophomore forward Michael Ferrantino was able to secure the puck in the offensive zone and get it to sophomore defenseman Travis Walsh who passed it across to Sorenson for the one-timer at the 17:29 mark. U-M freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort was screened on the play and appeared to not even see the puck coming.
The Spartans lead didn’t last long as U-M freshman forward JT Compher tied the game with only six seconds left in the period. Compher led a three-on-two rush up the ice, taking a backhand shot from the left circle that somehow got by sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand. U-M sophomore forward Cristoval Nieves and senior forward Derek DeBlois had assists on the play.
The goal gave Compher back-to-back games with goals against MSU, also scoring on Friday.
U-M used a lucky bounce to take an early lead in the second period. DeBlois took what appeared to be a meaningless shot that Hildebrand could save in his sleep from just inside the MSU zone, but the puck took a weird bounce off the ice, skipping under Hildebrand’s arm.
The goal came at 5:09 mark of second period. Compher had an assist on the play.
U-M didn’t hold onto the lead very long, however, with sophomore forward Michael Ferrantino tying the game at 2-2 only two minutes later on the power play.
Sorenson started the play, passing from the point to Ferrantino. From there, Ferrantino passed it to freshman forward Villiam Haag who then took the puck to the net with a shot from just above the goal line. After a scramble following the Haag shoot, Ferrantino shoved it in to knot the game at 2-2.
The goal officially came at the 7:19 mark of the second period and it was the final goal of the period, sending the game tied into the third period.
MSU started the third period on the right foot, killing the remaining 1:31 of a Ferrantino hooking penalty, but it went downhill quickly from there. U-M scored two goals within 51 seconds to give the Wolverines a 4-2 lead.
DeBlois scored the first Wolverine third period goal on a tipped shot from junior defenseman Brennan Serville at the point. Compher also had an assist on the goal, that came at the 5:23 mark.
U-M senior defenseman and captain Mac Bennett had the next goal. Bennett got the pass from sophomore forward Justin Selman and made a move to put it past Hildebrand. Senior defenseman Kevin Clare also had an assist on the play.
The Wolverines would add one more for good measure from a shorthanded Compher goal. Compher one timed a pass from Copp on a two-on-one for the final goal of the evening at 13:54 mark of third period. Bennett also had an assist on the goal.
Compher, DeBlois and Bennett each finished the game with multiple points, with Compher scoring two goals and notching two assists.
Senior forward and captain Greg Wolfe said U-M simply entered the third period with more of an edge then MSU and it showed in the final outcome.
“They came out harder than us, they wanted it more,” Wolfe said. “They were able to get that early goal and they got the second one, and you kind of started taking chances. We were playing desperate at the end, and then they got the fifth one and couldn’t respond after that.”
Wolfe added that once U-M scored the fourth goal it was an uphill battle for MSU to get back into the game. He said the team started taking chances to create offense, such as diving to keep the puck in the zone on the power play, which ultimately resulted in the shorthanded Wolverine goal.
Ferrantino and Sorenson both finished the game for MSU with one goal and one assist. Ferrantino had goals in both games this weekend, but afterwards couldn’t find any positives about the series.
“It’s really hard to take any positives out of this right now, this is tough,” Ferrantino said. “We will bounce back but right now it stings pretty bad and you can play as many good minutes as you want, it’s the second you let down it kills you, and both nights we had let downs at the end of the game that obviously killed us.”
Although Ferrantino saw no positives out of the weekend, Anastos did give credit to the power play unit that saw its second-best outing on the season with two goals.
MSU will have to circle the wagons before next week, with what will be the Spartans’ toughest series all season against No. 1 Minnesota (17-2-3, 7-0-1). Earlier this season, MSU was able to tie Minnesota, 2-2, and win the shootout the first night, but fell the following night, 3-2.