A second period storm of goals from both Michigan and Michigan State hockey defined Saturday's “Duel in the D” while also providing a wildly entertaining 7-3 decision for the Wolverines.
The loss was the 10th straight for Michigan State, the longest streak in program history in nearly 70 years.
Midway through the second period, senior defenseman Christian Krygier took a brutal boarding hit in the corner from Michigan forward Mark Estapa, giving MSU a five-minute power play and sending Estapa to the locker room early. Facing a two-goal deficit, it was the perfect opportunity for Michigan State to get back into the match.
Instead, it was a near-disaster. The Spartans played the puck like a grenade in the attacking zone and Michigan’s speed and hockey IQ capitalized with a pair of shorthanded goals.
First, it was senior forward Jimmy Lambert, who hammered a one-timer off a two-on-one rush. Just over a minute later, sophomore forward Thomas Bordeleau got in on a breakaway to make it 4-0 Wolverines. All hope seemed lost as those in maize and blue were rocking while those in green and white were silent at Little Caesar's Arena.
The Spartans didn’t let it get to them. The power play was still alive and MSU continued to push. Less than 30 seconds later, sophomore defenseman Nash Nienhuis ripped a shot from the right of Michigan sophomore goaltender Erik Portillo that tickled the twine and put the Spartans on the board. Nienhuis' defensive partner, senior defenseman Dennis Cesana, wanted his turn at Portillo and 38 seconds later floated a shot past Portillo. Suddenly, Michigan State was right back in the game.
Cesana’s seventh goal of the season capped off a chaotic five-minute power play that at the end netted zero gain. However, the second period party was nowhere near over for either team. Michigan added two more goals in the frame, one from junior forward Nick Granowicz and a second one from Lambert, and MSU added one, a deflection from sophomore Jeremy Davidson, and the two rivals skated to the third with a 6-3 game favoring the Wolverines.
Avoiding a slow start was everything Michigan State wished but did not receive. The Wolverines carried momentum from Friday night's 6-2 victory attacked MSU right away and almost put the nail in the coffin before the first intermission.
The first two periods featured 48 shots on goal and nine penalties, just like one would expect from a neutral site, rivalry game.
Perhaps the 40-minute span of nine goals took a toll on both team's legs as Michigan and Michigan State played a defensive chess match for the final period. The Spartans registered just one shot on goal and played lethargically for the final 20 minutes.
Michigan added one last goal for fun, a shot from the point from freshman defensemen Luke Hughes with less than a minute left, his third goal of the weekend.
Senior goaltender Drew DeRidder made 32 saves Saturday night while allowing seven goals one night after allowing six in Ann Arbor.
MSU returns home for the final four games of the regular season versus Notre Dame and Penn State after suffering their 10th straight loss.
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