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Young Spartans exceed expectations with championship

PROVIDENCE, R.I.-- When Michigan State left wing Mike Donnelly played against Harvard in NCAA Regional action in 1983, he had a broken wrist.

At the Providence Civic Center at the 1986 national championship, all he could break after the game was a big smile.

Led by a pair of goals by the senior left wing -- the final one at 17:09 of the third period -- MSU claimed the 1986 NCAA championship by downing the Crimson 6-5 before a crowd of 9,214.

It was MSU's second national title in the school's history, the other coming in 1966.

Donnelly's goals were his 58th and 59th of the season, padding his NCAA record for most goals in a season.

Also scoring for head coach Ron Mason's Spartans, who closed the year with a 34-9-2 record, including a 23-2-1 mark since December, were Mitch Messier, Jeff Parker, Brad Hamilton and Brian McReynolds. Bob Essensa finished with 15 saves in the Spartan nets.

"Tonight, we won the game in a way that was characteristic of our whole season -- we came from behind and never gave up," Mason said.

Donnelly, Parker, Norm Foster and Don McSween were named to the all-tournament team. Donnelly was named the Most Valuable Player.

"I'm proud of our team -- very proud," Mason added. "This team has a lot of character, and they gave it quite a gutsy effort tonight. They've made a believer out of me.

"Last year, it was doomsday around Michigan State after the loss to Providence," said Mason, referring to the disappointing NCAA quarterfinal loss that knocked perhaps the best MSU team of all time out of the tournament. "It takes more than a great team to win an NCAA championship. It takes the right chemistry."

(Parts of this story were taken from the March 30, 1986 Lansing State Journal story by Will Kowalski.)

1985-86 Roster
3   Brad Hamilton D
4   Brad Beck   D
5   Don McSween (C) D
6   Chris Luongo D
7   Danton Cole F
8   Kevin Miller (A)    F
9   Joe Murphy  F
10  Geir Hoff   F
11  Jeff Parker F
12  Mitch Messier (A)   F
14  Mike Donnelly   F
15  Bobby Reynolds  F
16  Bill Shibicky   F
17  Bruce Rendall   F
18  Dave Chiappelli F
19  Rick Tosto  F
21  Tom Tilley  D
22  Sean Clement    D
25  Dee Rizzo   F
26  Dave Arkeilpane F
27  Brian McReynolds    F
28  Rick Fernandez  F
33  Bob Essensa G
41  Norm Foster G
Head Coach
Ron Mason
Assistant Coaches
T. Christensen, G. Gwozdecky

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