Jan. 20, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State scored twice in the final 70 seconds to post a 4-2 victory over Lake Superior State on Friday at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans post their second consecutive victory and improve to 13-9-3 overall, and 8-7-2-2 in conference play; the Lakers are 13-10-3, and 8-9-2-2. The teams meet for the fourth and final time in the regular season tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Mike Merrifield, Brett Perlini, and Kevin Walrod had single scores for the Spartans, while Torey Krug added an empty netter and also had an assist. Will Yanakeff had a career-best 45 saves in the victory.
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Head Coach Tom Anastos | Players Press Conference (Chris Forfar, Kevin Walrod, Will Yanakeff
The game was a 2-1 affair entering the final three minutes of regulation. At 17:02, the Lakers got the equalizer on a wacky play. A Spartan defenseman had the puck behind the net and was looking for the outlet pass, and Laker Kellan Lain got himself in the passing lane. The puck deflected off his shin pad and a sharp-angle rocket found its way behind Yanakeff.
MSU, which had its chances in the game despite a significant shot disparity, broke the tie with 1:10 to play. Blueliner Jake Chelios carried the puck up the left side and drove behind the net hard, wrapped around and put a shot on net at the right post. Kevin Walrod was at the bottom of the left hash marks, and redirected the puck past Kapalka for his eighth goal of the season, and the game-winner.
"I really liked our poise on the bench," said head coach Tom Anastos. "I really, really like that Lake State team - they play hard, and they play disciplined. The game-winner was absolutely a great play by Jake Chelios, and Wally [Kevin Walrod] was in the perfect place at the right time and got that big goal for us."
The Spartans turned the puck over on the first shift of the game behind their own net, which was enough for Fred Cassiani to collect it, and put back his own rebound at the right post just 28 seconds into the game.
MSU scored twice in a two-minute window to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage. The first goal came as Torey Krug had a big blast from the left point, which went wide; Lee Reimer put a shot netward, and Merrifield pulled the puck back across the goal line at the right post, and roofed the puck over the left shoulder of the sophomore Kapalka. Just a second shy of two minutes later, Brett Perlini made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone on a Laker clearing attempt. He moved from the high slot to the top of the left circle and sniped his seventh goal of the season.
The teams were scoreless for more than 40 minutes of play, until the final three minutes which saw three goals go up on the board.
Yanakeff finished with his career-best 45 saves in the victory, his second straight.
The two teams drop the puck tomorrow night at 7:05 pm, and the game will air live on Comcast television.