Spartans Fall, 3-2, to Wolverines
Feb. 1, 2013
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Cristoval Nieves and Phil DiGuiseppe combined on three Michigan markers on Friday, which was enough to down visiting Michigan State (7-17-3, 5-13-1-0 CCHA) on Friday night in Ann Arbor. Brent Darnell and Jake Chelios scored for the Spartans, while freshman goalie Jake Hildebrand made 34 saves. Michigan improves to 9-16-2, 6-13-2-2 on the season.
"Obviously we're really struggling on offense. We've got to guard against getting frustrated, because there were some good parts to our game - and I thought the guys worked hard, and competed hard. I thought Jake Hildebrand had another real good night, too. "The mistakes that we made, they clearly took advantage of," continued Anastos. "When you get those kinds of things, like we talked about in the dressing room going into the third period ... you just have to stay together. It can be frustrating, but I think tonight, some guys who haven't gotten as much ice time got some playing time, gained some experience, and that's going to make us better. Right now, it's a matter of us sticking together, playing hard, and just continuing to try to get better.
Michigan State jumped on the board at 4:53. The Spartans held possession in their offensive zone on a rush, and the home team was trying to clear the puck. Brent Darnell stripped the Wolverine D at the half-wall, and his sharp-angle shot from the right circle sailed past the trailing defender and over the left shoulder of Rutledge for the sophomore's seventh goal of the season.
The Spartans made a costly turnover at the blue line midway through the second frame, directly leading to an equalizer for the home team. Coming off an impressive penalty kill, MSU was attempting to clear the zone, but DiGiuseppe forced the turnover just inside the blueline at the near wall, and Cristoval Nieves sent a cross-slot pass to Derek DeBlois , stationed low in the right circle. His one-timer beat Hildebrand over his glove hand, and knotted the score at one.
The teams combined for three goals in the first five minutes of the opening period. UM took its first lead of the night at 1:52, as Nieves one-timed a pass from Phil DiGuiseppe. DiGuiseppe forced a turnover at the blueline and sent the puck into the slot for Nieves' fifth of the season.
Less than a minute later, Jake Chelios countered to tie the game for the Spartans. He and Michael Ferrantino had the puck tied up along the right wall, and it squirted out into the circle. Chelios pounced, carried the puck through the low slot, and beat Rutledge blocker-side for the third goal of his junior season.
Nieves and DiGuiseppe connected again at 4:57 to regain the Wolverine lead. DiGuiseppe threw the puck into the slot for Nieves off the right wall this time, and he beat Hildebrand blocker-side. That goal would stand as the game-winner.
The Spartans pressed for another equalizing tally, but could not generate another goal for the balance of regulation. Jake Hildebrand made 34 saves, while Jared Rutledge made 21 for Michigan.
Michigan takes a 3-1 lead in the season series, and 2-1 edge in games which count in the CCHA standings. The two teams will face off again on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.
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