Feb. 17, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Brett Perlini intercepted a clearing pass deep in the offensive zone and backhanded the game-winning overtime goal with 1:52 remaining in the extra frame to give Michigan State a 3-2 victory over Alaska on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. Freshman Brent Darnell had the first two goals of the game for the Spartans, who improved to 17-12-4, 12-10-3-2 in conference play. With the win, the Spartans move into fourth place in the CCHA standings, ahead of idle Ohio State.
"It was a win, and in the end, that is the most important thing," said head coach Tom Anastos. "We got what we thought we would from Alaska - their goaltender was very good, and they are very difficult to play against. I didn't think we were very good in the first period, and better in the second. The third, I think we found a little something that was lacking. That shot by Perlini was a big one - we're really fighting for points here, and this is a big win."
Alaska had been getting some good pressure deep in the MSU zone, forcing Yanakeff to make some good saves, both point-blank and screened. The Nanook persistence paid off at 8:33, as Scott Enders put the visitors on the board off an assist from Cody Butcher and Jarret Granberg.
At 12:40, it looked like Alaska was going to double its lead, but the call on the ice was overturned when a lengthy review determined the puck had been kicked in. That reversal was a turning point for the Spartans, who just minutes later put up a pair of goals less than a minute apart to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead.
The first marker came on the power play, as freshman Brent Darnell got some help from Jake Chelios and Mike Merrifield. Before the goal could be announced in the arena, Darnell potted his second of the night, taking a pass from Torey Krug across the goalmouth; Krug's pass had the netminder pulled to the far post, giving Darnell lots of empty net to work with on the right side.
Trailing 2-1 in the second period, the Spartans were on the penalty kill when Cody Kunyk's shot from the left point found its way through traffic and beat Yanakeff short-side. That knotted the game at two as the teams retired to the locker room after two periods.
The Spartans had lots of good looks in the final frame, but between strong saves by the senior Greenham and some bad puck luck, the game remained tied at the end of two periods and the game went into an extra frame. MSU outshot their visitors 5-1 in the extra period, with the fifth shot being Perlini's heroics.
NOTES: MSU played its ninth overtime game of the season, and recorded its first overtime victory since the second game of the season, against Air Force ... MSU is now 2-3-4 in games requiring an extra period ... The second-period power-play goal by Alaska was the first extra-man tally allowed by the Spartans since Jan. 29 at Ferris State. It snapped a streak of 23 consecutive successful kills for MSU ... The Spartans had their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. In the five games in February, MSU is 7-for-21 (.333) on the power play in those games ... MSU played its 20th game of the season that was settled by a goal or less. MSU improved to 7-9-0 in one-goal contests, and has skated to four ties ... MSU's last four games have been settled with 3-2 scores ... MSU improved to 4-1-0 in February after a 2-4-0 January record ... Brent Darnell had his first career two-goal game, and first multiple-point game since Dec. 3 game against Bowling Green ... Torey Krug's assist on Darnell's second goal extended his team-best point-scoring streak to six games, the longest point-scoring streak on the team this season ... Dean Chelios played in his 99th career game tonight ... Will Yanakeff made his fifth straight start, finishing with 25 saves ...