Feb. 27, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich.- Senior defenseman Tyler Harlton had two assists Friday night, leading the Spartans to a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over Lake Superior Friday night. MSU is undefeated this season when Harlton has a point. But that's not why he should be an All-American.
The real reason for Harlton's value is on defense, where he led a stifling Spartan group which allowed just 17 Laker shots on goal. And while Lake Superior was able to erase an early 1-0 Michigan State lead and take a 2-1 lead of its own, the Spartans came back with two goals in 36 seconds to win.
MSU's victory -- combined with Michigan's 2-1 loss to Ferris State -- gives the Spartans a three-point edge over the Wolverines in the race for the CCHA title with three games remaining. The Spartans and Wolverines swap opponents tomorrow night, with Ferris coming to Munn Ice Arena for Senior Night.
Freshman Damon Whitten got MSU on the board Friday, scoring on a power play just 4:24 into the game. Michigan State's first power play unit has been tremendously effective lately, but the second unit -- which includes Whitten, Harlton and Mike Weaver, who both had assists -- had not scored in 15 games.
Offensive chances were limited for the rest of the first period, however, and MSU maintained its lead until Ben Keup scored at 13:26 of the second. Joe Blaznek made it 2-1 three minutes into the third. With the offense struggling, MSU maintained its defensive poise and kept LSSU in check.
"I think the key to our coming back in games like that is to continue playing our game," Harlton said. "We know that we will get more chances that way than if we sacrifice defense."
The Spartans tied the score at 6:24 when Mike Weaver's dump-in defelected off the glass to freshman Andrew Bogle. Bogle, who now has two of his three career goals against Lake Superior, deposited the rebound into an essentially empty net.
Thirty-six seconds later, with the help of a bench minor call on Lake Superior, Michigan State's first power-play unit got the go-ahead goal as Mike York scored off a feed from Jeff Kozakowski. Kevin O'Keefe added the fourth goal on a beautiful pass from Sean Berens to make it 4-2.
Things got ugly from there, as two after-the-whistle scuffles ensued around the Michigan State goal. Both were seemingly precipitated by charging calls on Lake Superior players on MSU goaltender Chad Alban. "I don't think it got physical in the end, I think it got stupid," MSU head coach Ron Mason said. "Goaltenders aren't there to be run, and for whatever reason a couple of their guys wanted to run Chad Alban." The result: 16 separate penalty calls at two stoppages, including a 10-minute misconduct, a five-minute charging major and two fighting majors. The fighting majors will keep Michigan State's Sean Patchell and Lake Superior's Bart Redden out of tomorrow night's games. The Spartans -- minus Patchell -- meet Ferris State tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. Senior Night festivities kick off at about 6:45.MICHIGAN STATE 4, LAKE SUPERIOR 2
Team Score by Periods Shots by Period Pen-Min PP LSSU 0-1-1--2 5-6-6--17 17-64 0-1 MSU 1-0-3--4 10-10-9--29 8-27 2-8 Scoring Per Time Team Goal Scorer (Assists) 1 4:24 MSU Damon Whitten 4 (Harlton, Weaver) PPG 2 13:26 LSSU Ben Keup 7 (Laviolette) 3 3:01 LSSU Joe Blaznek 13 (Sessa) 3 6:24 MSU Andrew Bogle 3 (Weaver, Harlton) 3 7:00 MSU Mike York 24 (Kozakowski) PPG 3 10:07 MSU Kevin O'Keefe 11 (Berens, Whitten) Goaltender Saves by Period Time Chad Alban, MS 5-5-5--15 60:00 Jayme Platt, LS 9-10-6--25 60:00 New Records: MSU: 27-4-5 (19-4-4 CCHA) LSSU: 15-14-4 (13-12-4 CCHA) Attendance: 6,473 (216th consecutive regular-season sellout)