March 1, 2014
EAST LANSING - Jack Eichel's goal at 2:12 of overtime broke a 3-3 tie and gave the USANTDP U-18 team a 4-3 win over Michigan State in an exhibition game on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. Joe Cox, Michael Ferrantino and Lee Reimer scored for MSU, while Villiam Haag had a pair of assists.
"They are a very good team, have a lot of skill and play with a lot of pace," said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. "We didn't respond to their pace in the first period and we finally picked it up in the second period."
USANTDP got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Eichel and Sonny Milano (power play) and 8:08 and 11:57, respectively.
USANTDP upped its lead to 3-0 with its second power-play goal of the game just over seven minutes into the second period, courtesy of Auston Matthews.
The USANTDP three-goal cushion lasted just 50 seconds though as the Spartans struck twice in a two-minute span to make the score 3-2.
Haag and Cox teamed up on the first goal as the duo crashed the net on a 2-on-1. Haag carried the puck down the left side and drove toward the net as he entered the zone. Haag was able to push the puck toward the goal where Cox got a stick on it and put it past USANTDP goaltender Edwin Minney.
Exactly two minutes later, Ferrantino completed a tic-tac-toe passing play from the slot with a rising shot that beat Minney. Jake Chelios pushed the puck around the back of the net to Haag in the right corner, who found Ferrantino in the slot.
"I liked our pace of play in the second and third periods and like that we fought back," said Anastos.
The Spartans came back to pull even at 13:03 of the third period as Reimer scored short-handed. Reimer started the play in the Spartan end when he sent the puck cross ice to Greg Wolfe on the right side. Wolfe hit Reimer with a perfect pass near the top of the left circle in the USANTDP zone, and he ripped a slap shot over the shoulder of Minney.
Eichel's game-winning goal came just over two minutes into overtime and it was the only shot of the extra session.
MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand finished with 25 saves in the game.
The Spartans will return to Big Ten action next weekend when they play a home-and-home series with Michigan. The two teams will meet in Ann Arbor on Friday and then in East Lansing on Saturday.