Spartans Rally to Top No. 11/12 Michigan, 4-3
Will Yanakeff makes one of his 24 saves in Saturday's win.

March 8, 2014

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State hockey team scored three unanswered goals to rally from a 3-1 deficit and top No. 11/12 Michigan, 4-3, on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. Will Yanakeff turned away all 24 shots in a relief effort in goal, while Mackenzie MacEachern broke a 3-3 tie with 12:13 to play in the third period.

"It was a great win for a lot of reasons," said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. "Last night was the worst loss since I've been here, in terms of how we performed and I was concerned how it would impact us tonight.

"How we fought back tonight says a lot about the perseverance we have played with all season. It says a lot about Will (Yanakeff) fighting back too, because he was the main reason why we won."

The Wolverines (17-11-4, 9-7-2-1) jumped on MSU starting goaltender Jake Hildebrand for three goals in the first period, forcing the Spartans to make a change in net to start the second.

"I just went out and played and didn't think about things. I just tried to stop the puck," said Yanakeff. "It means a lot for this team to come back from a 3-1 deficit. We looked like a different team in the second and third periods and that really shows our character."

Trailing 3-1 after the first period, Lee Reimer pulled MSU to within a goal with a power-play marker with four minutes to play in the second. Greg Wolfe and Matt DeBlouw played catch at the blue line until DeBlouw blasted a slap shot toward Michigan goaltender Steve Racine from the right point. Set up in front of Racine, Reimer got a piece of DeBlouw's shot and directed into the net.

The Spartans (10-17-7, 4-8-6-4) pressed the Wolverines as the third period started and then struck twice in a 1:13 span to tie it and take the lead.

Mike Ferrantino knotted the game, scoring on a rebound at the 6:34 mark. The play started when John Draeger jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone and carried it in down the left side. Draeger fired a shot from the circle and Racine pushed out a long rebound right to Ferrantino. Ferrantino immediately put the puck back on net and past Racine.

Just 1:13 later, MacEachern scored what proved to be the deciding goal. After taking a perfect drop pass from Brent Darnell, MacEachern cruised into the zone on the left side and whistled a shot between the legs of Racine at the 7:47 mark of the third.

Yanakeff made several stops down the stretch and turned away all 13 Michigan attempts in the period to earn the win.

The game started similar to Friday with Michigan scoring an early goal. Luke Moffat capitalized on a turnover in the Spartan end and fired a shot past a screened Hildebrand just 1:15 into the game.

Cristoval Nieves made it 2-0 less than 3:30 later when he split the Spartan defense and lifted a backhand over Hildebrand's shoulder.

MSU got on the board at 11:58 of the first with a goal by Greg Wolfe. Wolfe tracked down a loose puck in the Michigan zone and banked the puck into the net from the goal line, just off the right post. The puck bounced off a Michigan defenseman and then got past Racine.

Phil DiGiuseppe responded though for the Wolverines, beating Hildebrand with a slap shot that deflected off of Chris Knudson at 17:23 of the first to give U-M a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Both teams had 10 shots on goal in the first period, while U-M finished with a 34-28 edge for the game.

A night after surrendering a pair of power-play goals, the Spartans held the Wolverines to 0-for-4 on the man-advantage on Saturday.

Michigan State will host Wisconsin next weekend in its final home series. Friday's game will begin at 7 p.m., while Saturday's is scheduled for 4 p.m.