Oct. 27, 2012
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Michigan State rode a three-for-six performance on the power play to a 4-2 road victory at Lake Superior State on Saturday evening, earning a series split and their first conference win of the season. The Spartans got a goal and an assist from Tanner Sorenson, Matt Berry, and John Draeger, and freshman goalie Jake Hildebrand turned in an outstanding effort in his first collegiate start, making 27 saves.
" I thought we played the kind of game that we wanted to play all weekend. The guys played with toughness, and obviously, special teams were a big factor, " said head coach Tom Anastos. "Guys played disciplined in their game all night long - I don't mean just from a penalty standpoint, but also from the forecheck and through the neutral zone, which is what we didn't do last night. It was good for our players to see what good things can happen when we follow the game plan, keep things simple, and execute."
The Spartans got on the board at 16:52. Skating on the power play, Travis Walsh held the puck at the left point, and sent it down low to Tanner Sorenson at the goal line. Sorenson threw it back out to Draeger, who was just above the hash marks in the slot, and his shot beat Murdock blocker-side.
Seconds later, the Lakers had one of their best chances of the period, as Nick McPartland unleashed a quick shot from the bottom of the right hash mark, but a kick save by Hildebrand sent the puck harmlessly into the corner. Earlier in the period, Hildebrand's first test had come on a point-blank shot by Bryce Schmitt, but he was up to the task and helped the Spartans take their first intermission lead of the season, 1-0, into the locker room after the first.
The second period was marred with lots of special teams action, and MSU padded its lead at 7:28. Tanner Sorenson paid the price down low, eventually poking home his third goal of the season off an assist from Matt Berry. As he scored, he was shoved into the Laker defenseman, which ignited some extracurriculars down around the Laker net. The end result was a five-minute major for the Lakers to kill off (Bruneteau for facemasking), and a two-minute call against Jake Chelios for roughing after the whistle. 90 seconds into the major, Dan Radke was sent off for boarding, giving MSU a two-man advantage for a full two minutes, followed by a near minute of 5x4. The Lakers killed off the penalties in their entirety, keeping the deficit 2-0 for the home team.
That kill was important for LSSU, which was able to crawl within a goal with 2:15 remaining in the period. A Spartan defender got beaten at the blueline, creating an odd-man rush for LSSU through the offensive zone. Hildebrand got a piece of Ciotti's shot, but it trickled loose and behind him, ending the shutout.
MSU added to its lead at 6:34 of the final frame, another power-play tally. Just a minute after Murdock stoned DeBlouw from the bottom of the right circle, DeBlouw got the puck to Greg Wolfe at the right point, and he fired the puck in on net. Matt Berry had the shot from the right side, and put back his own rebound for his second goal of the season. The first even-strength goal of the night came at 11:52, as Anthony Hayes sped up the right side with the puck and shot from just inside the blueline, beating Murdock over his glove hand. Justin Hoomaian and John Draeger were credited with the assists.
Laker coach Jim Roque made a bold move with four minutes to play in regulation, pulling Murdock in favor of an extra attacker. The move paid off almost immediately, as a Stephen Perfetto wrister from the right circle beat Hildebrand high blocker-side. It was his second goal of the season.
In the waning seconds, the Spartans got big blocked shots from Chris Forfar on a Kevin Czuczman shot from the left point, and Travis Walsh laid down and blocked one in the high slot seconds later that kept the puck from getting low. With 16.3 seconds remaining, a scrum in front of Hildebrand led to a Anthony Hayes penalty, giving the Lakers a 6-on-4 for the balance of the game. The Spartans denied the Lakers a shot in the final stretch, holding on for the 4-2 win.
Hildebrand stood up to the challenge all night, as his 27 saves helped the Spartans to their first road victory of the season.
"I thought [Hildebrand] made key saves when he needed to, and they had to earn their goals," said Anastos. " I thought he was excellent, and I am happy for him getting his first win."
Sorenson, Berry, and Draeger swept the game's three-star awards.
MSU will play a home-and-home series against Bowling Green next weekend, with Friday's home game starting at 5 p.m.
NOTES: MSU's went 3-for-6 on the power play. In its previous five games, the Spartans had just two man-advantage tallies in 17 chances ... The Spartans snapped a four-game winless streak at LSSU, last winning in the Soo in January 2011 ... Draeger's goal was his first collegiate tally. It was also the first goal that the Spartans scored in the first period this season ... Lee Reimer's assist on Sorenson's goal extends his team-best point-scoring streak to four games ... Sorenson had a 2-6-8 scoring line last year as a freshman. Through six games, he owns 3-2-5 in his sophomore season ... Anthony Hayes' third-period goal was his second of the season, tying his career best in a season (set as both a freshman and a junior) ... Justin Hoomaian had an assist on Hayes' third-period marker, the first collegiate point for the redshirt freshman.