Nov. 3, 2012
By Neil Koepke, MSUSpartans.com Staff Writer
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - For the second straight Saturday night, Michigan State relied on a red-hot power play to earn a split of a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series.
The Spartans scored two power-play goals in the first period and added another in the second period to build a 3-0 lead and cruised to a 6-1 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday in front of 2,489 fans at the BGSU Ice Arena.
MSU (3-4-2 overall, 2-2 CCHA) went 4 for 7 on the power play. On Friday, the Spartans came up empty offensively, losing to the Falcons 1-0 at Munn Arena.
"Both of our power play units moved the puck well, kept possession, showed poise and we had some good looks,'' MSU coach Tom Anastos said. "It was nice to score a 5-on-3 goal. It was nice to score 5-on-5. It was just nice to see the puck go in the net.''
Last Saturday, MSU struck for three power-play goals in a 4-2 win at Lake Superior State to salvage a split of its first league series.
Freshman center Matt DeBlouw led the Spartans' win over the Falcons with two goals and two assists, while his linemate, sophomore right wing Matt Berry, scored one goal and had three assists. Left wing Brent Darnell, the third member of the unit, chipped in with two assists.
Both of DeBlouw's goals came at even strength. He now has three goals and four assists for a team-leading seven points in eight games.
"Matt DeBlouw was a real force for us,'' Anastos said. "I thought Berry and Darnell were real good last night but Matt had a tough game But he stepped it up big time and made that line more complete.''
Berry, Lee Reimer, freshman Michael Ferrantino and Greg Wolfe all scored power-play goals for the Spartans, who led 2-0 after one period and 5-0 after two.
Ferrantino's goal - on a 5-on-3 power play at 8:06 of the second period to make it 3-0 -- was the first of his college career and also his first point.
The Spartans' six goals, a season high, came one night after being blanked by Falcon goalie Andrew Hammond, who made 29 saves to earn the shutout. On Saturday, Hammond gave up four goals in a period-and-a-half of work before being replaced by freshman Tommy Burke, who gave up two goals.
MSU goalie Will Yanakeff made 18 saves and came within 4 minutes and 39 seconds of a shutout. The Falcons' only goal came on a shot from the right circle to the far left corner by Camden Wojtala at 15:21 of the final period.
"I really liked our special teams tonight, and Will had probably had his best game of the season,'' Anastos said. "We have to have everybody going. So tonight, everybody was going and working together, but last night, we had some guys playing really well and others not playing well. We're not good enough to overcome that.''
The Spartans overcame a brief, early surge by the Falcons and set the tone by converting on power plays to take a 2-0 lead on goals by Berry at 8:13 and Reimer at 19:15. Ferrantino's power-play goal boosted the lead to three at 8:06, and just 2 minute and 10 seconds later, DeBlouw tipped in freshman defenseman Travis Walsh's shot from the point for a 4-0 lead.
"I think we played a lot harder tonight. We played with a lot more heart and did the little things and got a big win,'' said DeBlouw, a 6-foot, 183-pounder from Chesterfield. "It felt good (to get four points) but Berry and Darnell provided me with the opportunities, so I have to give them the credit.''
DeBlouw added his second goals in a nifty passing play with Berry and Darnell with three seconds left in the second period. Wolfe's power-play goal at 8:20 of the third period closed out the Spartans' scoring.
Asked how a team can go from getting shut out at home and erupt for six goals on the road, DeBlouw said, "that's just the way hockey works.
"It's good to see that we brought it on Saturday night (to get the series split). We just have to figure out Fridays.''
Berry also had his best game of the season and said the victory will give the Spartans a boost going into next weekend's series against Michigan.
"We worked hard and got a lot done tonight. We just started better, worked harder, got the puck in deep and getting the first goal really helps,'' Berry said.
"It's a lot easier playing when you're up and just kept building off it. Our power play is really good right now. Winning tonight is big, going into next weekend and feeling good about our play.''
The Spartans and Wolverines meet at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor and at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Munn Arena.