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Spartans, Gophers Skate to 3-3 Tie
Chris Mueller scored a third-period tally against Minnesota.
Chris Mueller scored a third-period tally against Minnesota.

Nov. 23, 2007

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State rallied from a 2-1 deficit after two periods and got the game-tying goal from Tim Kennedy while skating shorthanded to settle on a 3-3 tie with visiting Minnesota on Friday night at Munn Arena. Gopher goalie Alex Kangas made 27 saves, including 21 in the opening two periods. Jeff Lerg made 19 saves for Michigan State, which concludes the College Hockey Showcase on Saturday with a game against Wisconsin.

Kennedy's tying goal came at 12:41, just under 90 seconds after Minnesota had taken a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal by Mike Hoeffel. Kennedy read the play and anticipated the fake by defender Cade Fairchild, and intercepted his cross-blueline pass and sprung for a breakaway. He was chased by the two defenders, but he was able to lift the puck under the blocker-hand of Kangas for his second shorthanded goal of the season. The Gophers took the first lead of the game, scoring with just under two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Freshman blueliner Stu Bickel got the puck from the goal line to the left of the cage, and wristed the puck through traffic from the right hash mark for his first collegiate tally.

Minnesota had a couple of good opportunities with 11 minutes remaining in the second period. With Jeff Lerg protecting the left post, the puck squirted into the slot for Drew Fisher, but his low shot was blocked in the crease by blueliner Daniel Vukovic. The rebound worked back out to the point for Fairchild, who's slapshot caromed off the right post.

Michigan State had a grade-A chance of its own just over a minute later when skating on the power play. Justin Abdelkader and Tim Crowder broke in on a two-on-one, and Crowder's shot was snared with a glove-save by Kangas.

The Spartans did post the equalizer shortly thereafter. Taking a pass from blueliner Jeff Dunne, freshman winger Andrew Rowe streaked up the left side with a defender on his hip, and tucked the puck between the left post and the leg pad of Kangas for his second tally of the season, putting the goal on the board at 11:43.

Minnesota regained the lead at 13:46, when R.J. Anderson whistled the puck from the right circle, and it hit off the top left corner of the goalcage and past Lerg for the junior's second tally of the season. Michigan State spent good portions of the remainder of the period cycling low and getting traffic in front, but Kangas was up to the task, making ten saves in the stanza.

Chris Mueller tied the score at two at 2:59 of the final frame. Jeff Petry's hard shot from the left point was saved by Kangas, but the rebound went right into the low left circle for Mueller, who's goal was his second of the season.

After the tying tally, the Spartans began to carry play for long stretches, and had attempted 12 shots in the first seven minutes of play in the final frame. The Gophers gained some momentum on a power play midway through the period, but Jeff Lerg came up with a pair of big saves and got some help from the crossbar on a Jay Barriball shot.

The Spartans gained their fifth power-play chance of the night after killing that penalty, but instead of taking their first lead, MSU instead surrendered its first shorthanded tally of the season to fall behind, 3-2. A turnover at the blueline led to an odd-man rush for the Gophers - Fairchild held the puck long enough deep in the left circle long enough to get Lerg to commit, then slid the cross-crease pass to Mike Hoeffel at the bottom of the right circle, and he had a wide-open right side into which he deposited his first goal of the season.

An Andrew Rowe penalty put the Gophers on the power play for just the third time of the night, but Kennedy's shorthander knotted the score. The two teams skated for the remaining seven minutes and the five-minute overtime period without another score, and the teams settled on their second consecutive tie at Munn Arena - the teams tied, 2-2, in the 2005 meeting in East Lansing.

NOTES: This was Michigan State's first overtime game of the season. The Spartans have not dropped an overtime contest since Nov. 12, 2005 against Nebraska-Omaha (3-2). MSU is undefeated in its last 16 games which have needed an extra session (6-0-10) ... The tie extended Michigan State's winless streak at home to three games, (0-2-1), its longest streak at Munn since an 0-3-2 streak in November of 2005 - whicih was capped by a 2-2 stalemate with Minnesota .. MSU's opponents have scored first in half of the team's 12 games this season, and MSU is 2-3-1 in those games. The Spartans are 6-0 when scoring first ... The Spartan power play has scored just once in 20 chances over its last three games after a torrid start to the season. Before this three-game drought, the PP was 6-of-12 in its previous three tilts and had five games with multiple power-play strikes ... The penalty kill was 3-for-3, its first perfect night in five games ... Kennedy's shorthanded goal in the third period was his 11th of the season, and his ninth in special teams situations. He has seven on the power play and two shorthanded ...




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