Nov. 29, 2008
Minneapolis, Minn. - The Michigan State hockey team skated to a 4-4 tie with top-ranked Minnesota on Saturday evening in the annual College Hockey Showcase. Daultan Leveille had a pair of goals for the Spartans, while classmate Drew Palmisano made 22 saves. MSU snaps a streak of seven straight losses, and is now 4-9-3 on the season.
It wasn't a victory, but a game perhaps from which the Spartans could feel some positive momentum. MSU looked like a team refreshed - they generated offensive chances and generated shots on goal from the opening drop of the puck. Michigan State took a 2-0 lead with a pair of tallies just over a minute apart midway through the opening period. A Leveille power-play goal at 10:44 got things going with the Spartans on an extended man-advantage thanks to a major penalty drawn by Gopher captain Ryan Stoa. Tim Crowder had the puck behind the goal line in the right corner, and fed his freshman centerman in front of the net. Leveille twice shot and collected his own rebound, but put this third attempt behind Alex Kangas.
Just over a minute later, the Spartans padded their lead to 2-0 with a goal from senior Dan Sturges. Corey Tropp was carrying the puck into the offensive zone and got tied up with a defender, and sent the puck across the high slot with a swipe from his backside. The pass went right onto the stick of Sturges, who lifted the puck over the glove-hand of Kangas.
The Gophers got on the board with a shorthanded tally at 15:30. With Cade Fairchild in the box for high sticking, the Gophers had a rush with seconds remaining in the man advantage; Tony Lucia carried the puck up the left side and made a cross-slot pass to Justun Bostrom on the right side. Bostrom beat Palmisano five-hole for his second goal of the season. That sent the Gophers into the locker room trailing 2-1 at the first intermission.
The home team tied the game at 6:14 of the second. Mike Hoeffel's pass from the left half-wall through traffic was tipped en route by Joe Miller for the freshman winger's first goal of the season.
The Spartans went back on top with another from Leveille at 7:55. The play originated at the right point, when Jeff Petry corralled the puck and dropped it back to Tim Crowder at the point, who unleashed a slapshot netward. Crowder's shot went off Leveille in front and past Kangas.
Less than a minute later, MSU struck again, with the play again originating from the right point - Ryan Turek fired the puck off the back boards to the left of Kangas. Tropp collected it and fed it in front for Andrew Rowe, who deposited his fourth of the season. A four-on-one rush again cut the MSU lead to one, as Nick Larson scored his first of the season at 15:11 of the second period to bring the Gophers closer, trailing 4-3 after two periods.
A tripping call against Sturges at 5:57 of the third period put the Gophers on the power play for the first time on the night, and it took less than 30 seconds for Minnesota to tie the game. Patrick White, stationed at the bottom of the left circle, took a pass and one-timed it past Palmisano for his first of the season, and the game-tying goal.
Michigan State returns to action next weekend when it engages in a home-and-home series with archrival Michigan. The teams face off on Friday in Ann Arbor, then on Saturday in East Lansing. Saturday's contest will feature Chuck-a-Puck as a fundraiser for the Spartans "Shoot for a Cure" initiative, which benefits Cure Kids Cancer at Sparrow Hospital.
NOTES: MSU and Minnesota skated to a tie for the third straight season in this event. The two previous scores were 2-2 (2007) and 3-3 (2008) ... Michigan State went to overtime for the third time this season, and for the first time since Nov. 1. Both previous games also ended in ties, but the Spartans won the shootouts, now employed in CCHA games this season ... The Spartans scored a season-high in goals, the previous high of three coming most recently in a 3-1 win over Western Michigan on Oct. 31 ... Michigan State took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, the first Spartan lead at a break since the Western Michigan game on Oct. 31 ... Dan Sturges' first-period goal was his first since Dec.29, 2006 against Harvard at the Great Lakes Invitational ... Leveille's goals were his first scores since a two-goal outing against Western Michigan on Halloween. That was also the last contest in which the Spartans scored more than once in a game ... Ryan Stoa was assessed a 5-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind six minutes into the game for his hit on Spartan winger Andrew Conboy. Conboy left the game, but returned later in the period....