Spartans Stunned by Michigan, 5-3

Dec. 6, 2008

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Rick Comley|Jeff Lerg|Dustin Gazley|Louie Caporusso|Red Berenson

East Lansing, Mich. - There would have been few sweeter ways to end a losing streak, but there aren't many more heartbreaking ways to extend one.

Michigan State entered the final 2:30 of regulation with a 3-2 lead, but Michigan scored twice in a one-minute span, then added an empty-net tally for good measure as the Wolverines swept the weekend set from the Spartans with a 5-3 victory on Saturday evening at Munn Ice Arena. MSU's winless streak reaches 11 games as the Spartans fall to 4-11-3, 2-8-2-2 CCHA. Michigan improves to 11-7-0, 7-5-0-0 in conference play.

Michigan had tied the game at three with 17:31, when Carl Hagelin and blueliner Brandon Burlon broke into the zone on an odd-man rush. Burlon was marked heavily but managed to pass cross-slot to Hagelin at the far post, and Hagelin beat Lerg glove-side. Caporusso scored the go-ahead goal with just 96 seconds remaining in regulation, as Aaron Palushaj forced the turnover in the MSU zone, and his pass to David Wohlburg was quickly redirected to the centerman at the right post. Travis Turnbull completed his hat trick with the empty-net tally to seal the win.

The game was scoreless through 20 minutes, and Michigan State took the first lead of the game with a Matt Schepke power-play goal at 9:18. After a scrum in the Michigan zone, the Spartans ended up on a man advantage. Corey Tropp corralled the puck in the left corner and sent it out to Jeff Petry at the right point, and Petry's wrister made it through traffic, bounced off of Schepke in front, and into the back of the net. It was Petry's second goal of the season.

A pair of man-advantage goals for the Wolverines turned a 1-0 MSU lead into a 2-1 deficit. Travis Turnbull potted a five-on-three power-play goal at 15:16; Greg Patyrn fired the puck just to the left of the goal cage, and it ricocheted out back to the left of the crease for Turnbull to tip past Lerg. Less than a minute later, Turnbull struck again, as his sharp-angle shot from the right side squirted past Lerg at the near post.

The Spartans came out flying to open the final frame, and put two goals - both from the snakebitten Dustin Gazley - on the board in the opening two minutes. The first came at 1:07, when Andrew Rowe's dump-in was saved by Hogan, but the fat rebound went off of Daultan Leveille's skate right onto the tape of Gazley's stick, and he had a wide-open net for his first goal of the season. He only had to wait 30 seconds for goal #2, when the Spartans streaked into the zone on a 3-on-1 and he buried Rowe's pass.

It appeared that the Spartans would hold on, but the late-game Michigan heroics took over with 2:29 on the clock, sending MSU to its second straight loss. The Spartans will be idle next weekend, and will entertain the US National Team Development program on Tuesday, Dec. 16 for an exhibition game. The Spartans will then prepare for the Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 27-28.