Dec. 16, 2008
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State dropped a 4-2 exhibition decision to the US National Team Development Program (NTDP) on Tuesday evening at Munn Arena. Mike Merrifield and Corey Tropp had the scores for MSU, and freshman Drew Palmisano made 29 saves.
It wasn't until six minutes into the middle frame - when skating on the power play - that Team USA would get on the board. Ryan Bourque's offering was saved by Palmisano, but the rebound was poked in front by AJ Treais, who was able to slide the puck beneath the leg pad of Palmisno to tie the game at one. Team USA took its first lead at 12:29 when skating shorthanded - Bourque picked up his second point of the night when he skated in unmolested and had a one-on-one with the goalie, and beat him high over his glove hand.
Corey Tropp tied the game for the Spartans at 6:34 of the third period. Skating on the power play, Tim Buttery and Matt Schepke passed back and forth point-to-point, and Schepke's shot from the left side was saved by Maxwell. Tropp was there to bat the puck out of midair in front of the net.
The teams continued increasingly physical play throughout the third period, with a string of power-play opportunities for both sides. As a tripping penalty to Bourque expired with just over five minutes remaining, Kenny Ryan stole the puck from an MSU defender in the neutral zone and went in alone on Palmisano, putting team USA ahead 3-2. Jerry D'Amigo potted an empty-net tally with 30 seconds remaining to ice the victory.
Michigan State returns to action on Dec. 27-28 at the Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Spartans tangle with North Dakota in the semifinals, with a pending matchup against Michigan or Michigan Tech on day two.
NOTES: Michigan State's record against the USNTDP is now 3-4 all-time ... MSU becomes the USNTDP U-18's first victory over a CCHA team this season, as Team USA previously lost to Michigan, Lake Superior, Alaska, and Northern Michigan ...