Spartans Tie Michigan Tech, 2-2; Fall in Shootout
Dec. 27, 2013
DETROIT - The Michigan State hockey team rallied to score twice in the third period and played Michigan Tech to a 2-2 tie in the semifinals of the 49th edition of the Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park on Friday afternoon. However, with the game still tied after 65 minutes, it was the Huskies that won the shootout, 2-1, to advance to Saturday night's GLI Championship Game. The Spartans (5-9-2) will play at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon against the loser of the other semifinal game between Western Michigan and Michigan.
It marks the second consecutive year the Spartans have come up short in a shootout in the GLI semifinals.
"I'm disappointed for our players because as we're trying to rebuild our program, we target this tournament as an opportunity to compete for a championship," said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. "We didn't get over that hump and we had the expectation to do that."
Spartan goaltender Jake Hildebrand finished with 41 saves, several of which came at critical moments with the Spartans trailing, 1-0, in the second period.
"Jake was very steady and that's the expectation we have for him," said Anastos. "We're quite confident with him back there. He has been able to demonstrate a key characteristic of a top-level goaltender and that's making a big save at the right time. We need that from him to give us the chance to win and he did that today."
Hildebrand's 19 second-period saves kept the Spartans in the game and MSU cashed in early in the third to tie the game at one. A late second-period penalty to the Huskies carried over to the start of the third and the Spartans capitalized when Matt Berry collected a rebound off a Jake Chelios shot and put it past Phoenix Copley to tie the game 52 seconds into the frame.
The goal gave MSU life as just 3:10 later, Ryan Keller deflected in a point shot by John Draeger to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead. Draeger fired the puck from the right side and Keller got just enough of the puck to get it past Copley.
"You could see our confidence really rise after those goals," said Anastos. "I thought we got better as the game went on."
Unfortunately MSU couldn't hold the lead as MTU's Alex Petan got the puck past Hildebrand to tie the game at the 8:13 mark of the third.
Both teams created chances as the period went on with Michigan Tech (6-9-6) outshooting the Spartans by a 14-12 margin in the frame.
The Spartans fired three shots on goal in the five-minute overtime session, but neither team found the back of the net as the game ended as an official tie.
In the shootout to determine the team that would advance to Saturday's championship game, MSU's third shooter, Villiam Haag, got the puck through Copley for the first goal. Michigan Tech's Tanner Kero immediately responded to extend the shootout and two rounds later with it still 1-1, Ryan Furne beat Hildebrand with shot to push the Huskies into the finals.
"I thought we competed hard and there was a lot of energy on the bench," said Anastos. "We put ourselves in position to win and we couldn't get over the hump."
After a first period without much rhythm, MSU killed off two penalties early in the second period, but the Huskies eventually grabbed the first goal of the game when Jacob Johnstone found the back of the net at 13:10. Blake Hietala made a pass from the right side to Johnstone, who swept it past a sprawled Hildebrand.
The Spartans finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while MTU was 0-for-4.
Friday's game with the third outdoor game in Spartan hockey history.
"Leading up to the game, the atmosphere was terrific," said Anastos. "It was a great setting to play outdoor hockey, but we obviously would have liked to have had a different result."
at the official