Dec. 29, 2007
Detroit, Mich. - Providence College erupted for four third-period tallies to post a 5-3 victory over Michigan State in the third-place game of the Great Lakes Invitational. MSU got a goal and an assist from Michael Ratchuk and 40 stops from Jeff Lerg in the loss, and loses back-to-back games for the second time this season. Kyle MacKinnon and Jon Rheault each had two goals for Providence.
Michigan State took its first lead of the weekend in the final minute of play in the opening frame. Blueliner Justin Johnson threw the puck on net from the left point, and Chris Mueller, who was stationed at the left post got his stick on it. The puck changed direction and caromed off the back wall - right onto the stick of Dustin Gazley, who shot the puck into the right side of the net for his third goal of the season.
The Friars broke up the shutout at 13:18 of the middle frame. A turnover in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-1 for Providence, and Rheault's shot eluded Jeff Lerg over his stick-hand shoulder.
The Spartans regained the lead just over a minute into the final frame. Matt Schepke was at the half wall and moved the puck out to Ratchuk in the high slot. Ratchuk threw the puck on net, and Nick Sucharski tipped it for his fourth of the season.
The Friars popped two goals two minutes apart midway through the third to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 advantage. The first came at 7:49, when John Cavanaugh put back a rebound off a Matt Taormina shot from the left side. Jeff Lerg made the save on Taormina, but Cavanaugh was alone on the right side and had a wide-open net into which he deposited his second goal of the season.
PC took the lead at 9:48. Rheault streaked up the right side and put a shot on Lerg, which he saved. Greg Collins tried to put back the rebound, but was also turned away by the MSU netminder - but Rheault, who had circled back behind the net to the left side, managed to poke it past Lerg's leg pad for his second goal of the night.
Providence tacked on some insurance with a tally at 15:54. Kyle MacKinnon and Pierce Norton broke in on a two-on-one, with Norton making the final pass to McKinnon from the right hash - McKinnon's shot beat Jeff Lerg stick-side.
MSU made it a game with a minute to play, as Ratchuk made a last-ditch effort on a Schepke lead pass into the slot, diving and getting the blade of his stick onto the puck enough to deflect it up over the glove-hand shoulder of Tyler Sims. MacKinnon killed any chance at a comeback, however, with his empty-netter at 19:51.
Michigan State gets back into CCHA action next weekend when it hosts Lake Superior at Munn Arena on Friday and Saturday.
NOTES: MSU and Providence met for the first time in 22 years, and improved to 3-1 in all-time meetings ... Michigan State finished fourth in the Great Lakes Invitational for just the third time in 35 all-time appearances (1979, 1990). This was just the 10th time that the Spartans had not appeared in the final ... MSU lost for the first time this season when netting the first goal of the game. The Spartans are now 10-1-1 on the season when scoring first and 9-1-1 when leading after the first period ... MSU is 1-for-17 in its last four games on the power play (.059) ... The teams were whistled for a combined three penalties on the night ... MSU lost back-to-back games for the second time this season ... Justin Johnston's first-period assist was the first point of his career ... Dustin Gazley's first-period tally was his first goal since Oct. 19 vs. Colgate. He had a two-goal game against the Raiders that night ... Michael Ratchuk's assist on Nick Sucharski's third-period tally moved him to 13 points on the season, surpassing his freshman year point total. He had his fifth multiple-point game of the season and third in the last month ...