Dec. 30, 2010
Detroit, Mich. - Kevin Walrod had a pair of tallies - the first standing as his first career tally - as Michigan State captured a 5-3 victory in the consolation game of the 46th annual Great Lakes Invitational Tournament over Michigan Tech. Anthony Hayes, Derek Grant, and Jake Chelios each had a pair of assists for the Spartans, and freshman Will Yanakeff picked up his first victory in net with 22 saves. The Spartans are now 7-10-3 overall, while Michigan Tech loses its 13th straight game and falls to 3-13-2.
"I thought we made a couple of mistakes tonight that led to goals, but I'm pleased with our effort," noted head coach Rick Comley. "We would dominate the game, make a mistake, and it would end up in the back of our net. But it was a good tournament for us, in terms of how we battled back last night, and how we approached the game tonight. It will be a good jumping-off point for us for the second half. "
Walrod gave the Spartans their first lead of the tournament with a goal at 13:42. Anthony Hayes moved the puck to Matt Crandell out at the left point, and Crandell threw it netward. Walrod was stationed on the doorstep just to the left side of the slot, and tipped it past the glove-hand of goalie Josh Robinson. It was Walrod's first collegiate tally.
The Huskies got the goal back late in the period. The Spartans turned the puck over in the high slot, and Dennis Rix quickly moved it to Aaron Pietila at the hashmarks. The sophomore had only the goaltender to beat, and he deked left and went backhand, sliding the puck five-hole on Will Yanakeff to knot the game at one for the first intermission.
The Spartans wasted little time in getting on the board in the second period. On the rush, Jake Chelios dished the puck to his brother, Dean, who carried it down below the goalline. As Jake headed for the bench on a change, Dean held the puck low, moved it from right to left behind the goalcage, and wrapped it around in front. It beat the goalie beneath his leg pad, and the Spartans led 2-1. The lead was short-lived, however, as Jacob Johnstone whacked at a loose puck at the right post at 5:14, and it flipped up over the glove-hand of Yanakeff and into the back of the net.
Brett Perlini got his team-leading 12th goal of the season at 16:35 to give the Spartans a 3-2 advantage at the second intermission. Perlini took a pass from Jake Chelios at the half-wall, and one-timed it from the right hash marks.
The Spartans got a goal five minutes into the final frame, the second straight period they put an early goal on the scoreboard. Walrod was whistled for tripping, giving Tech its first power-play chance of the game. As the final seconds ticked off the penalty, Dustin Gazley and Grant broke out and rushed into the offensive zone, and Grant picked up his second assist of the night as he dished to the senior, and Gazley backhanded it for his second goal of the tournament and seventh of the season.
A defensive miscue led to Tech's third goal, as Pietila took a pass and went in alone on Yanakeff, and beat him glove-side. Both of Pietila's markers came as a result of defensive-zone turnovers.
Walrod's second of the night was on a fantastic individual effort, as he dove to tip the puck just in front of the right post. Assists went to Hayes and Forfar on the play.
The Spartans return to East Lansing for a week of practice, where they will prepare for a weekend home-and-home series with archrival Michigan. The teams will meet on Friday, Jan. 7 at Munn Ice Arena, and then play the next night in Ann Arbor.
NOTES: With nine goals in the two games of the Great Lakes Invitational, it was the most goals the Spartans have scored in consecutive games this season. MSU had scored eight in the weekend set with Maine ... MSU's 17 first-period shots was its most in an opening period since putting 19 on net against Alabama-Huntsville on Oct. 29 ... Its game total of 46 shots was a season-best. The previous high was 38, set against both Maine (Oct. 14) and Alabama-Huntsville (Oct. 29) ... Kevin Walrod's first-period goal was his first collegiate tally, which came in his 35th game as a Spartan. Walrod follows freshman Lee Reimer, who had his first collegiate tally in the semifinals last night against Colorado College ...