Dec. 7, 1997

Spartan Hockey Drops 1-0 Heartbreaker to Bowling Green

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Despite out shooting Bowling Green, 42-27, No. 1 ranked Spartans hockey dropped a 1-0 nail biter to Bowling Green Sunday afternoon at Munn Ice Arena.

The loss broke Michigan State's eight-game winning streak and was the team's first loss since the Spartans dropped a game to Notre Dame back in the beginning of November. MSU pummeled Bowling Green goaltender Shawn Timm with 42 shots on net- the highest shot count for the Spartan's since the season-opener against Guelph.

"It's a frustrating loss, no doubt about it," said MSU head coach Ron Mason after the game. "It's a lot like our other loss, to Notre Dame, in that we put over 40 shots on goal but couldn't convert."

The two teams battled it out in front of a pair of freshman goaltenders, as BGSU's Timm and MSU's Joe Blackburn (MSU) snuffed shooters through the first two periods.

Bowling Green's Dennis Williams broke the scoreless tie halfway through the third period when he managed to sneak one past Blackburn and give the visiting Falcons a shocking 1-0 victory over top-ranked Michigan State. The win ended a nine-game losing streak for Bowling Green.

"I think our players played hard until the last couple of seconds, and we even had a chance right at the end. We had our chances, we just didn't bury them," said Mason. "I think Joe Blackburn did an outstanding job. He made the saves we needed to keep us in the game.

The loss ends Michigan State's eight-game winning streak and sends the Spartans into the Christmas break unhappy. MSU does not take to the ice again until the Great Lakes Invitational Dec. 27-28.

"It's never good to end on a loss. You don't forget about it, games like this stick in your mind," said Mason. "But maybe our players will respond, work hard at home and come back to play well at the Great Lakes Invitational."

The unexpected loss put Spartan hockey's record at 14-2-2 overall and 8-2-1 in CCHA play, which is still good for first place in the conference. The win was Bowling Green's first against Michigan State in six meetings (0-4-1).

The Spartans are now 9-1 on the year in one- or two-goal games. MSU still has not allowed more than two goals in the last nine games. Today marked the first time MSU has been shutout since March 1, 1997, also against Bowling Green (a scoreless tie) and the first shutout loss for MSU since Dec. 27, 1996, vs. Lake Superior (5-0).

The only two times this year that Michigan State's Mike York has been held without a point have been MSU's two losses. York will not play in the next two and possibly next four games while with the U.S. National Junior Team at the World Junior Championships.