Spartans Rally for 6-3 Victory
MSU explodes in three-goal second, rallies from two-goal deficit twice
Feb. 3, 2012
Columbus, Ohio - All-America candidate Torey Krug and classmate Anthony Hayes each finished with three points, and MSU had six different goal scorers as the Spartans rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to down Ohio State 6-3 on Friday evening. The win snapped a two-game losing skid and three-game winless streak. The Spartans are now 14-11-4, 9-9-3-2 in CCHA play.
The Spartans, who had not won a road CCHA game since Nov. 18 at Northern Michigan, was in a 2-0 hole before the game was five minutes old and trailed 3-1 after twenty minutes. However, a three-goal second period and a big goal with about six minutes remaining in the third period helped the Spartans get back on the winning side in CCHA play, as MSU had gone 0-2-1 in its last three conference games.
Michigan State trailed just 58 seconds into the contest. Mike Merrifield broke free for a one-on-one chance with Hjelle, which was saved, and action turned the other way. The Buckeyes got the shot on net from Alex Lippencott, who was set up by Chris Crane and Devon Krough for the sophomore's fifth goal of the season. The Buckeyes extended their lead to two at 4:19, as Max McCormick tipped a Brandon Martell shot from the bottom of the right hash marks.
The Spartans pulled within a goal at 14:26. A nifty pass by Brent Darnell sent Dean Chelios and Tanner Sorenson into the offensive zone on a two-on-one, and Chelios' shot went off Hjelle's leg pad and fluttered past the goalie for the junior's sixth goal of the season.
MSU came out more focused and cohesive in the second period, and managed to turn the two-goal deficit into a 4-3 lead headed into the dressing room for the second intermission. At 10:26, Anthony Hayes backhanded a pass from the left hash marks out to AJ Sturges at the left point, and the blueliner's blast was saved by Hjelle, but he bobbled it and it slid past him and over the goal line for Sturges' first goal of the season. Torey Krug got his seventh goal of the season at 15:16, an unassisted power-play marker. A clearing attempt by the OSU defender hit Krug in the neck, and dropped to his feet in the right circle for an easy one-timer. Matt Crandell's wrister from the left point with 56 seconds remaining in the period fluttered over Hjelle's shoulder as it found its way through traffic. The three-goal second period for the Spartans chased Hjelle, and Cal Heeter came out for the final frame.
In the third period- an Achilles heel for the Spartans in the last two games, where MSU allowed third-period winners in each contest at Ferris - the team locked down. MSU got its fifth tally at 14:15 from Chris Forfar, who redirected a loose puck in front after Heeter saved Krug's shot from the left point. An empty net tally for Matt Berry was set up by Brett Perlini at 18:02 for the final margin. The Spartans put 15 shots on net in the period, refusing to let a close game slip away as they had in recent contests.
After a tough opening period, Yanakeff settled in for a pair of solid frames, and finished his night with 41 saves, his third game this season with 40+ saves. Hjelle had 15 saves in the first two periods, and Heeter made 13 in the final period as the Spartans refused to take their foot off the gas.
The teams will meet for the fourth and final time this regular season on Saturday evening. Gametime is 7:05 p.m.
NOTES:MSU scored six goals in the contest, tying the most it's had in a game this season. The Spartans had a 6-3 win over Robert Morris on Oct. 29 ... Three goals by the Buckeyes tied the most goals MSU has allowed in the first period this season. The Spartans also allowed three to Northern Michigan on January 13, an eventual 5-5 tie ... Ohio State's 19 first-period shots is the most surrendered in the opening frame this season by the Spartans ... MSU's three goals in the second period was the most it has scored in the middle frame this season ... MSU stayed in eighth place with 32 points; Western Michigan leads the CCHA with 39 ... AJ Sturges' goal in the second period was his first of the season, and second of his career. His first goal came on Nov. 10, 2007 - a stretch of 175 Michigan State games between his two collegiate tallies ... Anthony Hayes had his first career multiple-point game of the season ... Torey Krug was named the game's first star with a one-goal, two -assist performance ... Brock Shelgren blocked seven shots, the same number of blocked shots recorded by the entire Buckeye team. The Spartans blocked 21 on the night ... The Spartan penalty kill got back on track, extinguishing all six chances against. MSU had its second extra-man tally in three games after going seven contests without a power play goal ...