The B1G Michigan rivalry between the Spartans (4-10-1) and Wolverines (7-9-1) took place for a third-place spot on day two at the Great Lakes Invitational. This is only the fifth time the teams are meeting for a third-place game in the tournament.
With 308 games total, Michigan has played more games against Michigan State than any other team in college hockey.
The Wolverines were the champions of the GLI last year, and were in search of their 58th win in their 94th GLI competition in the programs history.
Coming off of a loss last night to Michigan Tech, they are determined to still make a mark at the GLI. However, with a record of 57-35-1 all-time in the tournament, vowing for third place wasn’t quite what they were hoping for.
Michigan State fell to Western Michigan yesterday, solely from taking too many penalties and allowing for several shorthanded goals. The Wolverines take full advantage of their first power play against the Spartans, with a quick goal from Tony Calderone at 3:57. Lockwood rips one in just minutes later, this time at even strength, giving them a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Michigan State begins to find their rhythm as Carson Gatt finds Logan Lambdin alone toward Nagelvoort and Lambdin swings one into the upper 90 corner of the net, barely passing the goaltender’s helmet.
This has been a high-scoring game among the Wolverines and Spartans with already four goals in the first period as the Wolverine’s Alex Kile makes it three for Michigan. The amount of scoring could possibly be because of the goaltending switches made. Freshman goaltender John Lethemon is placed in the net to start the game for the Spartans, Minney fully dressed from the bench. The Wolverines also switched goalies from yesterday’s game, giving senior Zach Nagelvoort a chance to start over freshman Hayden Lavigne.
The Spartans do seem to have more focus as the puck remains in the Wolverines end for the majority of the game, shots being fired frequently, just missing the net several times.
If anything kept Michigan ahead, it was its defense. The Spartans had several scoring opportunities, with several power plays, far more than the Wolverines, but could not get the puck past the defenders and into the goaltender zone. Nolan DeJong, Kevin Lohan, and Nicholas Boka have played strong and reliable roles for the Wolverines this game.
The Spartans start off the third period strong with a winning face-off that allows Osburn to find Mason Appleton deep in the Wolverine zone, and with a quick shot from Appleton just seven seconds in, the Spartans are back in the game.
The Spartans are on a roll; just a few minutes later, Villiam Haag passes it off to Connor Wood who finds Garson Gatt at the top of the box. Gatt rips one in past Nagelvoort, giving the Spartans a tighter trail at 4-3.
Michigan State has seemingly been outplaying the Wolverines the entire game; but passes need to connect better in the Wolverine’s zone if they want a chance at more scoring. Fortunately for Michigan State, Lethemon improves as the game goes on and turns into a brick wall in the third, stopping every shot that comes his way.
With just two minutes to go in the third, Michigan State’s Thomas Ebbing finds JT Stenglein and slots him a quick pass as Stenglein fires a shot past Nagelvoort, making it 4-4 for the remaining two minutes of the game.
Throughout overtime, the puck is equally possessed by both teams, Michigan attempting to make a comeback for being outplayed the entire third period. When it looks like a shootout will be held, Wolverine’s Calderone finds his way past Lethemon for his second goal of the game, securing the third place spot for Michigan with a final score of 5-4.