It was a good start and good finish, but sandwiched in-between was some awful hockey from the Spartans, as MSU lost to Michigan 4-3 in the only meeting at Yost Ice Arena this year.
MSU controlled the play early, but U-M's David Wohlberg beat Will Yanakeff on the short side 5:58 into the first to give the Wolverines the early lead. Before the U-M students could start their trademark goal cheer, Matt Crandell scored 14 seconds later on a sneaky shot from the point to tie the game up at one. Chris Brown scored on a drive to the net around Crandell to give U-M a 2-1 lead midway through the period. Yanakeff looked shaky early, but settled down and made some spectacular saves.
The Wolverines outshot the Spartans 11-10 in the second period, but dominated the frame, adding two goals to take a 4-1 lead after two periods and seemingly put the game out of reach.
However, the Spartan power play got MSU right back in the game. Matt Berry buried a powerplay goal 1:50 into the third just seconds after hitting the post. Not long after, Brent Darnell tapped in a puck that bounced off the back boards to cut U-M's lead to 4-3 with another powerplay goal. MSU continued to carry the play, but could not find the equalizer. The final 10 minutes or so were pretty evenly played and MSU could not tie it up in the end. MSU outshot U-M 14-3 in the period.
The loss snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for the Spartans, who will host the Wolverines at Munn Ice Arena tomorrow night. The puck drops at 6:35 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Big Ten Network. Tom Anastos still looks to get his first victory in the rivalry as head coach.
**Note: Ken Daniels said during the broadcast that Anastos and the Spartans are working on new uniforms for next season. That was interesting, as the current unis (of which I'm a fan) are in their second year after the university-wide rebranding.