We knew this kind of game had to come. The Wolverines were scoring so many goals at a pace that couldn't possibility be sustained; they were due for a defensive battle and that's what they got tonight.
The teams traded goals in the 1st period with the Spartans' Haag getting on the board and Larkin answering on a power play. From there it was Michigan State's brand of hockey that controlled the game and it worked to perfection.
The Spartans slowed the pace, trapped the neutral zone, blocked shots and got great goaltending from Jake Hildebrand, who stopped 29 shots and did his part killing five Michigan power plays.
In the end the Michigan State game plan did exactly what it was supposed to do against a speed team like Michigan; their trap disconnected the Wolverine's zone entry and the wheels fell off Michigan's transition game. The Spartans hung around long enough for a chance to win the game and a redirect goal off a stick and a body found the net for the game winner. The Wolverines had a late chance to tie the game on a power play but blocked shots were the difference again and the Spartans were winners.
There are positives to take away from this game. Michigan losing a neutral site game doesn't kill their place in the RPI rankings, in fact as of now they've only dropped 1 spot. The Wolverines got a solid game from Zach Nagelvoort stopping 26 shots, which was sorely needed and a great building block going forward.
After allowing 20 goals in their last six games. I won't lose sleep over a one goal loss.
Up Next: The rematch at the Hockey City Classic in Chicago next Saturday.