This game started out the wrong way for the Wolverines. It was slow paced and controlled by stoppages and covers by both goaltenders with no good scoring chances coming from either team. Then the Spartans scored. It had all the makings of the low scoring, trapping and slot blocking affair that Michigan State loves to play.
Funny thing about that, though, is the conservative defensive shell becomes useless when the other team can outlet out of the defensive zone quickly and push down the ice with speed.
That's exactly what the Wolverines did.
Down 1-0 in the first period it took all of six minutes to clear out Munn Ice Arena. JT Compher started the scoring followed by Tony Calderone and Alex Kile, then Kyle Connor and Dexter Dancs would cap the first period off sending the Wolverines into the locker room leading 5-2.
Not many expected Tom Anastos to keep Jake Hildebrand in net to start the second period. No one expected him to stay in net after Zach Werenski scored Michigan's sixth goal and it turned into a humiliating charade when Kyle Connor scored his second goal to put Michigan up 7-2 and Hildebrand still wasn't relieved.
After Hildebrand was snuck off during a TV timeout JT Compher and Tyler Motte would add two more goals against backup Ed Minney ending the game by a score of 9-2. It was the Wolverines largest road win since a five goal effort in a 2007 game against Nebraska-Omaha.
It was a complete, dominating effort on the road that everyone on the team made a positive contribution to so it's difficult to choose but here are my three stars.
- The First Line was nothing short of spectacular. JT Compher, Tyler Motte and Kyle Connor combined to record a 5-7--13 line and could have had more. They were everywhere tonight.
Steve Racine didn't have a heavy workload but he handled what was thrown his way. Racine didn't give up too many second chance opportunities and both goals scored by MSU he couldn't have done much to stop.
- Zach Werenski carried over the excellent form that he displayed at World Juniors into tonight's game in East Lansing. He saw the ice much better at both ends and his play recognition was fantastic. Werenski has made his mark as a player who makes plays with the puck on his stick, but tonight he was making plays with his skates.