Friday night in Detroit, Michigan and Michigan State met to drop the puck in the final “Duel in the D” at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wolverines couldn’t have gotten off to worse start. They didn’t have the energy and the Spartans jumped on them 36 seconds into the game when Taro Hirose opened the scoring. The Spartans would add another on a 5-on-3 power play six minutes after the opening goal.
Michigan fought back netting two goals in the last five minutes of the first period. The first goal came from Jake Slaker on a long shot in transition that pulled the Spartan netminder Ed Minney way out of his crease; Slaker followed his shot and threw the rebound from an odd angle to beat Minney and get Michigan on the board.
Max Shuart would net the next goal to tie the game 2-2 on a soft rebound that he just flicked towards net from in close to the goaltender. For whatever reason Ed Minney couldn’t locate the puck and it dribbled right through his legs.
I don’t know what happened in the locker room but the Spartans came out to start the second with a new goaltender and started trapping in the neutral zone. It worked for the first half of the period with Chris Knudson breaking the tie, however, the shot totals started piling up in favor of the Wolverines and it wasn’t long until they got a goal from Nolan De Jong to make it 3-3.
De Jong, who scored twice in 111 career games had the magic hand tonight and he broke the tie for good on a blueline rip to make it 4-3.
With matching minors having the teams skate 4-on-4 the Spartans made a push. Lavigne stood tall and made a few tough saves to keep the Wolverines in the lead until an ugly turnover at the blueline and an unchecked Spartan in the slot knotted the score at 4-4.
Both teams came close to winning in the overtime but the goaltenders were solid. The teams would go to the shootout to decide the extra point with Piazza scoring the winner.
The season series ends tomorrow night at Yost.