clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Michigan hockey recap: The Wolverines split with the Spartans without Fantilli

The Wolverines earned a much needed split in the home-and-home series with their in-state rival.

Duel In The D: Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines (12-7-1) saw a six-game winning streak against the Spartans end on night one, but responded with an ALMOST shutout victory in the second game. Michigan was short-handed all weekend without all-universe freshman Adam Fantilli headed to participate in Team Canada World Junior activities, but mitigated his absence with several second-line players stepping up.

In the first game, Michigan struck first when Michigan State turned the puck over deep in its own end. Johnny Druskinis recovered the puck for the Wolverines and found a drifting TJ Hughes who beat stellar Spartan goalie Dylan St. Myr for a 1-0 lead.

Michigan State responded a few minutes later with a goal of its own to even things up entering the middle period. The Spartans lit the lamp again in the second when they caught an off-balance Erik Portillo to take a 2-1 lead.

The Wolverines had several chances to tie things up in the second and third period, but were unable to beat St. Myr. MSU 2, U-M 1.

The second game saw Michigan come out fast and aggressive. On the second power play of the first period, defenseman Luke Hughes fired a one-timer blast deflected (by hand) past St. Cyr by Dylan Duke, who was battling in classic Duker fashion in front of the net.

In the second period, the Wolverines lit the lamp again when birthday boy Keaton Pehrson found the other Hughes (TJ) flying back door and beat a sprawling St. Myr to give Michigan a 2-0 lead.

The Michigan defense played excellent throughout the period and the one fast break opportunity afforded to the Spartans, Michigan goalie Portillo slung a right pad out to shut the door.

In the final frame, Luke Hughes found the back of the net AGAIN, but the goal was waved off by the officials for a player being improperly in the goalie crease (narrator: he was not in the crease). Nonetheless, the Wolverines kept the pressure on throughout the third period and were seconds away from a shutout. In the final eight seconds of the game, on a power play, the Spartans beat Portillo on a rebound deflection to spoil the Swede’s dominance.

Portillo was shaky in the first game stopping 29-of-31 shots, but was lights out in the second game stopping 36-of-37 shots.

The Wolverines are off for the winter break now and will resume play in an exhibition game on Jan. 6 against the US NTDP under-18 team. Michigan will re-open competitive play on Jan. 13 against Ohio State at Yost.