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Michigan hockey sweeps rival Michigan State in a physical series

The Wolverines extended their winning streak to seven after the Duel in the D.

Dual in the D - Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines (20-9-1) are in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten after their sweep over rival Michigan State (15-15-2). The first game was a street fight disguised as a hockey game. Michigan and Michigan State combined for a whopping 105 penalty minutes (!) in a rumpus contest of mood swings and fisticuffs.

Michigan jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period, which featured a goal from Gavin Brindley and Mackie Samoskevich, and one goal and one assist from Adam Fantilli. It’s a good thing Fantilli left his mark early on because his weekend came to an end in the second period.

Things were already beginning to escalate between the two teams when a post whistle altercation took things over the top.

Fantilli and Nash Nienhuis were ejected and, per NCAA rules, were disqualified from the Duel in the D on Saturday. The Wolverines survived several comeback attempts and salted this one away when Brindley connected on an empty-netter (his third point of the night) to seal the 4-2 Michigan victory.

Goaltender Erik Portillo had his sloppiest performance in weeks, but still managed to stop 30-of-32 shots, including several timely big saves. Portillo had to stand tall without three of his primary defensemen in the lineup by the end of the game.

Jacob Truscott and Seamus Casey did not dress due to injury, and Ethan Edwards drew a questionable game misconduct call on a big hit in the second period. Also of note that got buried by the physical play was the debut of Michigan freshman Frank Nazar, who had been sidelined all season due to an injury. A welcomed sign for the injury-ravaged Wolverines.


1- Adam Fantilli (Gordie Howe hat trick: one goal, one assist, one fight)

2- Gavin Brindley (two goals)

3- Luke Hughes (two assists)

Entering the second game of the weekend, Michigan had to overcome the absences of Seamus Casey and Jacob Truscott again, and now Adam Fantilli as well. While Michigan had to play shorthanded, Michigan State had the pressure of winning to cling to their hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid.

It was a back and forth affair with each team capitalizing on turnovers, and finally — for the first time all weekend — the Spartans took the lead in the second period while on the power play. It was Michigan State’s first lead of the weekend and it lasted 30 seconds.

Michigan’s Luca Fantilli put a half-hearted shot on net that deflected past Dylan St. Cyr by Dylan Duke who was camping out in front of the net. Shortly after the equalizer, Michigan struck again.

The Spartans sloppily turned the puck over along the boards and Michigan’s Frankie Nazar — playing in his second game of the season — took possession, faked a pass as he approached the net and rocketed home a wrister for his first career collegiate goal.

Michigan held the lead and effectively played keep away until the final five minutes when the Spartans deflected home a shot from the point to force overtime.

It looked like things were taking a turn for the worse for Michigan when Duke had an untimely miscue and made up for it by committing a penalty. The Wolverines killed off the penalty and with less than a minute to go, they went to work.

In the waning seconds, Jay Kernan fired a shot on net that went wide and off the boards, but found the stick of Luke Hughes who fired home a game-winner with 0.6 seconds remaining.

Michigan extended its Big Ten best winning streak to seven games and is now in sole possession of second place in the conference. With two series remaining against Ohio State and Notre Dame, Michigan will look to lock up the coveted second position in the Big Ten Tournament and a top four overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.


1- Luke Hughes (OT game winner goal, one assist)

2- Frank Nazar (First goal of the season)

3- Mackie Samoskevich (three assists)