- Patrick Barron/Daily
By Michael Laurila, Daily Sports Editor
Published December 30, 2012
DETROIT— All it took was 47 seconds.
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The Michigan hockey team, which trailed 2-1 for the majority of the Great Lakes Invitational consolation game against Michigan State, notched two goals in that amount of time during Sunday’s third period.
Propelled by the burst of offense, the Wolverines, who suffered a tough 4-0 loss to Michigan Tech a day earlier, defeated the Spartans 5-2 at Joe Louis Arena.
“There’s nothing like a boost of confidence like scoring a goal,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “That first goal was huge.”
Michigan (4-7-2 CCHA, 6-10-2 overall) was playing in its first GLI consolation game since 2009. And the consolation match marked the first time since 1981 that both the Wolverines and the Spartans (4-8-1, 5-10-3) failed to make the finals.
After Michigan wasted early opportunities during Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Michigan Tech, it took the Wolverines just four minutes and 20 seconds to get on the scoreboard Sunday. Senior defenseman Lee Moffie received a perfect pass from senior forward A.J. Treais to set up his second goal of the year.
Freshman forward Daniel Milne tallied the game’s first penalty less than one minute after the early goal, but the Wolverines were able to successfully kill the power play. The opening period remained rather lackluster until 7:21 remaining, when junior defenseman Kevin Clare was hit behind the net and fell to the ice, leaving Michigan State forward Tanner Sorenson for an easy wrap-around goal.
With 4:19 left in the frame, and both teams with a man in the penalty box, the Spartans got on the board again giving them a one-goal lead. Beside the first couple of minutes of the game, the Spartans controlled the puck deep in the Wolverines zone for most of the period.
“I thought our team came ready to play but then State took over the game and got the goals they needed,” Berenson said. “The game came down to the third period, and I liked our play in the third period. We haven’t had much puck luck around the net in recent weeks, and it was good to see the puck go in.”
Defensive-zone miscues plagued Michigan during Saturday’s loss, and the absence of freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba, who is currently playing for the United States at the U-18 Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, didn’t help.
The first-period offensive woes for Michigan continued into the second frame. The Wolverines’ best chance came when freshman forward Cristoval “Boo” Nieves snuck past the Spartan defense for a breakaway, but was stymied by Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand. Going into the second intermission the Spartans held the momentum and seemed to be controlling the game.
And then the offense woke up.
One minute and 29 seconds into the third period, freshman forward Andrew Copp received a beautiful pass from sophomore forward Zach Hyman and buried his second goal of the year to tie the game at two apiece. A Spartan penalty almost immediately followed, and with Michigan on the power play, senior forward Kevin Lynch scored a rebound goal after Treais’ shot ricocheted off of both posts.
“Throughout the game I decided to be a little more physical,” Copp said. “I haven’t been using my size like I should, and in the end, I got one through that ended up going in and helped jump start the team.”
Sophomore forward Phil Di Giuseppe scored another goal midway through the third period, all but sealing the victory and the third-place finish overall. The victory was blemished slightly when Treais was ejected with less than three minutes remaining for a hit to the head. On the power play, the Spartans pulled Hildebrand and carried a six-on-four advantage, but Hyman was able to notch an empty net goal with 1:54 remaining.
One area from which the Wolverines received unexpected production was the play of junior goaltender Adam Janecyk. The performance of freshmen Steve Racine and Jared Rutledge between the pipes has been a question mark for the majority of the season, and Janecyk — making his third consecutive start — has been more consistent netminder.
“It was nice to see us a get some goals for our goalie,” Berenson said. “I think they had 30 shots in the first two periods alone. Finally we got some shots and got some goals and Janecyk hung in there. It wasn’t an easy game for a goalie. He had a lot of work the first two periods.”