DETROIT — With the score knotted up at 4-4 at the end of regulation, the Michigan hockey team found itself in a five-minute overtime period in its first battle of the season against in-state rival Michigan State on Friday. It would take only one goal to determine the winner of the first of five meetings between the two foes this season.

That determining goal came from junior forward Tony Calderone.

Assisted by junior forward Dexter Dancs, Calderone was able to clean up a loose puck and put it in the back of the net with 2:02 remaining in the overtime period. With his tenth goal of the season, Calderone helped Michigan stun the Spartans, 5-4.

The Wolverines (1-3-0 Big Ten, 8-9-1 overall) took home a third-place finish in the 52nd annual Great Lakes Invitational with their victory over Michign State (0-2-0, 4-11-1), after a 2-0 loss to Michigan Tech on Thursday.

“This was a learning experience,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “Sometimes we leave here with a lot of confidence, and I think we’re going to leave (the Great Lakes Invitational) with some resolve and some awareness. We can look at this and say, ‘These were the areas we’ve got to fix.’ If you’ve got a car with a flat tire and you won’t admit it, you’re not going to get very far. We’re going to stop and fix the flat.

“It’s not as easy as that, but that’s what we’re going to take from this tournament.”

Four of the game’s nine goals were scored in the first period, three of which came from the Wolverines. The first came 3:57 into the game, when sophomore forward Cooper Marody attempted a shot that landed behind Michigan State goaltender John Lethemon. Calderone was there to clean it up, though, opening the scoring.

Michigan’s second goal came from freshman forward Will Lockwood, who managed to score a clean, unassisted wrister just two minutes later. The goal marked his seventh of the season and was his first since November 11th, when he tallied a goal against Boston University. It also put Lockwood at second for most goals scored, falling only behind Calderone, who has 10.

For a few minutes afterward, the Wolverines were able to keep the Spartans contained without allowing any quality chances. That was until Michigan State defenseman Carson Gatt corralled the puck on the Spartans’ end and send it down the ice to forward Logan Lamdin. Lambdin shot the puck into the net from the left faceoff dot and whittled Michigan’s two-goal lead down to one.

Senior forward Alex Kile tacked on the final goal of the period on an assist from Marody and freshman forward James Sanchez. Kile pushed the puck through a crowd of players in front of Lethemon for the Wolverines’ third goal.

The second period started with 4-on-4 play, as senior defenseman Kevin Lohan and Michigan State’s Jerad Rosburg both earned a trip to the penalty box for roughing after the whistle at the end of the first. This play decreased to 3-on-3 when junior forward Cutler Martin and Spartan forward Patrick Khodorenko were both called for tripping.

Despite the calls, though, both teams killed off the penalties without allowing any goals. 

Senior goaltender Zach Nagelvoort made critical saves throughout the period, one of which was when Spartan forward Connor Wood brought the puck into a dangerously close position in Michigan’s zone. Nagelvoort deterred the shot, and managed another quick save soon thereafter to maintain the Wolverines’ lead.

Kile was the only player on either team to find the net in the second period, with 6:41 left on the clock. While standing near Michigan State’s net, junior defenseman Sam Piazza generated a shot, and Kile tipped the puck into the net while it was still in the air.

This gave Michigan a three-goal lead heading into the third period, but it took Spartan forward Mason Appleton just seven seconds to decrease the lead to two. After corralling the puck off the initial faceoff, Appleton scored on a breakaway to push the score to 4-2.

At the 14:50 mark, Gatt left the Wolverines clinging to a one-goal lead after scoring from a wrister.

“There’s a sense of confidence when you’re up 4-1, but Michigan State is a team that loves playing against us and they’re obviously not going to give up, especially in an enviroment like this, you can never count them out,” Kile said. “It was a good start for us, getting to 4-1, but it was a really bad third period for us, letting them get three straight. Moving forward, that can’t happen.”

In an attempt to strengthen his team’s lead, Calderone took the puck down to Michigan State’s net and passed it to freshman forward Jake Slaker at the last moment in an desperate attempt to get the puck past Lethemon, but it was no good.

In the final seconds of the period, Michigan State forward JT Stenglein skated through a crowded Michigan defense in front of the net to finish off a loose puck and score the tying goal.

But Calderone took advantage of the overtime period to put the Wolverines on top in this matchup of the in-state rivals. 

“Even though they took it to overtime, it’s a good learning lesson for our team,” Marody said. “There’s going to be times in the future when we’re going to have leads going into the third period, and we learned our lesson that the other team is going to come hard and they might score a couple of goals, but we finished hard at the end of the game. It was a good lesson.”

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