DETROIT – Michigan tied Michigan State 3-3 at Joe Louis Arena tonight. But to simply call the game a tie wouldn’t tell the whole story.
Down 3-0 eight minutes into the second period, the Wolverines were on the path toward a two-loss weekend for the first time in two months.
But the Wolverines overcame their first three-goal deficit since Dec. 2004 to tie the rival Spartans.
It was the team’s first tie of the season.
Michigan evened the game on a magnificent goal by sophomore Andrew Cogliano, who shot the puck between a defender’s legs, to knot the game with just under two minutes remaining.
Freshman Chris Summers gathered the puck behind the net to the goalie’s stick side and flipped the pass to the middle of the ice, where Cogliano unleashed the wrist shot past Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg’s glove side.
The Wolverines sustained constant pressure on Lerg all night, firing a season-high 57 shots on the Spartan netminder.
Michigan (16-7-1 CCHA, 21-10-1 overall) had a golden opportunity to win the game a little over a minute into the extra period. Alternate captain T.J. Hensick wrapped around the net and drew the attention of three Spartan defenders. He passed it across the crease to linemate Kevin Porter, who had an open look on net but the shot sailed too high.
Playing in his second game as a forward in college, Summers showed that he might have found his comfort zone. The Milan native scored Michigan’s first two goals of the night to jumpstart the comeback.
His first tally came on the power play about nine minutes into the second period. Michigan State (14-6-3 CCHA, 18-8-3 overall) tried to clear the puck with just a few second remaining on the penalty. Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer intercepted the clearing attempt near the blue line and fired a slapshot on net. The rebound bounced to a waiting Summers, who put it in the open goal.
He cut the margin to one nearly two minutes into the third period when he knocked in another rebound.
Cogliano sliced through the defense and put on a shot on net, but Lerg blocked it. Summers skated in front of the net and poked the rebound past the goalie.
Michigan State jumped on top with Justin Abdelakder’s power-play goal 12 minutes into the game. Michigan goalie Billy Sauer came out of the net to play the puck, and Abdelkader ran into him. Abdelkader got the puck in front of the net and scored before Sauer could return to his position.
The Spartans went up two just a minute later when junior Bryan Lerg picked up a rebound in the left face off circle and fired a wrist shot and over Sauer’s blocker. Sauer stopped 19 of the 22 shots he faced tonight.
Michigan State added a short-handed goal eight minutes in to the second period to increase the margin before Michigan’s comeback. Abdelkader got free along the right boards for a breakaway goal.
The Wolverines entered the weekend tied with Western Michigan and Canisius for the lead in short-handed goals allowed with 10.
It was just a minute later that Michigan beat Lerg for the first time in the game and mounted its impressive comeback.
– For full coverage of the weekend’s action, check out the Daily’s SportsMonday edition.