Michigan State did settle down and put together a decent period on the road getting a few chances, but nothing that ended up behind Miami goalie Connor Knapp. The shots in the opening period were 13-11 in favor of Miami.
Then came the second period - what might have been the longest period of the season for MSU. Miami tallied four goals on 13 shots to blow the game wide open. Miami added a power play goal in the final period. Jimmy Mullin had a huge game scoring twice and adding two assists. Reilly Smith & Austin Czarnik added two assists of their own.
Miami out-shot MSU 39-27 for the game. Miami was 1-4 on the power play, and Michigan State was 0-6. Yanakeff stopped 21 of 26 shots, and Drew Palmisano came out in the final period stopping 12 of 13 shots.
Game Two is tonight at 7:05 pm.
Scary Stat Number One:
This game marked the 9th straight CCHA play-off defeat for Michigan State. The last time Michigan State won a CCHA play-off game was all the way back on March 14, 2008. That was the first game of the CCHA quarterfinals against Northern Michigan. Northern went on to win the series in three games.
Scary Stat Number Two:
There is a monster in goal, and it's not just because he stands 6-6. Last night's shutout marked the second straight shutout for Miami against Michigan State and for Connor Knapp. Michigan State now has not scored on Connor Knapp since the 18:00 mark of the first period in the first game of the weekend series in January. That means MSU now has a 162 minute (exactly) scoreless streak against Miami and Connor Knapp.
Is now the time to panic for Spartan fans?
Not yet. The good news is today is a new day. If Michigan State wins tonight, they will force the decisive third game tomorrow night. They also will help keep their NCAA hopes off of life support (MSU currently is ranked 14th in the PairWise). The question now will become who starts in goal tonight, and where Yanakeff's confidence level is. Also, it will absolutely be huge for Michigan State to score the first goal and end that long scoreless streak.
Around the CCHA:
There were some exciting games around the CCHA last night. Bowling Green stunned Ferris State in overtime 3-2. The Falcons tied the game at two with inside 3 minutes to go in regulation. The game winner was tallied 17:18 in the first overtime. Ferris State out-shot BGSU 56-34.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan needed double overtime to defeat Notre Dame 2-1. The Irish tied the game up with 8:37 to go in regulation. Michigan's Chris Brown scored 3:11 into the second overtime period.
Western Michigan survived a tough scare against LSSU 4-2. The Lakers pulled within one with 4:24 to go in regulation, but they could not get the equalizer. and Western added an empty netter with just seconds to go in the game.
The PairWise & CCHA
T-3. Ferris State
14. Michigan State
15. Western Michigan
16. Northern Michigan
18. Notre Dame
The Spartans may not be able to survive a sweep - so tonight's game is critical to extend the season not only for the obvious CCHA tournament but for the NCAA tournament as well.