Call them the comeback kids.
Ever since Coach Anastos came to East Lansing, the Spartans have taken an attack attitude when it comes to their game plan. The other thing that Spartan fans have come to expect is 60 minutes of effort, no matter what the score was. This weekend it proved to be beneficial, as each night Niagara jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two periods of play, and each night MSU rallied.
The Spartans thoroughly dominated Niagara in the third period out-shooting them 20-4. It took three goals roughly 6 minutes apart from each other for Michigan State to rally for a 3-2 victory. Jake Chelios, Lee Reimer, and Matt Berry tallied the goals. Berry's goal came with a two man advantage and was the game winner. Will Yanakeff made 22 saves in the win.
The Spartans rallied twice, first from a 2-0 deficit on goals by Greg Wolfe and Matt DeBlouw that were 4:59 apart. Niagara retook the lead with 8:22 remaining in regulation on a mishandled puck behind the Spartan net. The puck bounced off of Will Yanakeff's stick right to Dan Kolenda in front of the net. Michigan State wasn't done yet though as Brent Darnell provided the late heroics scoring the game tying goal with 49 seconds remaining. The game ended in a 3-3 tie, as MSU out-shot Niagara 38-34. Will Yanakeff made 31 saves. The two teams decided to break the tie with a shoot-out (though the game officially goes down as a tie). Brent Darnell provided the only scoring as MSU won the shoot-out 1-0.
MSU is now 1-2-1 on the year. The Spartans head to LSSU next weekend to open up CCHA play.
Another full weekend of non-conference action is in the books, and there was a wide range of results.
Michigan defeated Bentley 6-3 in its only match-up this week. Bowling Green split with Colgate winning Friday and dropping Saturday's contest. Western Michigan swept Canisius at home this weekend. LSSU split with Bemijdi State, Alaska beat Merrimack and North Dakota, Ferris State won and tied against Mercyhurst, Northern Michigan split at UNO, Ohio State tied and lost to Quinnipiac, Miami defeated and tied Providence, and Notre Dame split a home series against UMD this weekend.
This upcoming week CCHA action gets underway across the board:
Ohio State at Bowling Green
Alaska at Ferris State
Michigan State at LSSU
Notre Dame at Northern Michigan
Miami at Michigan
Off: Western Michigan
CCHA Power Rankings:
1. Miami (3-0-1, LW: 2). Miami remains the only unbeaten CCHA team, but that streak will be tested this week at Michigan.
2. Notre Dame (3-1-0, LW: 1). The Irish had a tough home split this weekend - a road trip up north could help them get back on track.
3. Western Michigan (3-1-0, LW: 3). The Broncos held serve at home, and now they get some time off before a big early series against the Irish.
4. Michigan (2-1-0, LW: 4). A big CCHA test comes to town this weekend.
5. Northern Michigan (3-1-0, LW: 5). Northern can make a statement this weekend when the Irish come to visit.
6. Alaska (2-1-1, LW: 9). The Nanooks had a great weekend, but now they must leave to the lower 48 and show that they can win on the road.
7. Ferris State (1-1-2, LW: 6). The Bulldogs still have some question marks, and they face an improved Nanook team this weekend.
8. LSSU (2-2-0, LW: 7). The Lakers split another weekend series. Last year they got off to a good start in the CCHA with an early sweep of Michigan State, and now the Spartans are back in town.
9. Michigan State (1-2-1, LW: 10). Good news/bad news..... Good News: Michigan State showed some character in a win and tie against Niagara. Bad News: The Spartans have yet to tally a goal before the third period this season.
10. Ohio State (1-2-1, LW: 9). The Buckeyes are looking to string some good weekends together.
11. Bowling Green (1-3-1, LW: 11). Now that all the CCHA teams have victories, the Falcons want to show the league that they will be a force this year.
Big Ten Power Rankings
1. Minnesota (3-1-0, LW: 1). A weekend split against Michigan Tech raised some eyebrows.
2. Michigan (2-1-0, LW: 2). Michigan looks to build on a two game winning streak.
3. Michigan State (1-2-1, LW: 5). Can the Spartans do it on the road?
4. Wisconsin (0-2-0, LW: 4). Bucky stays put after an off week.
5. Penn State (2-2-0, LW: 6). Not sure what to make of PSU right now, a loss at D-III Buffalo State followed by a road win at RIT. RIT beat Michigan at Yost this year.
6. Ohio State (1-2-1, LW: 3). Ohio State remains a sleeping giant.