Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Know Thy Playoff Enemy: Miami - A Look Back

The Michigan State Spartans head down to southern Ohio this weekend to take on the CCHA Champion Miami Red Hawks in the CCHA Quarterfinal best of three series. This won't be the first time the teams have met in the play-offs, as they met as recently as last year. Here is a quick look at their playoff history:

1985 CCHA First Round (Total Goal Series) - #1 Michigan State vs. #4 Miami

The two teams first met in the playoffs all the way back in 1985. It was the final year of a three round tournament format, in which the first round was total goals, and the last two rounds were single elimination. 1986 saw the best of three format introduced in the first round.

The Spartans squeaked out a 4-3 victory on the first night, but the team that most MSU fans will say was the greatest team to ever play in East Lansing ended up dominating the second night 7-1 for a total goal series win 11-4.

Sadly the 1985 season did not end the way pretty much every Spartan fan expected. Providence came into Munn and stunned the Spartans with a 6-5 total goal series victory. 

1992 CCHA Consolation Game (Joe Louis Arena) - #3 Michigan State vs. #5 Miami

Michigan State pushed its playoff record against Miami to 3-0 with an 8-5 victory in the 3rd place game at Joe Louis Arena. Michigan State would transform a late season charge into a Frozen Four appearance that ended in the Frozen Four with a 4-2 loss to CCHA rival LSSU. 

1997 CCHA Semi-Finals (Joe Louis Arena) - #2 Miami vs. #3 Michigan State

Michigan State and Miami met in the semi-finals, and the Spartans topped the Red Hawks in a 4-3 overtime thriller. The Spartans would move on to lose to arch-rival Michigan in the CCHA championship game.

2000 CCHA First Round - #2 Michigan State vs. #9 Miami

Game 1 Box Score

The Spartans dominated the game early on building a 6-0 lead before Miami could finally get one past Ryan Miller. Miami did end up scoring the last two goals of the game, but it wasn't enough to really make the Spartans worry. Michigan State's power play was key going 3 for 5 in the game.

Game 2 Box Score

Miami played better, but it wasn't enough as the Spartans broke the game open late in the first period. Andrew Hutchinson scored a backbreaking goal at the 19:59 mark to give Michigan State a 3-1 lead, and with Ryan Miller in net, that was more than enough for the Spartans. Michigan State eventually won 5-1 to sweep the series and push their playoff record against Miami to 6-0 all-time.

The Spartans would go on to dominate the tournament in Detroit beating Notre Dame 4-0 and UNO 6-0 to win the tournament championship. Boston College would beat the Spartans in the NCAA tournament to end Michigan State's season.

2005 CCHA Tournament First Round - #6 Michigan State vs. #7 Miami

Game 1 Box Score  // Game 1 Recap

Michigan State's Chad Hontvet tallied a pair of power play goals in the second period to rally Michigan State past Miami. Michigan State fell behind 1-0 on a power play goal by Nathan Davis, but the two goals in the middle stanza proved to be the difference as MSU won 2-1. Dominic Vicari made 25 saves for MSU.

Game 2 Box Score // Game 2 Recap

Trailing 4-2 in the 3rd period with just over 7 minutes to go, it looked like game three was going to be necessary, and it looked like Miami was going to earn its first playoff win over Michigan State. The Spartans had other ideas as Tom Goebel and Colton Fretter tallied goals just 1:29 apart to force overtime. Then 7:45 into the extra session, Colton Fretter scored again on the power play to give Michigan State a thrilling 5-4 overtime win.

Michigan State would go on and beat UNO in the quarterfinals before dropping a semi-final game against Ohio State and the consolation game against Alaska.

2006 CCHA Championship - #1 Miami vs. #2 Michigan State

Box Score // Game Recap

Michigan State continued its playoff dominance (now at 9-0) over Miami with a hard fought and spirited 2-1 victory over Miami to win the Mason Cup and CCHA Tournament. This marks the last time Michigan State won the tournament, and it allowed MSU to earn a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Spartans didn't get to the Frozen Four though as Maine edged MSU in the regional championship game of the NCAA tournament.David Booth scored the game winning goal in this game at the 5:52 mark of the second period. Jeff Lerg made 22 saves in the win.

2012 CCHA Quarterfinals - #4 Miami vs. #5 Michigan State

Game 1 Box Score // Game 1 Recap

Miami finally earned its first playoff victory against Michigan State, and they did so in dominating fashion. It only took 12 seconds for the Spartans to get on the board, but the first period ended 1-0. Miami then used a four goal outburst in the second period to make the game not-so-close. Miami would go on to win 6-0. This was the first post season game for Coach Tom Anastos as the head coach of Michigan State.

Game 2 Box Score // Game 2 Recap

Miami finished off Michigan State pretty quickly with a 4-1 win in game two. The Spartans hung tougher in the first period coming out of it tied at 1 (Krug with the goal). However, the second period doomed the Spartans again with three goals less the four minutes apart. Michigan State's season would end two weeks later in the NCAA tournament - its first tournament bid since 2008.

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