After an unexpected visit at the Great Lakes Invitational, Michigan State and Michigan butted heads once again in there annual showdown at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Thursday evening.
Two games, two neutral arenas, and now, two different winners. After being shutout by the Spartans in the consolation game at the GLI, the Michigan Wolverines evened the series with the Spartans.
For any sport, Michigan State versus Michigan is considered one of the biggest rivalries in all of college sports and Thursday night’s game proved that once again.
After one period of play, both teams exchanged quality scoring chances and both finished with 10 shots on goal. Shots were even at the end of the second period as well, but Michigan had a 1-0 lead after a goal by freshman JT Compher.
Trying to slide the puck backdoor, Compher’s pass was blocked and the puck landed back on the forward’s stick. Compher adjusted and put the puck past MSU’s Jake Hildebrand.
Heading into the third period, the Spartans were looking to capitalize on their scoring chances and responded six minutes later. Mike Ferrantino won the face-off in the Wolverine end and played the puck back to defenseman Rhett Holland who registered a shot on goal. MSU forward Joe Cox got a stick on the loose puck out front and chipped it on goal. The puck deflected off Ferrantino and slipped past Wolverine goaltender Zach Nagelvoort.
With the game knotted 1-1 late in the third, it seemed as if extra time was needed to find a winner.
Wolverine forward Phil Di Giuseppe had other plans.
With just over two minutes to play in the game, Di Giuseppe jammed at a loose puck in front of MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand and found the back of the net, giving his team the 2-1 lead and the win.
Despite the loss, Spartan head coach Tom Anastos thought his team competed hard, but stressed that capitalizing on opportunities was the difference.
“Our guys, I felt, competed real hard, both teams played real hard,” Anastos said. “We had quality scoring chances and we have to learn how to finish those.”
Michigan State will host Michigan at Munn Ice Arena tonight with the puck set to drop at 6:30 p.m.
David Defever is the host of Behind the Mask for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports