A Will to Win

After being embarrassed last night in Ann Arbor, Mich. 7-1, the Michigan State Spartans were looking to end their season series against Michigan on a good note. Before five minutes ticked away in the opening period, the No. 12 Wolverines already had a 2-0 lead over the Spartans.

Michigan’s Luke Moffatt buried a goal just 1:15 into the game and Cristoval Nieves added another just over three minutes later. It was not until midway through the first period when the Spartans found the back of the net on a goal by senior captain Greg Wolfe.

MSU built some momentum throughout the period, but gave up another goal late in the first and headed into the locker room down 3-1.

After giving up three goals on just 10 shots, starting sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand was pulled and senior Will Yanakeff got the call for the rest of the game.

Yanakeff has only seen a handful of games this season due to sickness and injury, but tonight was different for the senior goaltender. Yanakeff was perfect between the pipes, stopping all 24 shots he faced.

“A countless amount of times these guys saved my butt,” Yanakeff said. “I can’t thank these guys enough and I give them all the credit for this.”

LAte in the second period, the Spartans cut the lead to one after Lee Reimer tipped in a power play goal past Wolverine goaltender Steve Racine.

Being down just one goal to start the third period, MSU still had a lot of work on their hands against the Wolverines.

Men's Ice Hockey: #12 Michigan vs. MSUAt the 6:37 mark of the third period, sophomore forward Mike Ferrantino crashed the net and buried a rebound goal to tie the game at 3-3. Just over a minute later, freshman forward Mackenzie MacEachern scored his eighth goal of the season giving the Spartans a 4-3 lead.

Michigan pulled their goalie for an extra skater late in the third, but were unable to sneak one past Yanakeff and the Spartans held off the No. 12 Wolverines.

“I’m really happy for our team,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “How we fought back says a lot about the perseverance that they’ve played with all season.”

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David Defever is the host of Behind the Mask for Impact Sports.

Photos: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports