Michigan hockey team blows two-goal lead in 3-2 loss at Michigan State
Updated 11:24 p.m.
EAST LANSING -- Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick hadn't given up three goals in a game since Dec. 10. The Michigan hockey team hadn't given up three unanswered goals since Dec. 2.
Both happened on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena as Michigan State came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Wolverines, 3-2.
After killing off 26 straight penalties, including three in the first two periods on Friday, Michigan (17-10-4, 11-8-4-1 CCHA) surrendered two power play goals in the first 4:07 of the third period as a one-goal lead turned into a one-goal deficit in the blink of an eye.
"You can’t keep killing penalties, against any team," said Michigan coach Red Berenson. "We got off the hook in the first two periods, then we take two more penalties. ... Cost us the game."
Michigan State defenseman Torey Krug -- coming off a week in which he was named CCHA offensive player of the week -- made a strong bid to make it two in a row, scoring the Spartans' first two goals and assisting on Matt Berry's game winner.
Krug was dangerous every time he touched the puck, with three of his six shots resulting in goals.
"I think our forwards did a great job of controlling the puck down low, then once the puck finally did come up to the points, we had all the time in the world," Krug said.
For all of Krug's and the Spartans' success late, the first two period were filled with missed opportunities, like when Brett Perlini couldn't put a stick on a Krug pass in front of a wide open Michigan net during a first period power play after goaltender Shawn Hunwick was beat on the backdoor.
"You get a little bit frustrated, to say otherwise would be lying to you," Krug said of the early missed chances. "Sitting on the bench when we’re down two-nothing, not a head on the bench went down. So we stuck with the process, did what the coaches asked us, then we were able to pop a couple in and gain some momentum."
The Wolverines would stretch their streak of successful penalty kills to 26 before Krug ended it with a power play goal to tie the score at 2-2 at the beginning of the third period. Krug scored on a slap shot from the left point to put Michigan State (16-11-4, 11-9-3-2) on the board in the second period.
"I thought we were playing a decent game at the end of two periods, and then you know, I couldn’t see the penalties, but they were a huge part of game," Berenson said.
"You can’t play shorthanded, especially in the third period, up a goal trying to hold a lead. It’s just unacceptable," said Michigan forward A.J. Treais, who opened the scoring for Michigan 4:28 into the second period, putting a Phil Di Giuseppe centering pass over Will Yanakeff's blocker on a two-on-one.
"The first five minutes of any period (are important), really, especially when it’s the third period," Treais said. You’re up a goal and all of a sudden you don’t even know what hit you.
The teams are now tied for third place in the CCHA standings heading into Saturday night's series finale at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Michigan will get a boost in its lineup with the return of co-leading scorer Chris Brown, who was serving a suspension Friday night for a fight from last weekend.
Prior to Friday, Brown or his linemates, David Wohlberg and Alex Guptill, hadn't all been held without a point in eight straight games.
"(Brown) brings the noise, he’s physical, he scores goals. How can you not miss someone like that?" Treais said.
"We'll bounce back," said Berenson. "Our good players have to play better and we better shut some of their guys down."
Yankeff finished with 28 saves and Hunwick with 27.
Of note: Kevin Lynch scored his third goal and fifth point in four games against Michigan State this season to put Michigan up 2-0 in the second. Half of his points this season have come against the Spartans. ... Michigan State's penalty kill unit, which is second best in the nation, killed three penalties on Friday and currently has 19-game streak going.