No. 1 Wolverines Tie Spartans 3-3

On Saturday, the No. 1-ranked Michigan hockey team played host to the intrastate rival Spartans of Michigan State. On the night, the Wolverines were outshot by the visiting squad 38-23, yet goals from Andrew Ebbett, Brandon Kaleniecki and Andrew Cogliano combined with strong play by goalie Billy Sauer kept the Wolverines in the contest on the way to a 3-3 tie.

When the Wolverines and Spartans meet on the ice, it's most likely going to go down to the wire. In 2004-5, the final two games between the intrastate rivals ended in a tie's. With the first of four clashes scheduled for Saturday, the Wolverines head coach Red Berenson expected no different neither before nor after the game.

"It was a hard fought game and we knew it would be," said Berenson. "We didn't get off to a good start. We turned the puck over and it cost us a goal, but our power play got us back out of the first period tied. It was a battle after that."

Early in the game, it was the Spartans that quieted the rowdy Yost crowd. In the first stanza, the road team outshot the Wolverines 14-4. Michigan State saw their first opportunity of the game only twenty-seconds into the contest. Colton Fretter flew into the Wolverines zone by himself, only to be stonewalled by Michigan goalie Billy Sauer.

Michigan would continue to have problems on the defensive side of the ice through the first period, eventually falling behind the Spartans 1-0 after Tim Kennedy stole the puck from Wolverines defenseman Tim Cook inside the Michigan zone.

Michigan State continued to pour on the pressure, but the Wolverines Billy Sauer was up to the challenge holding the Spartans off the scoreboard over the final 15 minutes of the period.

"You really can't look at it like you got scored on. You just have to say, 'Okay, this is a new game.' You just try and go as long as you can without getting scored on," said the Wolverines goalie when asked about the first period. "What really helped was getting the breakaway save nice and early. I got the first shot out of the way and I felt pretty comfortable after that. It's not fun getting scored on, but I knew we were going to come back."

At 13:01, Andrew Ebbett tied the game for the Wolverines. As with the Spartans goal, the Wolverines captain took advantage of a giveaway in the Michigan State zone. Ebbett stole the puck after an attempted clear from Spartan goalie Dominic Vicari and snapped the puck past the goalie.

Only 1:03 into the second period, the Wolverines' Brandon Kaleniecki scored his first goal of the season to put Michigan on top 2-1. On the power play, Mark Mitera found Kaleniecki at the bottom of the right circle with a cross-ice pass and Kaleniecki's shot beat Vicari to the near side.

It didn't take long, however, for the Spartans to tie the game. Only two minutes after Kaleniecki put the Wolverines on top, Tyler Howells beat Sauer high on the glove side to tie the game.

Later in the period, Andrew Cogliano scored his third goal of the season on another Wolverines power play sending the puck past Vicari from the right point.

However, as before, the Spartans had an answer. With 43 seconds remaining in the period, Tim Crowder slipped a puck past Sauer from just outside the crease to make it 3-3.

In the final period and overtime neither team was able to net the game winner.

Michigan continues play in the CCHA next weekend with two games at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.


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