Ice Hockey: Fit to be Tied

Andrew Cogliano fired the puck over the shoulder of Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg with 1:51 left on the clock, and the Michigan comeback was complete. After falling behind 3-0 early in the second frame, the No. 8-ranked Wolverines battled back to earn a point in the CCHA Standings with a 3-3 tie against No. 6 Michigan State Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Sitting squarely on the NCAA bubble, a loss to No. 6 Michigan State would have been extremely damaging to the Wolverines tournament chances following their 3-2 upset loss to Bowling Green State University on Friday night. Fortunately, after falling behind 3-0 through the first 28 minutes, the Wolverines woke up just in time to salvage a 3-3 tie with their intrastate rival.

"We put ourselves in a hole, but I thought our team had move conviction tonight," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "They stayed with the game plan; they continued to play hard. There was a sense of urgency; we put pucks to the net, and I thought our whole team just played better."

Down 3-2 with 1:51 left on the clock, sophomore center Andrew Cogliano fired the puck past the shoulder of Spartans goalie Jeff Lerg to complete the late comeback.

"We were doing a pretty good job on face-offs," Cogliano said. "Their center did all he could do to win the draw, but I actually won it. He dove out and hit it (the puck) back in the zone. He was covering me, so (Chris) Summers just took it around the corner, and I went to the net. He put the puck on me, and I just one-timed it."

Despite giving up the first seven shots, the Spartans went on top 1-0 just after the midpoint of the first period. A botched clearing attempt inside the Michigan zone set up the opportunity, and Spartan forward Justin Abdelkader chose to fire the puck on net instead of dishing for the two-on-one rush. His shot beat Michigan goalie Billy Sauer to the near side.

Former U-M commitment Bryan Lerg doubled the lead 1:04 later. Creating another turnover inside the U-M zone again, Ethan Graham threw a slap shot on net from the top of the right circle. Sauer kicked the shot away with his right pad, but Lerg pounced on the loose puck and lobbed it over Sauer's leg into the left side of the net to make it 2-0.

Michigan outshot the Spartans 18-11 through the first 20 minutes despite the two goal deficit.

The Wolverines went on their second power play of the night 6:49 into the second period, but it was the Spartans that took advantage of the special team's situation with their third goal of the night. Justin Abdelkader forced a turnover by the Michigan defense along the blue line, and, skating into the Michigan zone by himself, fired the puck along the ice into the right corner of the net to make it 3-0.

Then the Wolverines woke up.

Michigan answered Michigan State's goal less than a minute later. Scoring his second goal of the season, Chris Summers collected a rebound off of Steve Kampfer's shot from the top of the right circle and threw the puck past MSU goalie Jeff Lerg at 8:52.

1:41 into the final period, Summers made it a one goal game with his second goal of the game, this time flipping Cogliano's rebound over Lerg to make it 3-2.

"My role on the line was just to go to the net and put in any loose pucks," Summers said. "That's just what happened tonight."

Cogliano then tied it with 1:51 to go.

Despite out shooting the Spartans 6-0 in overtime, the Wolverines were unable to net the game winner with the best chance coming on a Kevin Porter shot that sailed over the open Spartans net. Michigan outshot MSU 57-22 in the 3-3 tie.

The No. 8-ranked Wolverines next return to the ice against the Lake Superior State Lakers on Friday in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

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