Sophomore T.J. Hensick scored late in the first period and midway through the second period to rally Michigan to a 5-4 win and weekend sweep of Michigan State on Saturday night in Ann Arbor.
The sweep of the Spartans is the first for the Maize and Blue since Feb. 21-22, 1992.
Hensick also assisted on Milan Gajic's power-play goal early in the second period. But his coast-to-coast goal at 16:14 of the first period was epic.
"Coach has been preaching pressure in the defensive zone and I was actually down low, beneath the goal line, and that's where the play started," Hensick explained. "We only had four guys, our defense was changing, I had the middle lane going so I just went up the middle and it was a two-on-two with me and Chad (Kolarik) and he was at the blue line, and I didn't think I could give it to him so I thought, screw it. Then we criss-crossed, and I think the D got mixed up a bit, and I just took it to the net. I thought Dom was going to poke-check me but he didn't, so I just went to the backside of the net."
Brandon Kaleniecki and captain Eric Nystrom also scored for the Wolverines (9-2-1, 7-1-0 CCHA), who got a 20-save performance from goaltender Al Montoya.
"There were too many chances, too many mistakes but it was classic college hockey," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. "I can't tell you it was the best, it wasn't a coaches' game, it wasn't a goalies' game, it was a players' game. We got fine after our disastrous first period, we realized we were only down one goal, it was a one-goal game. We rebounded with a much better second period and then started to play better as a team than we had in the first period."
MSU captain Jim Slater scored 30 seconds into the game before Kaleniecki and Gajic made it 2-1 just over five minutes in. Drew Miller then scored twice for the Spartans followed by Hensick's beauty and a power-play tally by Michigan State's Ash Goldie. Hensick and Nystrom scored in the second to put the game away.
Dominic Vicari stopped 26 shots for the Spartans (5-6-1, 3-5-0 CCHA).
"It's a tough loss," said MSU head coach Rick Comley. "I thought we played really, really hard. We fought hard. We played a great first period. Their team speed is so tough to defend against all the time. They got a couple of goals in the second. We would like to have a few of those back. Then, we started to try almost too hard and started to turn the puck over once again. If you shrink the rink with their speed, Michigan can really hurt you."
Both teams will compete in the College Hockey Showcase this weekend at Wisconsin and Minnesota. Michigan plays Minnesota Friday night and Wisconsin the next evening while the Spartans play Wisconsin Friday and Minnesota Saturday.