Colorado College equaled their six-goal output from last night tonight against Michigan State and the visitors from the WCHA won the 41st annual Great Lakes Invitational with a 6-3 win over the defending champion Spartans.
The Tigers had a 6-0 lead at one point before the Spartans salvaged some pride by cutting the lead in half.
“Give (MSU) credit,” Colorado College head coach Scott Owens said. “They never gave up and didn’t show any quit. I think maybe they got some new life after the goalie change.”
Dominic Vicari started in goal for MSU, but got the hook for Jeff Lerg after Joey Crabb, the tournament MVP, made it 5-0 6:57 into the middle period. Lerg allowed just one goal the rest of the game.
“Jeff played outstanding,” MSU head coach Rick Comley said. “But as a team, I think we’re back together. We were down 6-0 and could have lost by ten. (Playing) 5-on-5, we were good. But we gave them a couple 5-on-3’s and against a team like that, you can’t do that. We won the last two periods, but that doesn’t win games.”
Crabb started the scoring for CC 7:58 into the opening period on a Tigers’ man-advantage. Brian Salcido’s shot went wide of the net, but bounced off the end boards right to Vicari’s left and Crabb went top shelf.
Then at 13:31 on a two-man advantage, Salcido put a laser past Vicari from the top of the right circle that beat Vicari cleanly.
Almost three minutes later at 16:19 shorthanded, Crabb and Trevor Frischmon broke out on a 2-on-1 and Crabb passed over to Frischmon, whose shot along the ice eluded Vicari.
But the goals kept coming for Colorado College.
With 17 seconds left in the period, Salcido scored a goal that was a carbon copy of his first and was again on a 5-on-3 power play. Vicari was screened on the play and the shot beat him glove side.
“Brian was more decisive tonight,” said Owens. “When he wanted to shoot, he did.”
“We scored some good goals tonight,” added Salcido. “But I can’t take all the credit; it was a tribute to all the guys out there.”
Crabb’s fluky goal chased Vicari early in the second period. The shot appeared to hit MSU forward Chris Snavely on the way to the net and Vicari fumbled the puck until it went in off his back side.
Brett Sterling showed Lerg no love as he scored off a scramble in front of Lerg at 14:05 on reigning Hobey Baker winner and CC captain Marty Sertich’s fourth assist of the game. Sterling’s goal, a power-play tally, gives him 21 on the season, an NCAA best.
Tyler Howells erased the Spartans’ goose egg at 16:23 when he fired a shot from between the circles past CC goalie Matt Zaba, who was screened, inside the post.
Howells added a power-play goal at 19:08 when he snapped a quick shot from in tight on Zaba.
David Booth made it 6-3 as he was falling to the ice at 11:50 of the third period. His backhand shot went short side on Zaba and suddenly, MSU had a hint of momentum after Booth's power-play goal.
“With the new rules, who knows what could happen out there,” said Howells. “But we feel good going into our next game (next weekend at home against Wayne State).”
“I’d love to meet (CC) again and get a second chance at them,” Booth said. “You get rid of that first period and who knows? But that’s now how it went and we have to learn from our mistakes.”
Zaba made 33 saves and Vicari and Lerg combined for 23.
Aside from Crabb, the All-Tournament Team forwards also included Sertich and Michigan Tech’s Tyler Shelast. Salcido and Howells made up the defensemen and Zaba was the tournament’s top goalie.
“Joey started out slow this year,” Owens said. “But he had 19 shots this weekend and seven points, so I believe the (MVP) award was very well-deserved.”
Next year, Harvard will join MSU, U-M and MTU for the 42nd annual GLI.
The Tigers (17-6-1, 9-4-1 WCHA) host Wisconsin Jan. 13-14. The Spartans fall to 8-8-5 overall (4-5-4 CCHA) and host the Warriors next weekend at Munn Ice Arena.
Photo by Matt Mackinder/MiCHO