By Matt Mackinder/Michigan Beat Writer
Apparently, Michigan State feels that if you can't beat 'em, well, beat 'em.
At the end of the third period in the Wolverines' 5-3 win over MSU Saturday night, Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer was decked from behind by Andrew Conboy, who then knocked Kampfer to the ice. As Kampfer fell, MSU's Corey Tropp appeared to slash him in the neck or head area.
As Kampfer lay motionless face-first on the ice, a fight ensued among players and Tropp was given a slashing penalty and two game disqualifications and Conboy received two roughing penalties.
Kampfer, who returned to action at the Great Lakes Invitational last month after suffering a fractured skull during an on-campus assault by Michigan football player Michael Milano in October, was helped off the ice by teammates Chad Langlais and David Wohlberg.
After the game, UM head coach Red Berenson talked of emotion in a rivalry such as the one between Michigan and Michigan State.
"When you talk about a rivalry, there has to be emotion," said Berenson. "You could see that tonight. But then there also has to be controlled emotion. Whether that was entirely true depends on whose eyes you're looking through. I just told our team that I liked the emotion, but I do not want anyone to put themselves before the team or taking a penalty that will cost the team. We have a big weekend coming up and I thought our team handled this weekend well."
Brandon Burlon and Matt Rust each had a goal and an assist for No. 8 Michigan and Aaron Palushaj added three assists.
Captain Chris Summers, Travis Turnbull and Carl Hagelin also scored for the Wolverines (18-8-0, 12-6-0 CCHA), who got an 18-save performance from goaltender Bryan Hogan.
Andrew Rowe, Matt Schepke and Adam Henderson (first NCAA goal) scored for the Spartans and Drew Palmisano finished with a career-high 46 saves.
“It’s maybe the most resilient we’ve been all year,” said Michigan State head coach Rick Comley. “We fought hard and got back in it.”
According to USCHO, Comley said that he would deal with his players (reagrding the Kampfer incident) and that "a parent" had entered the Spartans' locker room after the game and that security had to be called.
Kampfer left Yost Arena on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure. He was released Sunday.
“I have a strained neck right now,” Kampfer said in a phone interview with the Detroit Free Press on Sunday. “I had no relapse of what happened earlier. Hopefully, I’ll be back this weekend.”
Kampfer didn't blame Tropp for the attack, but chose his words carefully.
“It’s not like people didn’t know I had that injury,” Kampfer said in the same interview. “If that was his true intention, that’s uncalled for. I don’t know what (Tropp) was thinking at the time. Obviously, I’m disappointed.”
Michigan now has five wins against MSU in a single season for the first time in series history.
"I think it feels great," said Summers. "To me, you cannot beat those guys enough; you can't score enough goals on them. Just the history since I have been here the past two years, we haven't ever had that much success against them. It has always been a very, very even series. I think that although this year it was obviously lopsided, these games mean something to us -- especially to the upperclassmen where we only have a couple of years or one year left. It's the seniors' last series against Michigan State, so it means something to us individually, but more importantly, as a team."
Michigan State (7-16-3, 4-12-2-2 CCHA) travels to Sault Ste. Marie next weekend for a pair of contests against Lake Superior State. Michigan takes on top-ranked Notre Dame in a home-and-home set starting in South Bend Friday night. Saturday's game at Yost will be on Fox Sports Detroit starting at 7:35 p.m.