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Thursday, December 30, 2010

MSU takes third place at GLI

By Matt Mackinder/At the GLI

DETROIT - Kevin Walrod scored his first two collegiate goals to lead Michigan State to a 5-3 win over Michigan Tech Thursday afternoon in the third place game at the Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena.

Walrod, a sophomore, didn't see any decent playing time a year ago, but is making the most of his ice time this year.

“Any win’s a good win right now,” said Michigan State head coach Rick Comley. “I thought overall we played pretty well. I thought Wallie (Walrod) picked us up. We’ll take anything right now.”

Dean Chelios (on an assist from younger brother Jake), Brett Perlini (last year's GLI MVP) and Dustin Gazley also scored for MSU, while Will Yanakeff earned his first win of the year with a 22-save performance between the pipes.

"I thought we made a couple of mistakes tonight that led to goals, but I’m pleased with our effort,” Comley added. “We would dominate the game, make a mistake, and it would end up in the back of our net. But it was a good tournament for us, in terms of how we battled back last night, and how we approached the game tonight. It will be a good jumping-off point for us for the second half."

“The defense kept it simple,” MSU captain Torey Krug said. “Growing up, you’re told your job as a defenseman is to just make the outlet pass to the forwards. I think, for the most part, the defense did that. That’s why we were so successful.

“We are all excited Will got the start. Guys may have been sacrificing their bodies a little more, blocking shots.”

Aaron Pietila scored twice for the Huskies, Jacob Johnstone added the other goal and Dennis Rix assisted on all three.

In goal, Josh Robinson finished with his second straight game of 40-plus saves as he kicked out 41 Michigan State shots.

“We’re a team that has good size and are very aggressive,” Michigan Tech head coach Jamie Russell said. “I didn’t think we had a lot of jump with the quick turnaround, playing the late game last night. We’re a team that thrives on the forecheck and I didn’t think we had a lot of legs tonight.”

The Spartans (7-10-3) next play a home-and-home with Michigan starting next Friday night in East Lansing. Michigan Tech (3-13-2) travels to St. Cloud State next weekend.

Photo by Matt Mackinder/MiCHO

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