Aye, aye, captain!
Michigan State's Torey Krug and Michigan's Carl Hagelin, their respective teams' captains, each lead the charge for their squad in a weekend split of the home-and-home series played by the two rival schools Friday and Saturday nights.
Krug's hat trick had staked the Spartans to a 3-1 lead late in the third period of Friday night's opener. Michigan made a late charge on goals by Luke Moffatt and David Wohlberg to send the game into overtime.
Daultan Leveille provided the game-winner at 1:54 of extra time giving Michigan State a much-needed boost to their flagging confidence level.
The 4-3 Spartan win set the stage for Hagelin's heroics in Saturday's rematch.
The Wolverine captain scored the game's first two goals staking Michigan to a lead they wouldn't relinquish in a 4-0 return match shutout.
Goaltending was a big part of the story in the weekend series.
After a strong performance against Michigan Tech in the third place game in the holiday Great Lakes Invitational tournament, Spartan freshman Will Yanakeff was solid in goal on Friday night for Michigan State, turning aside 37 Michigan shots in the overtime win.
Yanakeff tweaked a groin muscle in Saturday morning's pre-game skate and was replaced by former regular Drew Palmisano, who provided his own solid performance on Saturday.
Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick held the Wolverines in the game early Saturday with a succession of key saves until Hagelin could provide the offense that paced the Michigan win.
The weekend split left both teams in the identical spot in the CCHA standings in which they had entered the weekend.
Michigan holds down second spot in the conference, trailing Notre Dame by four points with a game in hand on the Fighting Irish.
Michigan State is five points clear of Bowling Green for tenth spot in the CCHA rundown, four points behind Lake Superior to take the next step up the standings ladder.
“We got one (victory on the weekend),” said Michigan State head coach Rick Comley. “We had to get that first one. Beating Michigan was big. Beating them at home was big. They're good. They skate well and they're really good. We just have to keep fighting the battle.”