By Bob Miller/Michigan Beat Writer
Michigan took a small step toward turning around its slumping season against Michigan State this past weekend with a win and a shootout loss in a home-and-home set with their arch-rival.
Although the Wolverines are still mired in eighth place in the CCHA standings with 19 points, the weekend action marked an end to a four-game home losing skid at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.
Michigan State's shootout win Saturday enabled them to stay one point clear of Michigan at 20 points in the CCHA rundown, tied for sixth with Northern Michigan. The Spartans have two games in hand over all other teams in the conference.
Kevin Lynch's game-winning goal late in the second period Friday night gave Michigan a comfortable 4-1 lead at the time, but Michigan State started the third period with a pair of early power play goals by Matt Berry and Brent Darnell to draw within close reach.
The Spartans tested Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick repeatedly in the final period, but couldn't find the equalizer anywhere in the 14-hot third period barrage.
“We battled hard,” said Michigan head coach Red Berenson of the 4-3 victory. “I think our team is a better team than we were two weeks ago or two months ago. We haven't had a lot to show for it, but this was an important game, and obviously, an important win.”
Berry scored the only goal of the shootout Saturday night earning the extra point in the standings for Michigan State after the Spartans again rallied with a third-period power-play goal, this time by Lee Reimer with only 3:53 left in the final 20 minutes. David Wohlberg had given Michigan a 3-2 lead only minutes before at 13:33.
The victory at Munn Ice Arena was witnessed by a sellout crowd of 6,886.
“There wasn't one guy on the bench that put their head down,” Spartan captain Torey Krug said of the reaction to Wohlberg's goal. “The crowd was great and we fed off that.”