Feb. 12, 2005
FAIRBANKS, ALASKA - Michigan State hockey dropped a 6-5 overtime heartbreaker to Alaska Fairbanks at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Friday night. MSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period before UAF stormed back with five unanswered goals, including four in the second period, to take a 5-2 lead. However, State would not quit and scored three goals to tie the game before UAF's Ryan McLeod scored the game winner at the 2:56 mark of the extra session for the Nanooks victory.
"Alaska Fairbanks is a good team," said MSU head coach Rick Comley. "They gave our defense fits all night. Our kids fought back hard to tie the game. It's unfortunate that a turnover led to the game winner. We need to come back and play hard again tomorrow."
The Spartans jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in a span of 57 seconds on goals by Ethan Graham (So., Xenia, Ohio) and Jim McKenzie (Fr., Woodbury, Minn.). For both players, it marked their third goals of the season.
Graham's goal at the 11:46 mark gave State a 1-0 lead on a nifty play by Tommy Goebel (So., Parma, Ohio). Goebel held the puck in the zone and sent it back to Graham at the point. Graham fed the puck over Jeff Dunne (Fr., Grover, Mo.) at the other point, who sent it back to Graham who fired a quick shot on net that beat UAF netminder Wylie Rogers.
McKenzie's goal at 12:23 put State up 2-0. McKenzie took a cross ice pass from Jim Slater (Sr., Lapeer, Mich.) and sent the puck into the open net as Rogers was caught out of position on the play.
UAF made it 2-1, just 1:03 into the second period. Curtis Fraser took a pass from Nathan Fornataro and beat Dominic Vicari for his ninth goal of the season.
The Nanooks tied the game at two on a power-play marker by Fraser at 3:45. Corbin Schmidt sent a pass back to Fraser at the point, who fired a shot that beat Vicari, just under the cross bar for his 10th goal of the year.
Fraser scored the natural hat trick at the 5:53 mark of the middle stanza to give the Nanooks their first lead of the game at 3-2. Fraser's hat trick marks the first time since Nov. 29, 2002 (Minnesota's Thomas Vanek), that the Spartans have allowed a hat trick by an opponent.
The Nanooks (10-12-3 overall, 9-11-3 CCHA) made it 4-2 with just 32.1 seconds in the middle stanza remaining as Jared Sylvestre sent home a shot for his eighth goal of the season and the team's second power-play goal of the game.
Fraser gave the Nanooks a 5-2 advantage with a power-play marker, just 1:03 in the final stanza. Vicari stopped the initial shot by Schmidt from the point, but couldn't control the rebound as Fraser put the puck home for his fourth goal of the game. Fraser's four goals marks the first time since Feb. 11, 1994 (Lake Superior State's Kurt Miller), that MSU has allowed a player to score four goals in a game.
The Spartans (13-12-4 overall, 8-10-3 CCHA) would not die, it took just five seconds for State to pull within one, 5-4 on goals by David Booth (Jr., Washington, Mich.) and Bryan Lerg (Fr., Livonia, Mich.). Booth poked home a Lerg shot at the 4:36 mark to pull MSU 5-3; then, right off the draw at center ice; Lerg walked in and buried a shot over Rogers at 4:41.
The hard work of the "ER" line tied the game at five at the 10:26 mark. Chris Mueller (Fr., West Seneca, N.Y.) dug the puck out from behind the net and was hauled down; however, Mueller was able to get the puck to Chris Snavely (So., Lancaster, Pa.), who moved into along the boards from the point. Snavely sent the puck in front of the net and it was deflected off of Drew Miller (So., East Lansing, Mich.), who sent it to Colton Fretter (Jr., Harrow, Ont.) who backhanded a shot into the net for his team-best 15th goal of the season.
UAF's Ryan McLeod won the game at the 2:56 mark of the extra session with his eighth goal of the season. McLeod fired a shot that beat Vicari high, just under the cross bar.
Vicari finished with 42 stops, while Rogers had 31 saves for the Nanooks.
MSU and UAF conclude its two-game set tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 12) with a 7:05 p.m. AST (11:05 p.m. EST) face-off.
* JR F David Booth's (4:36) and FR F Bryan Lerg's (4:41) back-to-back goals just five seconds apart se a new MSU record for fastest two goals by two players. The previous record was six seconds, set on Feb. 21, 1987, by Bruce Rendall and Bill Shibicky vs. Ohio State.
* With an assist on State's second goal, SR F Jim Slater reached the 30-point plateau for the fourth consecutive year. The Lapeer, Mich., native has 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points
* FR F Jim McKenzie has tallied goals in back-to-back games (vs. Michigan, Feb. 5 and at Alaska Fairbanks, Feb. 11).
* JR F David Booth recorded his third multiple-point game with a goal and an assist vs. UAF. It marked his third multiple-point game in the last five contests.
* FR D Jeff Dunne recorded his first point with an assist on State's first goal since picking up an assist at Bowling Green (Dec. 4). Dunne did miss the entire month of January after suffering a shoulder injury in the second period of the GLI title game.
* The Spartans are 11-5-2 when scoring the first goal of the game this season.
* State played in its fourth consecutive overtime game tonight. However, after posting three straight ties - State dropped its second extra session game of the season. All told, MSU is 2-2-4 in overtime contests this season.
* From the little know fact book - Fairbanks has the greatest temperature change of all the cities in the world. Fairbanks temperature ranges from -66 degrees to 99 degrees.
Bryan Lerg tallied a goal and an assist in State's 6-5 loss at Alaska Fairbanks Friday.