Munn Ice Arena
East Lansing, MI
The Michigan State Spartans came into this two game series with a chip on their shoulder.Â They know they arenâ€™t the most talented team in the nation.Â They donâ€™t have the best shooters or skaters.Â What they have is the biggest intangible in sport: heart!
For a team that at best hoped for a five hundred campaign this season, they entered the weekend 10-5-1 rated #14 in the nation.Â They had a home and home with their archrival Michigan.Â We already know what happened on Friday.Â What took place tonight was better.
The Spartans came in with senior net minder Drew Palmisano between the pipes and they still struggled, but once again they never quit.Â Coach Tom Anastos said, â€œI just like how hard we are competing.Â Last night I didnâ€™t think for parts of the game that we competed real well, but we played hard.â€
The crowd was among the best since Ron Mason retired.Â The best student section for any MSU varsity sport rests in Munn and they had the place on fire.Â Often getting the other sections involved.Â Junior captain Torey Krug was beaming ear to ear when he entered the post game press conference and mentioned the crowd first.Â â€œOur crowd was unbelievable.Â Obviously in a rivalry game like this there is a lot of emotion.Â The crowd was great and the guys just fed off of it.â€Â There was a sellout of nearly 6,900.
Anastos echoed the thoughts of his stars about the atmosphere of Munn, â€œIt was fun to be in the building where it was nice and packed.â€
The shoot out win for Michigan State was an amazing end to nothing less than a phenomenal first half of the season. Sophomore center Lee Reimer said of his teamâ€™s great start, â€œObviously pretty happy with how the first half has gone.Â We had a tough scheduleâ€¦gonna get even better in the second half.â€
Palmisano was amazing, stopping 35 Wolverine shots (eight in the over time alone) and clearly willing his team to the win.Â He had high praise for what the MSU vs. UM games mean.Â â€œMichigan vs. Michigan State rivalry is the biggest in college hockey.â€Â I agree.
Krug put the magnitude of the game in perspective.Â It wasnâ€™t just one game.Â It was about the turning around of a program.Â â€œTonight was for the Spartan Nation.Â Wins like that put fans in the seats.â€
So what have we learned about the Spartans?Â What has Coach Anastos done?Â When they were down 4-1 last night at Yost and down here tonight we know this.Â Unlike the past this team doesnâ€™t quit.
Anastos said, â€œI just like how hard we compete. We had confidence when we fell behind in the third periodâ€¦I am happy with our effort.â€Â I couldnâ€™t have said it better.
The Spartans now get the next sixteen days off.Â They have finals this coming week as well as Christmas.Â They will return for their next practice on that night.Â They will have two on the 27th, one on the 28th and travel that night to Detroit for the GLI.Â Because of the WWE at the Joe, they wonâ€™t skate there until the morning of the 29th before they take on Michigan Tech that evening.