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The scene could not been scripted better for Michigan coach Red Berenson to get his 500th career victory.
The only problem was that archrival Michigan State didn’t oblige with the ending. Berenson, who is sitting on 499 wins and is trying to become only the 14th coach in history to reach 500, will have to wait until Saturday to try and reach the milestone as the Spartans came into Yost Ice Arena on Senior Night and stunned the No. 8 Wolverines 4-0.
“This was a poor game for Michigan. I saw a team that was probably less ready to play than any game I can remember since Christmas,” said Berenson, whose team will get another chance against MSU Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena. “We weren’t good offensively and we weren’t good defensively. Michigan State played a strong game right from the start.”
The Spartans (19-12-2, 15-9-1 CCHA) didn’t waste any time jumping all over Michigan (23-9-1, 17-7-1). Joe Markusen and Lee Falardeau scored within a 3:31 span of the first period to put MSU ahead 2-0. Falardeau scored with 8:27 left in the period after Michigan goalie Al Montoya inadvertently left a Brian Maloney shot uncovered beneath his leg.
“Michigan is a good team and it’s tough to win here. We just wanted to get the first one and go from there,” said Maloney.
Maloney scored Michigan State’s final two goals, both on the power play. He scored the first with 11:14 left in the second period and added the insurance marker just 17 seconds into the third after deflecting a John-Michael Liles shot past Montoya.
Michigan State goalie Matt Migliaccio recorded 26 saves in the shutout, while Montoya was pulled in the third period after allowing four goals and making 15 saves.
MSU first-year coach Rick Comley, who picked up his 616th career victory, knows his team will have to come ready to play Saturday if it hopes to complete the sweep.
“We’ll have to play very well and I except (Michigan) to be every bit as good. At least now we go down to a neutral site,” said Comley.
The Wolverines, who entered the game in second place in the league with 35 points, two behind leader Ferris State, now trail by four as the Bulldogs beat Nebraska-Omaha 5-0. Michigan State remains in sole possession of fourth place with 31 points.