Senior Night! There is nothing more special than honoring the Senior’s for all they have done. The Senior sendoff can even be more special than anticipated. Asking Jim Cornelison to sing the Canadian and American National Anthems will make it special as well. In the end it’s about the underclassmen sending out the Seniors in style. In a turn of events, maybe it’s the Senior’s leaving the fans and the underclassmen with a memory.
The first period was all about defense and not giving up the first goal of the game. The Spartans coming off the win Friday night, wanted to come out and set the tempo against the Irish. The Irish were not going to allow that to happen. Instead, the Irish were going to set the tempo for the evenings match up.
As a matter of fact, the Irish gave the Spartans some of their own medicine. The Irish fired thirty one shot attempts. Fifteen of them were stopped by Goalie John Lethemon and one actually hit the pipe off of the stick of Nate Clurman. Defensively the Irish limited the Spartans t only nine shot attempts in which seven were on target and all stopped by Cale Morris. Morris was helping his own cause on Senior night.The first period ends with both teams with a zero on the board.
The Fightin’ Irish looked to keep up the momentum of the first half entering the second period. The first few moments looked like the Irish were going to continue the surge from the first period. Jake Pivonka, Graham Slaggert taking shots on Lethemon and Cal Burke getting another Irish hit pipe. There was no way around Lethemon. Then MSU turned the tables. This time the Spartans looked to show their muscle. Maybe it was the end of ice. At 5:41 in to the second period, the Spartans put one on goal against Morris. The Spartans showed their muscle as they out shot the Irish 12-4 Shots On Goal. The Spartans take a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
The third period did not start in the Fightin’ Irish’s favor. 2:28 in the final period of the regular season, the Spartans put another shot on goal to go up 2-0. On Senior night you gotta have faith. There is just no giving up. The Irish would take nine more shots on goal in the period before a breakthrough would occur. At 15:12, Alex Steeves solved the mystery of Lethemon and brought the sellout crowd to it’s feet.
After Steeves’ goal, the Irish win the ensuing face off and again start peppering shots on Lethemon. Wouldn’t you know on Senior night, a Senior helps in the cause. At 16:57 the whole game changes. Cam Morrison gets the equalizer with an assist from Cal Burke to bring the game even at 2-2. The crowd erupts again and the momentum swung in the Irish puckers favor. The Irish attempted thirty seven shots, sixteen of those where on target. The Irish defense allowed only six attempts and three were on target. Sixty minutes is not enough and now it’s onto Sudden Death Overtime!
Overtime number one sets up a four on four play for five minutes. With less players on the ice, the more difficult it is to set an offense or defense for that matter. The pseudo defense by the Irish kept all the shot attempts by the Spartans to Morris’ stick side and no shots found their way through.
Sixty five minutes is not enough! Now the players on the ice reduce again, 3-3. To make it a little more interesting, both teams decide to spend some time in the “Sin Bin” to liven the action up. Both teams successfully kill off the penalties and resume 3-3 play and neither team scores. When seventy minutes are not enough you now go to penalty shots. Imagine that, Senior night and the last game of the regular season and there are penalty shots.
The rules are simple, both teams get a penalty shot. It starts with the away team first. If they score a penalty shot the home team must score or the game is over. If the away team misses and the home scores the game is over. So MSU shots first and the puck goes in. The Irish get a break as the goal goes under review. After a lengthy review, the goal is called off. So now it’s the Irish puckers turn to try a crack at the extra point. Coach Jeff Jackson has gone to his stand by Tory Dello a lot in these situations. Senior night would be no different. Then the magic happens. Dello gets the puck by Lethemon and the Irish get the extra point.