ORONO, Maine — Michigan State junior right wing Corey Tropp came into Friday night’s game against the University of Maine with 10 goals in 65 career games.
Now he has 13.
Tropp’s first career hat trick and a clinching goal by junior defenseman Jeff Petry with 3:22 remaining in regulation gave the Spartans a 5-3 win in front of 4,790 at Alfond Arena.
Michigan State is now 3-0 while Maine fell to 0-3. The two teams will meet again tonight at 7.
It is Maine’s first 0-3 start since the 1985-86 season.
Maine built a pair of one-goal leads in the first period only to have the Spartans equalize.
Tropp, who had scored Michigan State’s first goal, lifted the Spartans into a 4-2 lead in the second period with a shorthanded goal and a power- play score 3:38 apart.
His shorthanded goal gave MSU the lead for good.
Robby Dee made an ill-advised pass to Will O’Neill in the neutral zone and Tropp poked it free and broke in alone on Maine sophomore goalie Scott Darling.
“I was going to pull it to my backhand but a backchecker had the angle on me so I tried to get a good shot off,” said Tropp, who beat Darling high to the glove side into the short-side corner.
“I leaned too early because I thought he was going to drag the puck across the front of the net,” said Darling. “He put it in off the crossbar.”
His hat trick goal came of a Petry wrister from the right point that pinballed over to him at the far post and he jammed it past Darling.
“The puck squeezed out and came right to my stick. I think [Derek] Grant may have tipped it. It was a nice low shot [by Petry],”said Tropp.
“It went off one of our defenseman’s skates over to [Tropp],” said Darling. “I got a piece of it. It hit my glove but it fluttered up over [and into the net].”
But Maine’s Gustav Nyquist sliced the lead on the power play with just 14 seconds remaining in the period as he swatted a backhander into an exposed net off the rebound of a Will O’Neill point shot.
Nyquist was cross-checked right after he scored so Maine carried a four-on-three advantage into the first 50 seconds of the third period; a five-on-three for 17 seconds and a five-on-four for 39 seconds. But the Bears couldn’t convert.
“Killing those penalties was a big moment in the game,” said MSU coach Rick Comley.
Maine generated a few good scoring chances in the third period but sophomore goalie Drew Palmisano came up with some important stops and the Spartans did a nice job clearing rebounds and loose pucks.
Petry sewed up the win by rifling a Daultan Leveille pass off the post and past Darling from the middle of the slot.
Senior center David deKastrozza opened the scoring with his first career goal in 52 games before Tropp answered just 17 seconds later.
Dee scored at the 9:11 mark before Tim Buttery converted on the power play for MSU at the 16:00 mark.
DeKastrozza opened the scoring when he was positioned to the left of MSU goalie Drew Palmisano and directed Jeff Dimmen’s wrister into the top short-side corner.
Tropp tied it when he sliced across the front of the net and had Derek Grant’s waist-high centering pass deflect off “the shaft of my stick” and into the net.
Dee scored thanks to a fortuitous bounce as Mike Cornell’s one-timer off a Nyquist drop pass hit the glass behind the net and deflected in front where Dee swept it home.
Buttery tied it when he tipped a shot from the midpoint behind Darling.
Nyquist, who has three goals and two assists in his last two games, said the Bears came out flying and pressured MSU effectively at times “but, in the end, we didn’t do a good enough job in front of our own net. We gave up way too many second and third shots.”
The Spartans, with six forwards standing at least 6-foot-1, had the better of the play against the smaller Bears and were able to cycle the puck on the forecheck and create turnovers.
Maine used it speed to create chances off the initial rush but couldn’t generate many second chances as the Spartans did a better job in front of their own net.
MSU outshot Maine 34-26.
“It was an even game. It could have gone either way,” said Comley.