Losing 7-1 on Friday night at Munn Arena, Michigan State hockey looked like it was destined for a disappointing weekend just one week after sweeping No. 20 Penn State on the road.
And then when the Spartans were down 4-1 in Ann Arbor on Saturday halfway through the second period, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the series would end up a sweep in favor of No. 15 Michigan. The heated rivalry would go to the underdog and the up-and-coming Spartans' promising season would take a major hit -- along with their spot atop the Big Ten standings.
But a furious comeback with just under 10 minutes left in the period shifted the tides. The Spartans scored a couple of quick goals to pull within one and then they finished the period with two more goals to take a 5-4 lead heading into the third. A 4-1 deficit was wiped away in a matter of minutes and Adam Nightingale's team took control with 20 minutes left.
All the Spartans did from that point on was pour in two more goals to make it 7-4 before a late Michigan goal drew the Wolverines just one goal closer, but it wasn't enough.
With the win, Michigan State retained its spot atop the Big Ten standings and they head into another massive series this coming weekend with No. 10 Minnesota.
It's hard to believe that just a couple of years ago, the Spartans were one of the nation's laughingstocks. The program was dead in the water, but now Michigan State is ranked No. 7 in the country and it just pulled off a major road comeback against a top-15 rival.
The Nightingale effect feels like it might lead to a national title in the near future.