DETROIT -- In the end, the toughest part for Michigan State was trying to lift the new Iron D trophy.
Matt DeBlouw scored at 3:29 of overtime as the Spartans (7-18-2, 3-8-0-0) rallied to defeat the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines (16-4-4, 7-2-2-1), 3-2 to win the Duel in the D at Joe Louis Arena.
The Iron D trophy, introduced this year for the 308th meeting of Michigan-Michigan State, weighs 50 pounds.
"It was heavier than I expected," Michigan State senior captain Michael Ferrantino said. "Thank goodness there was that bar in the middle underneath or I probably wouldn't have been able to get it. It definitely caught me off guard a little bit but it feels good."
It had to feel good for the Spartans to keep the Wolverines off the board in the first period.
Michigan came into the game averaging five goals a game, best in the country, and had beaten Michigan State by 9-2 and 6-3 scores Jan. 8 and 9.
Midway through the second period, Michigan State was on the penalty kill as defenseman Carson Gatt was in the box for tripping.
Joe Cox got free for a shorthanded chance but was hauled down and the referee awarded him a penalty shot.
Cox made several moves, finally beating Michigan goaltender Steve Racine through the legs at 10:41.
"I went and talked to Hilde (MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand) because he's really smart," Cox said. "He knows how every goalie moves in the league and I just asked him, 'Hey, what are you thinking?' He goes, 'Well, he likes to spread his legs.' So that's all I really needed."
The last time the Spartans scored on a penalty shot was when Chris Mueller did so at Northern Michigan on Dec. 9, 2006.
"His hands, he did something else to that goalie," DeBlouw said. "That was a sick move."
The Wolverines had just finished killing off Tyler Motte's tripping penalty and Motte jumped out of the box and beat Hildebrand at 16:53, tying the game.
The tally extended Motte's goal-scoring streak to eight games.
In the third, at the first stoppage of play, officials reviewed a shot by Ferrantino, which appeared to almost cross the line before Michigan defenseman Nicholas Boka swept it out.
The review was lengthy, but the officials finally ruled it was not a goal.
"Obviously I think it was one of those ones maybe where if they called it a goal on the ice, I don't know if they had enough to overturn it. But since it wasn't a goal on the ice, maybe they didn't have enough to call it a goal either," Ferrantino said. "Didn't end up mattering in the grand scheme of things so that's what counts."
Motte got his second goal of the game at 9:03 when JT Compher found him in the slot.
Motte leads the country with 24 goals in 24 games.
"We couldn't keep the puck off 14's stick, obviously, even though that was part of the plan," Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said.
Kyle Connor also assisted on the goal, which extended both Compher's and Connor's point streak to 13 games.
But the Spartans did not give up.
Cox tied the game at 13:50 on a nice pass from Thomas Ebbing. John Draeger also assisted.
"There was no panic," Ferrantino said. "We had a good mentality coming into the game that we were going to keep coming. Whatever happened we were going to keep going and getting in their way. I thought Ebbing's line did an unbelievable job on Motte's line. They really didn't have much. I know they were able to get one but the way that line's been scoring, the way that team's been scoring, to only give up two is a pretty big feat for us."
Regulation ended in a 2-2 tie so the teams went to the five-minute overtime.
"It was a great effort by Michigan State," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "I know their coaches have been after them to perform better. They've been a better team than their record all year and we saw it again tonight. Good for them. It was a game where goals were precious, both goalies kept their teams in it. They scored the goals when they needed to and we gave up goals when we couldn't afford to."
Michigan defenseman Joseph Cecconi was called for slashing at 2:28 of overtime and the Spartans capitalized a minute later.
DeBlouw's shot eluded Racine and the celebration was on.
"I think when you play Michigan when you're at Michigan State or vice versa, there's a different level of want," DeBlouw said. "It's just different, especially in an environment like this, at Joe Louis, sold out. I think you feed into the crowd and you play a little bit better even though you're not even thinking you're playing better."
Villiam Haag and Travis Walsh assisted on the game-winner.
"That's what happens in overtime, they're not always pretty goals but to take a penalty in overtime, that hurts," Berenson said.
Hildebrand, who made 40 saves for his seventh victory of the season, put the night in perspective.
"This being the inaugural year of the Iron D and seeing that cool trophy, I think it's great for our team and it helps us get a little bit of confidence moving forward," Hildebrand said. "It's really special, especially for the seniors. To go out like this at Joe Louis Arena against Michigan, it's an awesome feeling."
The Spartans don't get much time to celebrate as they face the Wolverines again Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena.