MSU hockey swept by North Dakota, falls 4-1 in series finale
What started out as a chance for MSU hockey (4-7-2) to turn its luck around quickly became another disappointing result as North Dakota (12-2-2) defeated the Spartans, 4-1.
“I thought we played really hard,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “We didn't take advantage of opportunities that presented themselves.”
The Spartans came out like a team which had an epiphany. Playing more physical and inspired, the Spartans were all over North Dakota early. Their no hesitation game plan would result in a goal eight minutes into the contest.
Spartan freshman forward Mason Appleton swung back to the point received a pass from junior forward Villiam Haag and rifled it to the net where it was tipped in front past UND goalie Cam Johnson by senior captain Michael Ferrantino.
The Spartans continued to pepper Johnson, firing 15 shots at him in the period but Ferrantino’s goal was the only one which found its way into the net.
However, the Spartans' dominating effort would be erased by two quick goals by UND off MSU miscues.
UND would knot the game up when Joel Janatuinen buried a goal backdoor behind MSU goalie Jake Hildebrand on a saucer pass from the corner from Tucker Poolman. Simonson also assisted on the goal.
Drake Caggiula would net his third goal of the series 59 seconds later on a 2-on-1 opportunity with linemate Nick Schmaltz. Caggiula’s quick shot beat Hildebrand low stick side and North Dakota would go up 2-1 with 5:56 remaining in the period. Poolman assisted on that goal as well.
Just couldn’t quite finish the deal and hang on with it then all of a sudden it’s mistake here, mistake there you know you’re down two-one and it’s kinda a different game again,” Ferrantino said.
The period ended with some scrappy play and a lot of penalties in the later half of the period. The teams combined for 16 penalty minutes in the first period.
The Fighting Hawks would score on the powerplay just five minutes into the second period when Brock Boeser walked into left circle and ripped one over Hildebrand from the dot. Troy Stecher and Caggiula would be credited with the assists.
The top UND line of Caggiula, Schmaltz, and Boeser continued to dominated MSU throughout the period providing a majority of UND’s 14 shots on goal in the period.
“Lots. Skill, smarts, poise,” Anastos said of what makes North Dakota’s top line so hard to contain. “We tried a number of different things, obviously we didn’t shut them down.”
Caggiula would find the net for the fourth time in this series when he received a breakaway pass from Schmaltz on the penalty kill, raced into the Spartan zone and ripped one low stick side on Hildebrand putting North Dakota up 4-1 with 8:21 to play in the second period.
“They’ve just got talented players that know how to put the puck into the back of the net,” Cox said. “When you make a mistake they’ll make you pay for it.”
The Spartans couldn’t get any shots passed Johnson in the third period as Johnson turned away all 10 shots from MSU. Dakota couldn’t muster any goals either but continued to press the Spartans.
“No puck luck at all,” senior forward Joe Cox said.
The Spartans have now finished off the bulk of non-conference play, going 4-7-2 in that span with their last win coming on Nov. 7 against New Hampshire. The Spartans have now gone winless in their last five contests.
MSU opens up conference play on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 when they take on Penn State on the road. The Spartans next home game is Dec. 11 when they face Wisconsin.