MSU hockey defeats Wisconsin 4-3 with gutsy performance
MSU hockey (5-9-2) can celebrate for the first time in over a month after a gutsy come from behind 4-3 victory over Wisconsin (3-7-5) on Saturday at Munn Ice Arena.
“We needed to find a way to win and we found a way to win,” head coach Tom Anastos said.
Back to basics was the mantra for the Spartans heading into the game and they looked to be living up to it. Throwing pucks at the net, moving the puck faster, and making smarter decisions with the puck led to an overall dominating start
The renewed vigor would be short lived.
Wisconsin would break through first off a bouncing puck that landed on freshman forward Will Johnson’s stick. He batted the bouncing puck past Hildebrand’s blocker giving the Badgers a 1-0 lead with 9:03 to play in the first.
MSU would continue to carry play but go empty handed and then some, when UW caught the Spartan defense pinching in from the blueline. A beautiful 3-on-1 resulted in a goal as Jake Linhart buried the puck behind an outstretched Hildebrand.
MSU would respond quickly, however, when freshman forward Brennan Sanford blasted a one-timer from senior forward Matt DeBlouw top shelf with 2:47 to play in the first. Ryan Keller was also credited with an assist.
The second period would see a role reversal as Wisconsin carried much of the play. The Badgers would score only five seconds after their failed power play attempt. Matthew Freytag would tip it in from the point on a Linhart shot.
Down 3-1, the Spartans would answer only 45 seconds later when Travis Walsh threw a puck through a crowd in front of the Badger net cutting the lead to one goal. Zach Osburn and Connor Wood were credited with the assists.
The Spartans would knot the game up with just under four minutes to play in the period when Michael Ferrantino drove the net and dove at the loose puck in the crease. Ferrantino's effort was enough to knock the puck across the line tying the game at 3-3.
Mackenzie MacEachern and Mason Appleton were awarded assists on the goal.
“A lot of resilience, our team just really came together tonight, played great defense - it started in the d-zone - and we got the puck out good and then created our offense from there so yeah it was a great team win,” Sanford said.
MSU would feed of the momentum creating a couple scoring opportunities that put them inches from taking the lead.
The two teams would go back and forth with chances to score but neither was able to score until 3:13 remained on the clock.
A chip off the boards by Brennan Sanford to Justin Hoomaian who flew out of the zone and raced in on Wisconsin goaltender Matt Jurusik, and slipped the puck five hole to put MSU up 4-3. Osburn also received an assist on the goal.
“I’m not used to this,” Hoomaian said of all the media attention he had for his game winning goal.
“It was just a huge a relief,” Hoomaian said of his goal. I mean for me personally I haven’t been getting the bounces, but for the team more importantly. We haven’t been doing how we wanna do lately. Hopefully we can turn the corner here and get it going.”
Wisconsin pulled the goalie with 1:48 to play in the game and sent shot after shot at the MSU net. The Spartans blocked most the shots and fought off the barrage and held on for the win.
“Losses sit with you forever, wins it’s kinda like ‘Oh we’re already starting to think about whatever 2:30 tomorrow or whatever,” Anastos said. “We needed a win, all of us, me included. So hopefully it’s a little bit of a confidence boost for us and gives us a jump in our step.”