MSU hockey vanquishes late lead again, loses 2-1 to NMU in overtime
For the second straight night, MSU hockey (5-13-2) vanquished a late third period lead and lost in overtime. This time defeat came at the hands of NMU (7-7-6), which scored a power play goal with 4:15 to go in the third to tie the game at one and scored with 1:22 left in overtime to defeat MSU 2-1.
“I don't really have much to say,” MSU head coach Tom Anastos said to start off his postgame press conference. “Game speaks for itself.”
Such as the night before, the Spartans had no answers for what occurred. A lot of frustration and no where to channel it to but on the ice.
“We kind of just have to finish out games, I mean it’s more of like a heart thing,” senior forward Joe Cox said. “Kinda got to dig down. Just got to dig down, get those clears and we didn’t do that for both of those games.”
MSU needed a quick response after its third period debacle last night and it would come off the stick of Cox just a minute and six seconds in. Cox chopped the rebound, from a Travis Walsh shot, over NMU goalie Mathias Israelsson’s shoulder giving MSU an early 1-0 lead.
That would be the extent of the excitement that is, until late.
Though they scored early, the Spartans continued to do the things that lost them the game the night before. Struggling again in the offensive end, MSU continued to throw pucks into each other’s skates when breaking out of the defensive zone.
Pass after pass was mishandled and when they did have an opportunity to increase the lead, they missed the net, often.
Only six MSU shots were on target while the other 13 shots attempted flew by the net or were pumped into Northern Michigan defenders. Luckily for MSU, Northern Michigan’s sights were off as well. Of the Wildcats’ 22 shots, only were on goal.
“I thought defensively we played pretty well and I think that’s an important part of our game to pull together,” Anastos said. “I thought overall we did a good job of that, but obviously you got to finish.”
The loudest cheer of the period came when senior forward Ryan Keller crushed NMU forward Denver Pierce into the Plexiglas and snapped the glass into multiple chunks.
Neither team could provide a reason to get the crowd to its feet in the second period either. More pucks went from sticks to skates and to the other team. MSU couldn’t muster a goal on its three power play opportunities of the period and would ultimately go 0 for 3 on the night.
Northern’s equalizing opportunities were stuffed by an active Hildebrand, whose past few performances have seen him back to his Big Ten Goaltender of the Year form of last season.
Even with Hildebrand keeping the lead, MSU would relinquish another lead late lead in the third period. With Brennan Sanford in the box for boarding, NMU had it’s best chance of the night and would capitalize.
“We managed to have a lead and somehow give that away,” freshmen forward Mason Appleton said. “I guess it’s been almost, sucks to say it but, the story of our season.”
Dangerous all night long, Wildcats forward Dominik Shine would notch his seventh goal of the season and knot the game up at one. The late goal seemed to deflate the Spartans and rally NMU. Bursting with new momentum the Wildcats seized their chance in overtime.
Nearly at the same point of overtime as the night before, another team would smash the chances for MSU to notch a win. Off the faceoff, the puck ricocheted off a stick, and skate and fell onto the blade of NMU forward Robbie Payne. Payne stepped into the shot in the slot and it would find the back of the net only a second later.
Story of the season is about right. Even captain Michael Ferrantino was at lost for what happened.
“It’s tough,” Ferrantino said of the losses this weekend. “Not easy but ya know we just gotta get back to work and keep coming at it, that’s all we can do and well that’s what we’re gonna do.”
The Spartans have found numerous ways to lose and no answers to how to win. They’ll face a tough weekend Jan. 8 - Jan. 9 as they take on Michigan.