MSU hockey falters in second game, splits series with Ohio State
MSU hockey's (6-18-2) direction and intensity were missing in its game Saturday night, as MSU reverted back to usual form, playing timid with the puck and allowing OSU (8-14-2) to jump out to a 2-0 lead before eventually losing 2-1. The Spartans played with much conviction on Friday in a 4-2 victory over the Buckeyes. This series was the first time MSU hasn’t lost both games since the Wisconsin series in December.
The first period offered little to be excited about as neither OSU or MSU mustered much of an attack. The Buckeyes, however, learned from the night before and pressed much harder on MSU taking away its time and space. Without a place on the ice to turn MSU coughed up the puck to the Buckeyes who were able to sustain pressure on an MSU team that was trapped in its own zone and tiring quickly.
The Buckeyes couldn’t muster a goal as Jake Hildebrand was able to keep the door shut despite lack of help from his teammates. Ohio State would strike in the second period, as a scrambling MSU unit lost OSU forward Miguel Fidler in front of the net. Fidler was able to redirect a rebound home unabated giving the Buckeyes the one goal lead.
The Buckeyes kept the foot on the gas, peppering Hildebrand with 12 shots in the period. Their speed to the outside was too much for MSU to handle, as the tough checking the night before was non existent.
Ohio State was rewarded for its efforts yet again when freshman standout Mason Jobst scored his second goal of the series when he batted the puck out of the air and into the net while falling to the ice to make 2-0 Ohio State.
MSU tallied its lone goal as time was expiring in the period as captain Michael Ferrantino walked from the right circle and fed a pass through traffic on to the tape of junior forward Mackenzie MacEachern who one timed it into the lower corner.
It was a result of a sustained pressure effort; which was heavily prevalent in the Friday victory. It was the key to the win and it was the key to MSU’s lone goal. But it was the only sustained pressure MSU had and little pressure leads to little chance to win.
The period crept along quietly as MSU’s chances were far in between until late in the period. Desperate to get chances the Spartans pressed at the net. With just over five minutes remaining, the line of JT Stenglein, Villiam Haag, and Matt DeBlouw peppered OSU goalie Christian Frey.
Stenglein’s chances turned into an empty net chance for Haag whose shot rang off a skate and ended back up on Stenglein’s stick. Stenglein couldn’t send the shot across the line but as the puck laid in the crease, DeBlouw had a couple whacks that would not go.
It was too little too late; an effort needed throughout the period. The empty net created a couple bounces, but the Buckeyes held firm in front of Frey and would hold on for a 2-1 victory.
The Spartans missed their chance to win a series since their last victory in early November against New Hampshire. It’s only the second series the Spartans have split this season and they missed out on a chance to sweep and keep themselves from the bottom of the Big Ten ladder.
MSU hockey now sits tied for fifth in the BIg Ten but a win tonight would have propelled them to fourth place. MSU will take on Michigan this upcoming week with one game at Joe Louis Arena; hailed as the Duel in the D.