MSU hockey can't find 'puck luck' in 4-2 loss to Minnesota
Tied up 2-2 with conference leading Minnesota (18-14, 13-4) , MSU (9-21-3, 5-11-1) had a chance to swing the puck luck into its favor. A streaking Mackenzie MacEachern raced out of the zone on a shorthanded breakaway. The junior forward who leads MSU in goals had faked a shot but handcuffed himself in the process sending a shot off target. Minutes later on the power play, senior forward Matt DeBlouw slipped into the slot and sent a shot jarring off the crossbar and out.
Less than a minute later, Gophers forward Tommy Novak chipped a puck out a net-mouth scramble and into the Spartan net sending the ultimate game winning goal home. Minnesota would add another goal late, dispatching the Spartans, 4-2
“We’re in it, have a chance to win, and didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” captain and senior forward Michael Ferrantino said. “We hit, I don’t know how many goal posts and they find a way to get a bouncing puck and shovel it into the net. That’s the game.”
It was MSU who netted the game's opening goal as both teams came out of gate flying. Digging the puck off the boards and dragging the puck to the middle junior forward JT Stenglein’s pass redirected to the stick of senior forward Matt DeBlouw. DeBlouw ripped the shot into the top shelf of a wide open cage making it 1-0.
Minnesota and MSU ramped up the pace trading jabs and shots throughout the opening frame and the Gophers quick strike offense would finally crack MSU goalie Jake Hildebrand with 3:44 left in the period.
Gopher’s forward Tommy Novak dumped the puck on Hildebrand who couldn’t find it in his pads leaving the puck sitting in the crease for Gopher defenseman Jack Glover to chip it in knotting the game up at 1-1 apiece.
“It kinda hit me and died,” Hildebrand said of the shot. “I was looking for it but the guy ended up poking it in.”
The quick pace continued into the second as both teams’ tempers flared resulting in jabs in between the whistles. Minnesota took the lead 7:46 into the period when Taylor Cammarata deflected in a Michael Brodzinski shot off his pants and in making it 2-1 with 11:33 left in the second.
MSU would answer quickly a mere 41 seconds later on an individual effort by the junior forward MacEachern. After being left unabated circled the corner twice, MacEachern stopped on the half wall and sent a snipe to the far corner of the goal tying the game at 2-2.
“I almost got dizzy to be a hundred percent honest,” MacEachern said of his effort and goal. “I looked at the net but honestly just threw it at the net and I was lucky enough to put it there.”
Junior Joe Cox and Sophomore Carson Gatt recorded assists on the goal.
As the period finished out with neither team relinquishing an inch setting the tone for a rough and quick third period.
It would be Novak’s goal which proved to be the game winner when the loose puck popped to him in the slot and he sent it back after two saves by Hildebrand.
“They generated the puck luck in certain situations and finished their opportunities,” MSU head hockey coach Tom Anastos said. “We didn’t.”
Glover added his second of the game when his clearing attempt off the glass went all the way down into the empty cage capping the scoring 4-2.Hildebrand finished with 24 saves on 27 shots and counterpart Gopher goalie Eric Schierhorn stopped 18 of 20 MSU shots on goal.
“When we had our key moments tonight we were unable to convert,” Anastos said. “They did (converted) one more time than us.”
Minnesota’s win keeps the Gophers at the top of the Big Ten standings just weeks away from the Big Ten tournament.
MSU and Minnesota wrap up the weekend series tomorrow at 7 p.m.