MSU loses game one of home-and-home to Ferris State, 4-1
On a surprisingly warm November evening, the MSU hockey team hosted in-state rival Ferris State University in game one of the home-and-home series at Munn Ice Arena. There, the Bulldogs came out victorious in a hard-fought, physical match, 4-1, dropping the Spartans' record to 2-6 overall.
As part of the home festivities, MSU honored its 1966 National Championship team. The Spartans commemorated them during the first intermission along with wearing special throwback sweaters for the occasion.
Looking at the lineup, the home team welcomed back two players that were unavailable the series prior. Redshirt-freshman defenseman Jerad Rosburg and sophomore forward Mason Appleton suited up for the Spartans.
To start off the first period, MSU kept the pressure on early and often. The early statement led to a 5-1 shots on goal lead, but the Bulldogs goaltender, Justin Kapelmaster, made a string of saves to keep the game scoreless.
With the Spartans unable to get much going, the Bulldogs capitalized on an early power play chance to take the lead. Forward Mitch Maloney was credited for the goal as the puck seemingly hit one of MSU's player to find its way into the net.
At one point, senior forward Villiam Haag had only the goalie in between him and the net but was unable to capitalize. A loud ring could be heard as his shot sailed past Kapelmaster's left but hit the crossbar.
After the hotly-contested first period, MSU held the slight 10-8 shots on goal lead. But the special teams play slowly started to creep its way into the game.
Early in the second period, back-to-back penalties spanning 15 seconds were able to give Ferris State the advantage, including some 5-on-3 play. Forward Gerald Mayhew and defenseman Joe Rutkowski scored 40 seconds apart, stretching the away team's lead to three goals.
The Spartans were able to get one back on a power-play of their own, as Haag sent the horn abuzz at Munn, finding the back of the net.
The name of the game for MSU, though, was the missed opportunities. Two different times later in the period, they had breakaways and a prime chance to slice into its deficit, but both times they faltered as a shot sailing over Kapelmaster and a whiffed puck preserved the Bulldogs' two score advantage.
With the Spartans facing a deficit, the third period was underway. MSU continued to have plenty of chances in front of the net, but the impressive play of Kapelmaster denied them the chance of ever creeping closer.
An empty-netter by forward Corey Mackin sealed the door shut on MSU's comeback effort.
Along with the failed opportunities came the home team's inability to convert on more power plays. MSU finished the game just 1-for-7 on the man-advantage and often couldn't pressure the Bulldogs' zone.
While the Spartans were able to outshoot the away team, 32-27, the combination of factors ultimately led to the loss.
MSU and Ferris State will match up again at 7:00 p.m. in Big Rapids, Mich. at Ewigleben Arena to wrap up the home-and-home series between the in-state foes.