Hockey splits weekend series with No. 7 Wisconsin
This past weekend, the Spartans split their first set of games with the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers and gained their first Big Ten victory, giving them a Big Ten record of 1-3 and 5-5 overall on the season.
On Friday night the Spartans were outscored by the Badgers 6-3 and came out on Saturday night with a 2-0 shutout from sophomore goaltender John Lethemon making it his second of the season.
“I think it showed that character we have in this room," Lethemon said. "The type of team that we have to have guys start to come together and gel and mesh as a team. We weren’t happy about last night obviously and tonight was pay back."
In the first period on Friday, Wisconsin came out on top with the first goal of the night within two minutes of the game. Before the end of the period, senior goaltender Ed Minney gave up three goals and was replaced by Lethemon.
It was Minney’s home debut and only the second start on the season. Head coach Danton Cole took the blame off Minney postgame.
“It’s not all his fault,” Cole said. “When we get down 3-0, we hold the forwards and defensemen accountability, and we do the same with the goalies.”
Throughout the weekend, the Spartans scored three power play goals in the series with junior forward Cody Milan scoring two and another one by freshman forward Mitchell Lewandowski.
For senior defenseman Carson Gatt, he feels their power play unit are dynamic players and know how the move the puck well.
“Those guys we have on our unit are pretty dynamic players, lucky to play with them,” Gatt said. “We had good movement, created a lot of chances, probably could of had a couple more goals. It was great movement and those guys are doing a great job.”
On Saturday night, the Spartans came out pushing looking to stop the Badgers from getting a sweep on the weekend.
On Saturday, Lethemon came out of the victory with a 38 save shutout while the Spartans only had 17 shots on goal.
Sophomore forward Taro Hirose and his line mates of sophomore forward Patrick Khodorenko and Lewandowski made a play to get the second goal of the night to keep the team up 2-0. In practice, Hirose explains that they have been working more on their quick style of passing to help them get that goal.
"I mean sometimes coach doesn’t like it cause we’re passing a little too much, but when it works like that I think that’s a good thing," Hirose said. "I think at the same time we have to remember to shoot the puck sometimes.”
Next week the team will take a break from Big Ten play and start a home-and-home series against Ferris State. They will play on Friday night at 7:05 p.m at Munn Ice Arena.
Some members of the 2007 National Championship team will be honored during the game.