FINAL: Spartans almost complete comeback against No. 13 Minnesota
With eight minutes left in the third period, with MSU down 4-3, sophomore defenseman Butrus Ghafari shot the puck from the blue line.
It went bouncing off the boards and off Minnesota’s goalie Eric Schierhorn to get his first goal of his collegiate career to tie the game for the Spartans and No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Almost four minutes later, Minnesota’s forward Tyler Sheehy scored his second goal of the game to give the Golden Gophers the 5-4 win.
“It was a crazy game definitely tonight,” Ghafari said. “They were up 4-1 and we came back and it was back and forth.”
Freshman forward Mitchell Lewandowski gave the Spartans the lead in the first period with the puck loose in front of the net. The Golden Gophers would respond a few minutes later to tie the game heading into the second period.
While the Spartans received a five-minute power play for their No. 15 unit in the second period, the Gophers would be the ones to score two goals with one man down to take the lead, 4-1.
In an effort to catch up, redshirt sophomore defenseman Jerad Rosburg was called for head-butting only to receive a five-minute major and an ejection from the game. Hirose scored his first of two goals during their penalty kill, and his second goal three and a half minutes later.
“I saw we had a 2-on-1 so I just tried to skate as hard as I could and their guys sort of let up a bit and I tried to skate back post and (Tommy Miller) put it right on my stick,” Hirose said. “It makes it easy when guys are playing like that.”
Moments after scoring the game-tying goal, Ghafari got called for slashing with just over two minutes left in the game. After killing the penalty, the Spartans had looked for their chance to tie the game back up but couldn’t get it past Schierhorn.
The Spartans and Golden Gophers will play again with an 8 p.m. puck drop on Saturday at Madison Square Garden to play in the Big Ten’s Super Saturday series.
“We talk a lot about when you lose a game don’t lose the lesson,” head coach Danton Cole said. “I liked the way the guys came. I liked the way they battled and I like the way they stuck together. Those are all good things and we can build on.”