MSU hockey falls 4-2 to LSSU in disappointing home opener effort
MSU took on former CCHA Conference rival Lake Superior State Thursday night in front of a sparse home opening crowd. However, the A-Team MSU Hockey’s student section was near capacity and they saw the Spartans fall short to the Lakers 4-2. The Spartans fall to 1-3-1 on the season.
“We made some miscues in our own end, kinda gave them some chances,” captain Michael Ferrantino said about the mistakes which caused the Spartans to lose tonight. “There was a few big plays in the game that kinda went their way.”
The first period opened with the Spartans playing with some home opening jitters coughing up the puck left and right to the Lakers. Hildebrand stood tall and prevented any Laker opportunities, off MSU mistakes, from finding the back of the net.
The Spartans shook off the jitters and began carrying the play to the Lakers. The Lakers forced MSU to shoot from outside the dots making it easy for Laker goalie Gordon Defiel to fend off Spartan attacks.
The Lakers would crack 2:19 of the first period when a beautiful break into the zone by Mackenzie MacEachern and Mason Appleton would give the Spartans life. MacEachern would find defenseman John Draeger all alone streaking into the offensive zone to the tops of the circles and hit him perfectly on the tape. Draeger wasted no time in slinging one top shelf over the glove of Defiel. The Spartans would take a 1-0 into the first intermission.
The momentum in the game however in the second period as the Lakers would score three unanswered goals, the first of which coming off a goaltending gaff by Spartan goalie Jake Hildebrand. Hildebrand lounged to try and deflect a puck from the corner but whiffed leaving the net mouth wide open for LSSU’s J.T. Henke, who buried it into the empty net.
With the game knotted at one, the Spartans began to press and tried to do to much with the puck causing turnover after turnover. The Spartans would take a penalty but come up a scoring chance of their own. Joe Cox’s shorthanded effort was rewarded with a penalty shot but he was stoned by Defiel after making one too many moves.
The Spartans would kill off the penalty making it 19 of 20 man advantages they have successfully killed off this season. The Lakers would make them pay however for a costly turnover when Bryce Schmitt buried a shorthanded one timer off a pass from Mitch Hults. The two on one goal put the Lakers up 2-1 at 9:56 of the second. Less than three minutes later the Lakers would make the Spartans pay again.
Another odd man rush would produce ultimately the game winning goal, when Henke buried his second of the night off an odd man rush that ended in a scrum in front. Henke would find the puck on the doorstep and slide it under Hildebrand to put the Lakers up 3-1.
“Disappointed. Very Disappointed in our performance tonight,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “I didn’t think we played smart, didn’t think our energy level was where it should be.”
The Lakers would carry the play the rest of the second but be called for interference with a second to go in the second period giving the Spartans a power play to start the third period.
The Spartans couldn’t muster a goal on the power play but at 17:42 of the third period, MacEachern would cut the deficit to one when a shot from Ferrantino rebounded right to MacEachern in front of the net who swiped it passed Defiel. Appleton also assisted on the play.
The play would continue to go back and forth but the Spartans passed up too many opportunities to shoot and tried to force too many plays resulting in wasted chances. A four on four opportunity was wasted by both teams and chances were thrown by the wayside.
“Our execution was poor,” Anastos said further about the teams play in all facets of the game. “There’s enough blame to go around with all of us.”
The Spartans would get one last power play opportunity at 3:06 of the third period but couldn’t get one passed Defiel. The Spartans also couldn’t score on a 6-on-4 opportunity when they pulled Hildebrand.
Gage Torrel would jump out of the box and get on the board as he delivered the dagger for the Spartans. The Lakers would go onto win 4-2.
The Spartans take on the Lakers again tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. in the final game of this two game series.
“We just gotta regroup, it’s all you can really do,” Ferrantino said. “Take away what we can good and bad and tomorrow’s a new day.”