After a 6-3 loss to the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers Friday, the MSU hockey team aimed to not be victims of another weekend sweep by the Badgers this season. The Spartans failed in that objective Saturday as they were defeated in overtime, 4-3.
Ten seconds after MSU pulled their goalie with just over a minute in regulation, a pass to sohpomore forward Brennan Sanford from freshman forward Patrick Khodorenko behind the net tied the game at three after Sanford’s one-timer shot in front of the goal got by the Badgers’ Matt Jurusik.
The game remained tied at the end of regulation and the two teams went into overtime.
1:34 into overtime, the Badgers’ Seamus Malone passed to defenseman Jake Linhart at the right circle. Linhart’s wrist shot found the back of the net and handed MSU its second-straight loss.
The game was brimful with penalties. The Spartans had seven penalties for 14 minutes, and the Badgers spent 23 minutes in the box on six penalties.
The Spartans — who outshot the Badgers in Friday’s loss, 23-18 — also held an advantage in shots on Saturday in the loss. The Spartans recorded three more shots than the Badgers as they outshot Wisconsin, 31-28.
After being benched in Friday’s 6-3 loss for allowing the Badgers to score three goals in the opening period, junior goaltender Ed Minney didn’t find his name on the starting lineup as freshman John Lethemon got the nod in the net.
The Spartans also had to play Saturday without freshman forward Taro Hirose. After a first period collision Friday, it sent Hirose to the locker room upon being issued a game misconduct. The Big Ten conference then announced Saturday that Hirose would be suspended one game after further review of the play.
Late in the opening period and during a delayed penalty Saturday, a wrist shot from the right circle by Sanford was initially called a goal, but upon discussion, it was ruled that the whistle was blown before the puck found the back of the net.
MSU controlled puck possession for most of the first period, but it was the Badgers who got on the board first.
While shorthanded, the Badgers’ leader in goals and points, Luke Kunin, was able to get a breakaway opportunity.
Skating from the left side of the ice, Kunin’s wrist shot from the slot went by Lethemon. The goal then gave the Badgers a 1-0 lead.
Trailing by one, the Spartans had 16 shots on goal at the conclusion of the first frame, which is the Spartans’ most in an opening period this season, while the Badgers had eight.
7:48 into the second period, Kunin and freshman defenseman Mitch Eliot were both charged with roughing. As a result, both teams were shorthanded a skater.
The Spartans were able to score on the 4-on-4 1:25 later.
After Carson Gatt picked up the puck in the Spartans’ zone, the junior defenseman made a pass to sophomore forward Mason Appleton. Appleton proceeded to feed Gatt the puck in the neutral zone, where Gatt would skate to the top of the left circle and make another pass to Appleton.
Appleton’s shot near the goal crease couldn’t get in, but redshirt-senior defenseman Rhett Holland finished the play off by diving into the crease to tie the game at one.
A fight then ensued between the two teams, and ultimately led to the ejection of Badgers’ defenseman JD Greenway and a 3-on-3 opportunity.
Neither team could score on the 3-on-3 chance, and the Spartans — who held a man-advantage after the 3-on-3 — were also unable to capitalize on the power play.
The Spartans proceeded to take their first lead of the series with 4:09 remaining in the second period.
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Senior forward and captain Joe Cox skated into the Badgers’ zone along the right side of the ice. Cox then made an attempt to pass to Patrick Khodorenko, but his pass was blocked by Wisconsin. Cox picked the puck back up and skated towards the net. While falling to the ice, a backhand shot from the senior forward found the back of the net, giving the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
6:58 into the third period, the Badgers scored on Lethemon, tying the game at two.
A wrist shot from the Badgers’ Trent Frederic was initially blocked by MSU, but forward Cameron Hughes kept the Badgers in possession by picking up the puck near the goal crease and making a backhand pass to Frederic in the slot. Frederic’s shot got by Lethemon, and gave the Badgers their second goal of the game.
The Badgers then regained the lead with 8:55 left in the game.
A Corbin McGuire wrist shot from the right circle was deflected by Hughes and sailed by Lethemon, giving Wisconsin a 3-2 lead as they eventually defeated the Spartans in overtime.
The Spartans will now face in-state rival the University of Michigan next Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game will be played at the Joe Louis Arena and Saturday’s game will be played at Yost Ice Arena. Both games are set for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. Friday’s game can be viewed on Fox Sports Detroit.
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