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MSU defeats Bowling Green 3-2 in first home game of the season

October 15, 2017
Senior forward Mitch McLain (6) and sophomore forward Patrick Khodorenko(55) fight for the puck during a face-off on Oct. 14, 2017 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans defeated the Falcons 3-2 with seconds left in the game.
Senior forward Mitch McLain (6) and sophomore forward Patrick Khodorenko(55) fight for the puck during a face-off on Oct. 14, 2017 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans defeated the Falcons 3-2 with seconds left in the game. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

On Saturday night, the Spartans defeated Bowling Green in a 3-2 victory after losing 4-1 the night before.

Sophomore forward Taro Hirose scored the game-winning goal with 40 seconds left in the third period to gain their first win of the season. 

“It was awesome,” Hirose said. “You know you share it with your teammates and with the student section that is something I’ll remember from my time here.”

Freshman forward Tommy Apa scored his first collegiate goal in the first period. After Bowling Green took the lead in the second period, sophomore forward Patrick Khodorenko scored his first of the season to tie the game back up during a MSU power play. 

Two  of the the three goals were scored by the first line consisting for Hirose, Khodorenko, and freshman Mitchell Lewandowski. 

“We work hard,” Khodorenko said. “I think once we grind them down a little bit, we can start to use our skill to our advantage and kinda loosen the other team up a little bit and we can go from there.”

On Friday night, the Spartans dropped the first game to Bowling Green when they traveled to Ohio for the season opener.

Within two minutes, the team allowed three goals to be scored. The lone goal for the Spartans was scored by Hirose in the second period. 

“The second or third period last night I think we played well too, but we gave up two power play goals and you can’t really come back from 4-1 in the third,” Khodorenko said. 

Even with an early start to the season, after finishing last season with a record of 7-24-4, the players begin to feel this season is a fresh start. 

“I think it’s a fresh start for a lot of guys,” Hirose said. “We have a lot of young guys and a lot of new guys and that’s just energy that we can go off of each game.”

The Spartans are fourth youngest team in college hockey with eight freshmen and 11 sophomores. 

Last season, Hirose, Khodorenko, and sophomore forward Sam Saliba were ranked in the top ten for points among Big Ten freshmen. Also, at least seven freshmen started in all 35 games last year.

“The young guys, we got 19 freshmen and sophomores, kinda hold their composure getting down 3-0 last night and hold their composure in the third period of 2-2 game,” head coach Danton Cole said. “It’s pretty good.”

Before starting his career as the coach for MSU and the USANTDP, Cole was an assistant coach for Bowling Green during the 2006- 2007 season. 

For him, he feels there are many ties with both universities being good hockey schools and hockey towns, but he likes to win. 

“I like winning,” Cole said. “They are just really good people at both universities. It was fun. Two wins would of been better, but we’ll take the win tonight.”

This was the first win at Munn Ice Arena since Nov. 4 when MSU defeated Michigan Tech 3-2 in overtime with a goal from former Spartan Mason Appleton. 

This home win helps their confidence as they continue to play throughout the season with the help of Cole. 

“It’s good for our confidence,” Hirose said. “I think we’re a young group so we feed off of the energy we had tonight and I think it will take us into next weekend.”

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The Spartans will drop the puck again at Munn Ice Arena on Friday at 7:05 p.m. to face-off against Western Michigan. 

“They’re going to do some good stuff and they’re going to work hard,” Cole said. “Whatever we do in the future this group is gonna reset some things culturally here.”

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