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Michigan State completes sweep against Minnesota

January 20, 2019
Junior wing Logan Lamdin (71) celebrates a goal during the game against Minnesota on Jan. 20, 2019. The Spartans are tied with the Golden Gophers 1-1 at the end of the first period.
Junior wing Logan Lamdin (71) celebrates a goal during the game against Minnesota on Jan. 20, 2019. The Spartans are tied with the Golden Gophers 1-1 at the end of the first period. —
Photo by CJ Weiss | The State News

Michigan State hockey (9-12-3, 5-7-2 Big Ten) completed its first sweep since Oct. 27, defeating Minnesota (9-10-4, 6-5-3 Big Ten) 5-3 Sunday night at Munn Ice Arena.

The Spartans earned their first sweep against the Gophers since 1976. 

“You still have to treat next weekend like a regular weekend. We haven't really proven anything,” sophomore forward Mitchell Lewandowski said. “The Big Ten's so close that, if we lose two games, we'll be right back in seventh. So there's the never get too high, never get too low mentality. But that that was a big win for our team tonight.”

Junior goaltender John Lethemon earned a second straight start in net for the Spartans, recording 37 saves. 

MSU threatened early and often, as junior forward Patrick Khodorenko found his fellow linemate junior forward Taro Hirose who missed a wide open net.

The Spartans’ pressure would result in a goal just minutes later. Junior forward Logan Lambdin gathered the puck behind the net to find freshman forward Adam Goodsir who netted his first career goal.

“Adam's been playing real well. I think he's a guy that's starting to build and figure it out, and that line with Lambdin and Milan has been real strong,” coach Danton Cole said. “He's put some pucks on net and he's a big, strong kid. He's going to score some goals before it's over. He has in the past. So those are huge.”

Just before the ten-minute mark of the period, freshman forward Mitchell Matson took a holding penalty that would allow Minnesota to draw even. Blake McLaughlin’s wrister on the man advantage got past Lethemon to nod the score at 1. 

The back-and-forth passing in the later half of the period would end with the score still deadlocked, despite Minnesota firing 16 shots on goal to MSU’s 12.

In the second, the Spartans would get a power play opportunity just 27 seconds into the period. MSU would capitalize just as Sampo Ranta exited the box by way of senior defenseman Zach Osburn assisting junior center Sam Saliba to go up 2-1.

Minnesota would get another power play opportunity midway through the period from sophomore forward Brody Stevens’ interference penalty. The Gophers took after the Spartans, as Rem Pitlick snuck a wraparound goal past Lethemon just as the penalty expired, tying the game at 2.

But the Spartans would come right back in little over a minute. Sophomore center Tommy Apap won a decisive offensive zone draw to Osburn who quickly found freshman defenseman Cole Krygier for the one-timer from the point, as he also scored his first goal in a green and white sweater.

“Energy is never an issue with (Osburn)," Cole said. "That kid - he makes coffee nervous, as we say. He's doing a great job and he brings such a dynamic element to us that he can break some things out and he can get on the plus side offensively that some other guys can't.”

MSU would continue to apply unrelenting pressure until the final 12 seconds of the period to take a two-goal advantage into the third. Hirose weaved through three men in the neutral zone, feeding Khodorenko who quickly found Lewandowski. The right winger rifled his one-timer through just before a sprawling Robson could attempt to make the save, giving MSU a 4-2 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

Minnesota’s Jack Sadek drew his team within one just past the ten minute mark in the third, also converting before Lethemon could attempt to slide over.

But the Spartans would ensure the victory two minutes later. Osburn would earn another assist as his shot found traffic and was tipped by Lewandowski to go ahead 5-3. MSU would hang on to win despite being outshot 40 to 33.

“Playing with a lead and handling success is something that we really haven't had to do so far this year, so we're still learning in that way,” Hirose said. “But we're learning on the fly, and I think it's really working for us right now."

MSU will look to continue their three-game winning streak when they travel to South Bend to face Notre Dame Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

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