The Michigan State Spartans (10-13-4) defeated the Wisconsin Badgers (9-12-4) with a score of 4-1 in Friday night’s game. This was freshman goaltender Drew DeRidder’s second consecutive game starting for the team as opposed to junior John Lethemon.
The two goaltenders usually switch off from game to game, however after the team’s loss to Notre Dame on Jan 25, DeRidder has been starting ever since.
“Early on, Lethemon, the older guy, was getting the benefit of the doubt and he won a couple games. Then Drew took over for a bit and played well against Michigan. He took over and then Lethemon three games in a row,” MSU coach Danton Cole said. “The battle back and forth is good. Both guys have confidence and know that if one falls a little bit, the other jumps in. I don’t mind the competition, we do it in every other position.”
DeRidder started off the game strong, saving 7 attempted shots at the goal by Wisconsin in the first period.
At the beginning of the second period, there was a huge save made by DeRidder that had the chance to become a point for the opponent.
“I mean, anytime you make a big save it gets you going a little more. You’ve got to find that intensity and making big saves like that helps you get there,” DeRidder said. “I know (Wisconsin’s) team a little bit better. This is either my first, second, or third time playing all these teams ... and I guess it’s just learning what they do.”
The freshman continued to make close saves throughout the second period with a total of 10, only letting in one goal from Wisconsin’s Ty Emberson with 1:33 left. Getting knocked to the ground after the fact, DeRidder watched his teammate Mitchell Lewandowski receive a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
DeRidder is the nation’s youngest goaltender in NCAA Division I hockey, only being 18 years old and a freshman at MSU. He has made 13 starts this season, with a .908 save percentage and and 3.09 GAA.
DeRidder turned away 45 shots in the game against Michigan on Dec. 31, which is the most by a Spartan goaltender this season. He also saved 34 shots against Notre Dame last weekend. DeRidder was named Big Ten Second Star of the Week back on Dec. 4, marking his first career weekly award as a freshman.
“(Drew was doing well at) stopping the puck. Goalies only have to do one thing,” Cole said. “I thought he was really good. Really square. I thought he was confident even when pucks were coming in from out far, he was putting pucks in the corner. Not as a freshman goaltender, but as an 18 year old goaltender, there’s not a lot of them catching the puck in the neutral zone, you know, we’re trying to kill clock at that point with the 3-1 lead.”
DeRidder and the rest of the team face Wisconsin again back at home at 5:30 p.m. on February 2nd.
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