The Spartans (2-4) hit the ice Saturday night unable to split the weekend series against a physical No. 4 Cornell (2-0) team. The green and white couldn't get anything going offensively for most of the game and, for the second night in a row, made frequent trips to the penalty box, losing 6-2 at Munn Ice Arena.
"It was a tough game," Head Coach Danton Cole said. "They're a very good team and I thought we did a really good job in the first period. ... Guys didn't quit on it. ... We'll rest up, get back to work, and we'll figure some things out from here."
Other than being unable to cash in on an early power play opportunity, the first 15 minutes of the game were fairly uneventful as the two teams went back and forth. Sophomore defenseman Christian Krygier was called for a roughing penalty at the 14:15 mark, and Cornell capitalized on the ensuing power play.
With 4:19 remaining in the period, junior forward Tristan Mullin put home a one-timer past sophomore goaltender Drew DeRidder on a pass from behind the net to put Cornell up 1-0.
The second period didn’t start out much better for Michigan State, as they couldn’t convert on their second power play of the game early on. Cornell added to their lead just minutes after, when sophomore forward Liam Motley buried a wrist shot from the top of the right circle with 12:29 remaining as Big Red went up 2-0.
With time winding down in the second, Cornell started to pour it on. Sophomore forward Michael Regush put home a rebound on a shot from the point with just under four minutes to go and junior forward Morgan Barron rifled one in from the blue line just minutes later, prompting Cole to pull DeRidder for the Spartans.
Senior goaltender John Lethemon finished the period as the team headed to the locker room down 4-0 after two periods of play.
Cornell didn’t take their foot off the gas as the third period got underway. Just under a minute in, Regush scored his second of the game on the power play, sending a shot from the left circle past Lethemon to put the visiting team up 5-0.
Freshman forward Josh Nodler gave the fans a reason to cheer midway through the period when he scored his first collegiate goal, blasting a one timer home on the power play just under seven minutes in. Another Cornell penalty was taken advantage of by the green and white, as freshman winger Nicolas Muller redirected a shot in on the power play to cut into Cornell’s lead 5-2.
Cornell got one right back on the power play, going up 6-2 on a shot from freshman defenseman Sam Malinski.
"Cornell came in and executed their game plan pretty well and a lot better than we did," senior forward Sam Saliba said. "We gotta move forward and Monday get back at it because it's only getting harder from here."
The team will look to turn things around next weekend as they travel to Penn State to open up conference play against the Nittany Lions Nov. 8. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
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