After a disappointing 4-2 loss at the hands of Michigan Tech in yesterday’s opener of the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI), No. 18 Michigan State (10-9-1) bounced back in a big way Tuesday morning, taking down Ferris State (6-11-2) by a score of 5-2 and placing third in the tournament.
Getting five goals from five different players helped propel the green and white to a victory on a day where the team did what senior forward Logan Lambdin said they didn’t do enough of in yesterday’s loss, test the opposing goaltender.
“I think our energy was really good,” Head Coach Danton Cole said. “I thought we worked really hard without the puck ... that was pretty evident in the offensive zone. We had the puck a lot and made some strong plays.”
The Spartans were dominating the game for much of the first fifteen minutes of play, and would finally break through late in the opening period. With 5:24 remaining in the first, senior defenseman Jerad Rosburg received a drop pass from freshman wing Jagger Joshua at the top of the left circle in the offensive zone. Rosburg wound up for a slapshot that went right over the glove of FSU goaltender Roni Salmenkangas to put MSU up 1-0.
Just minutes later, Ferris State looked to tie the game on a power play. Salmenkangas went behind the net to halt the puck so that his teammates could regroup and organize a breakout. Deciding to take the puck out himself, he immediately realized he had made a mistake.
Facing pressure from junior forward Tommy Apap, Salmenkangas panicked and tried to throw the puck back in his own corner, looking for a Bulldog defender to bail him out. The puck never made it to the corner, but instead went into his own net, and the Spartans went up 2-0. Junior defenseman Tommy Miller was credited with the short-handed goal.
The green and white would tack on one more before the first period ended. With 37.4 seconds to go, senior center Patrick Khodorenko tied up his man on the faceoff, prompting the puck to break free for senior wing Sam Saliba. Saliba drove in, picked up the puck, and fired a shot in to put Michigan State up 3-0 after 20 minutes of play.
MSU kept the momentum going in the second period. Just six minutes in, sophomore defenseman Dennis Cesana was camping out in the left faceoff circle, unaccounted for, as he received a pass. He quickly flipped the puck past Salmenkangas, scoring his fourth goal of the season as the Spartans went up 4-0.
With 4:43 to go in the second, the Bulldogs would finally get on the board. FSU defenseman Nate Kallen brought the puck up on a 2-on-1 with teammate Jake Transit following close behind. Kallen carried the puck just over the goal line and placed a pass perfectly on Transit’s stick, who tapped it in to cut the deficit to 4-1.
It didn’t take long for Michigan State to respond, as the offense continued their control of the game. Khodorenko would score his team-leading 10th goal of the season, bringing the puck in the offensive zone and rifling a shot that missed wide. The shot bounced right back out to Khodorenko, who put home the rebound to increase the Spartan lead to 5-1 after two periods of play.
Ferris State would get another power play opportunity late in the third period, hoping to score on the right net this time. FSU center Jason Tackett slid a pass through the slot to Kallen, who finished the one-timer to make the game 5-2 with just 8:07 to play.
Senior goaltender John Lethemon finished with 22 saves, and MSU was able to salvage a win in the GLI before having to wait ten days until their next game.
“Today, we just wanted to come in and work hard and play together,” Cesana said. “Obviously, we had success doing that. When we’re all on the same page, we play a lot better as a team, and it usually shows success for us.”
The Spartans don’t play again until Jan. 10, 2020, when they host Minnesota for a weekend series at Munn Ice Arena. The start time for game one is set for 6 p.m.