No. 20 Michigan State hockey (12-10-1) was able to secure first place in the Big Ten last night after taking down Wisconsin (8-12-1) 4-0. The victory gave MSU 25 points in the conference this season and put them one point ahead of No. 6 Penn State, who fell to Michigan 6-0 on the same night.
Their third win in as many games this season against the Badgers, the Spartans were led by seniors John Lethemon and Jerad Rosburg. Lethemon posted his fifth shutout of the season, collecting 39 saves, and Rosburg found the back of the net twice.
"There's 11 games to go and a lot of work to be done,” coach Danton Cole said, according to an article from the MSU athletics department's website. “If we can keep our mindset, get better and keep grinding and believing in each other, good things will happen. Our group of guys has worked tremendously hard. Not just this year but from when I first got here, through the springs and summers."
There was no score after the first period, but Wisconsin was in control for most of the initial twenty minutes of play. Cole credited his players for sticking through the slow start until they were able to find their game.
"We were on our heels at the beginning,” Cole said, according to the article. “Wisconsin was skating and moving the puck. They were kind of getting our forwards separated both ways. Weathering the storm is a good way to put it.”
Junior forward Tommy Apap would get things going in the second period, deflecting a shot from Rosburg in for his fifth goal of the season.
The flood gates finally opened in the third period. Just over a minute in, senior forward Sam Saliba picked up his 8th goal of the season, firing a shot from the right circle past U-W goalie Jack Berry to put the green and white up 2-0.
At the 12:29 mark of the third, MSU would cash in on their fourth power play opportunity of the night, as Rosburg scored to increase the lead to 3-0. Minutes later, Rosburg scored again to all but seal the deal, giving the Spartans their first win at the Kohl Center in just over two years.
"We stayed disciplined in the third period, and (Lethemon) was frustrating them a little, and they took penalties,'' Rosburg said, according to the article.
MSU will go for the series sweep tonight, as the same two teams will go at it for the fourth and final time this season. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.