Friday, February 21, 2020

No. 19 Michigan State hockey can't contain Minnesota's top line, lose 4-1

February 8, 2020
A referee puts his arms between players during the game against Minnesota on Jan. 18, 2018 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans fell to the Gophers 5-4.
A referee puts his arms between players during the game against Minnesota on Jan. 18, 2018 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans fell to the Gophers 5-4. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

The red-hot Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-10-4) extended their winning streak to six Friday night, taking down No. 19 Michigan State (13-13-1) by a score of 4-1.

Junior forward Mitch Lewandowski scored the lone goal for the Spartans, while senior goaltender John Lethemon finished with 22 saves. The green and white are catching Minnesota at the wrong time, as the Gophers have won eight of their last nine games and now sit alone at the top of the Big Ten with 31 points, three points ahead of MSU.

The Spartans couldn’t contain Minnesota’s top line of Blake McLaughlin, Scott Reedy, and Sammy Walker, as the trio combined for eight points on the night. McLaughlin got the scoring started for the Gophers just over a minute into the game, collecting his fifth goal of the season. Lewandowski would tie the game up seven minutes later, scoring from the slot on the power play, but that would prove to be all the offense MSU could muster up.

Minnesota forward Sampo Ranta scored his 11th goal of the season to break the tie early in the second period, putting the Gophers ahead 2-1. It appeared the score would stay that way heading into the third, but Reedy had other plans. Finding the loose puck as time trickled down, Reedy flipped one past Lethemon with just 1.9 seconds remaining in the period as Minnesota went up 3-1 after two periods of play.

Reedy added his second goal of the game late in the third period, scoring an empty-net goal to secure the 4-1 victory for Minnesota. The Spartans were outshot 26-23 on the night.

"We started doing some of the things in the third period we talked about that we have to do to have some success against them," said coach Danton Cole, according to a statement from the university athletics website. "I thought we got a little better over the period and we'll need to start tomorrow where we left off tonight."

The same two teams will meet again tomorrow as Michigan State will look to split the weekend series. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit Plus.

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