The Michigan State hockey team (15-17-1) picked up a big 3-1 win against Notre Dame (14-13-6) on Friday night, snapping a four-game losing streak and pulling to within one point of the Fighting Irish in the Big Ten Standings.
Senior Logan Lambdin, junior Tommy Apap and sophomore Dennis Cesana all found the back of the net for the Spartans and senior goaltender John Lethemon finished with 40 saves. MSU still needs to win tomorrow to have a chance at home ice advantage in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, but tonight lifted a weight off of the team’s back given their recent struggles.
Apap got the scoring started late in the first period, picking up his seventh goal of the season. Positioned in front of the net with 6:17 to go, Apap redirected a Butrus Ghafari snap shot from the blue line right between the legs of ND goaltender Cale Morris and into the net. Both teams had 12 shots on goal after 20 minutes of play and the Spartans carried a 1-0 lead into the second.
The Fighting Irish didn’t waste any time getting things going as the second period got underway, tying the game up just 1:23 in. ND forward Colin Theisen brought the puck up the left side of the ice, dodging multiple Spartan defenders. Putting one last move on Ghafari, Theisen had a clear look on the net and shot one over the right shoulder of Lethemon to tie the game 1-1.
MSU would respond just minutes later, as Cesana scored his seventh goal of the season on an offensive rush to give the Spartans the lead once again. Cesana leads all Spartan defensemen this season with 21 points.
With 4:44 remaining in the second period, Lambdin doubled Michigan State’s lead. ND defenseman Matt Hellickson tried to clear the puck out of his defensive zone, but Lambdin was able to keep it in. Instead of shooting right away, Lambdin was patient and slid the puck over to sophomore Josh Nodler, who gave a pass right back to Lambdin. Lambdin was able to tap in the easy goal to give MSU a 3-1 lead heading into the final period.
Neither team scored a goal in the third period and, despite being outshot 41 to 29, the Spartans were able to come away with the elusive victory.
The same two teams will battle again tomorrow at 6 p.m. The game can be streamed on the NBC app.