The Michigan State hockey team was systematically dismantled Friday night by their in-state rival Michigan Wolverines, 9-0, in Ann Arbor.
MSU, who was four days removed from a series split with Penn State, looked to build on the momentum of Monday’s victory, while the Wolverines played their first game since Dec. 9.
The Wolverines showed absolutely no rust as they skated around MSU following a month-long game absence and came out flying in the first period.
Michigan State had a chance early in the game to get things going with a power-play just two minutes into the game. MSU put one shot on net by Cole Krygier, and it was all downhill from there. Michigan would go on to score three goals over the next 6:26 on the sticks of Thomas Bordeleau, Nick Blankenburg, and Johnny Beecher.
The barrage of first-period goals sent Drew DeRidder, who got the start in net and has been fantastic all year long, to the bench about half way through the period in favor of Pierce Charleson, a freshman from Ontario, Canada, for his first action in green and white.
His skaters did not do him many favors upon his first action on the ice as they struggled to even leave their defensive zone. Charleson was immediately tested but stood strong making seven saves in the first without allowing a goal.
Going into the locker room for the first intermission, the Spartans hoped to make some adjustments and ride some of the little momentum they might have gained from Charleson entering the game. Nothing changed though, and the lackluster performance from the first period continued on for the rest of the game.
Frustration from MSU started to show as they took five penalties in the final 40 minutes, resulting in four separate power plays. The Wolverines would capitalize on two of those with a power-play goal in the second and third period and then four even-strength goals to give Michigan a whopping nine-goal shutout win.
“I think it was more on our forwards just not doing a good job with the puck and getting on the wrong side of things and our third guy not having a great angle,” Head Coach Danton Cole said after the game. “... There were about 9 million things, but the guys have to play with the right intensity and when you play a team like Michigan with some of the players they have it can get away from you quickly.”
Tommy Apap, who got dinged up in Sunday’s game against Penn State, missed his second straight game Friday and the team felt his absence from the lineup.
“We missed him on the ice, especially faceoffs and penalty killing," Cole said. "He’s heavy and can give us some good matchups. We had a few other guys out as well tonight, and you have to battle through those things. Everybody goes through it."
Forward A.J. Hodges, who missed the entire Penn State series, remained out of the lineup again Friday while defenseman Nash Nienhuis missed his first game of the season.
Michigan outshot Michigan State, 21-44. Charlie Combs, one of MSU' top goal scorers, lead the team with five shots on goal including a breakaway scoring chance in the second period that Michigan starting goaltender Strauss Mann saved.
Charleson finished the game with 29 saves and six goals allowed in 48 minutes of ice time.
“I thought through the end of the first, through most of the second he did a really nice job and had some bad puck luck," Cole said. "There were two or three where guys were falling down, pucks are bouncing off things and going in, so that was unfortunate. But, he got his feet wet and like any other goalie, I’m sure he would have liked to have given up a few less. But, by the same token he got in there and battled and has something to build on."
The Spartans will have a chance at revenge against their in-state rivals as both teams will travel to East Lansing for the second game of the series at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at Munn Ice Arena.
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