Saturday, December 4, 2021

FINAL: Notre Dame 2, Michigan State 0, Senior Day game goes poorly as Spartans get shutout

February 27, 2021
Notre Dame celebrates as they score their second goal in the third period while DeRidder tries to comprehend what had happened. The Fighting Irish shutout the Spartans 2-0 on Feb. 27, 2021.
Notre Dame celebrates as they score their second goal in the third period while DeRidder tries to comprehend what had happened. The Fighting Irish shutout the Spartans 2-0 on Feb. 27, 2021. —
Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Michigan State’s offensive woes continued Saturday afternoon as they were shutout for the second game in a row, a 2-0 loss to Notre Dame at Munn Ice Arena on Senior Day.

The entire game was riddled with penalties by both teams.

Just five minutes into the game, the Spartans found themselves down a skater when sophomore Jagger Joshua delivered a crushing check from behind on Notre Dame defenseman Matt Hellickson. The senior, who recorded two assists Friday night, was slow to get up but would return to play with Joshua receiving a major penalty and game misconduct.

Great puck movement and extended time in the attacking zone led to a Notre Dame goal off of a one-time shot from the slot by forward Colin Theisen that whistled past Drew DeRidder, who got the start in net after getting the night off Friday.

That is a rough start for a team that can be spotty with their energy, especially after a deflating penalty and goal like that.

“It was definitely tough whenever you have a five-minute (penalty). It feels like we have had a lot of those this year,” Senior defenseman Tommy Apap said. “It is difficult to kill but once we got out of it I thought we came back with some jump, but like Sam said we are just struggling to score goals. If you come back with the energy, that is great, but eventually, you got to start putting the puck in the net.”

Still holding onto a 1-0 lead in the last minute of the second period, another major penalty and game misconduct was assessed, this time with Notre Dame the guilty party. Theisen, who scored the eventual game-winning goal in the first period, was originally given a minor penalty for elbowing MSU center Josh Nodler with :34.8 left in the period. Then after deeming contact was made to the head, Theisen was sent to the locker room for the remainder of the game to go along with a five-minute major penalty.

The Spartans power play, like it has been all year long, was abysmal even with the extra-long man advantage. Not a single shot on goal challenged Notre Dame goaltender Dylan St. Cyr during Theisen’s five-minute major penalty, keeping it a one-goal game.

Notre Dame got the ever-so-important insurance goal while on the power play from an interference penalty by MSU defensemen Christian Krygier. It was a brother-and-brother connection as Graham Slaggert fed his brother and fellow linemate Landon Slaggert down low who stuffed the puck past DeRidder for Landon Slaggert’s second goal of the series.

Down two goals, Michigan State has gifted a chance to get back into the game thanks to two penalties by Notre Dame’s Nate Clurman and Spencer Stastney. MSU forward Jake Smith also was given a penalty simultaneously with Clurman, resulting in Michigan State having a four-on-three power play for just over one minute.

Junior defenseman Dennis Cesana had the Spartans' best chance on a shot that just hit the post, but still, nothing would give.

MSU got one final chance when DeRidder was pulled from the net with 55 seconds to play, but a few blocked shots by the Fighting Irish sealed another road victory for Notre Dame.

In total, both teams had seven penalties for 25 minutes. Good teams are able to capitalize on other teams' mistakes, and that is what proved to be the difference Saturday between a victorious Notre Dame and a defeated Michigan State.

“Bottom line is that they did a nice job killing. We turned some pucks over and that just kills time,” Cole said.

St. Cyr was fantastic in net again for the Irish making 29 saves, 56 total on the weekend, earning his second straight shutout. DeRidder played well too making 32 stops.

For Michigan State, they have now scored just one goal in the past three games after also being shutout Friday night. It is just another chapter in the book of the offensive struggles that have resulted in MSU not scoring more than two goals in a game since Jan. 9.

“We have been challenged with scoring goals a little bit this year, but, like I said, guys have done a lot of work,” Cole admitted after the game. “It is working on getting your shots through and it's working on volume and quantity as much as quality then all of the sudden you will bang in a couple goals that are around the net.”

Senior forward Brody Stevens led the team with four shots on goal, followed by five other skaters with three shots on goal.

Michigan State (7-15-2) will stay home next weekend as they welcome the Wisconsin Badgers in town for games on Friday and Saturday.

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