Michigan State found itself facing a three-goal deficit on the road in a tough atmosphere after giving up a shorthanded goal to Ferris State. But the Spartan bench did not seem too concerned.
“We knew that we could get the job done. We believe in the work that we put in day to day and week to week. And we knew that we could win that game,” junior forward Erik Middendorf said.
Special teams created the early deficit for Michigan State. Ferris scored the only goal of the first period on the power play, rocketing a one-timer past senior goalkeeper Drew DeRidder.
The Bulldogs started to pile on in the second period. FSU took advantage of yet another power play attempt, extending the lead to two with a wrist-shot from the Bulldogs leading goal scorer, Bradley Marek. The lethal Ferris State penalty kill (tied for second in the nation with four SHG on the season) tallied a shorthanded goal just over a minute later. 3-0 FSU.
Halfway through the second, the momentum started to shift. In spite of a three-goal deficit, the Spartans started to control the pace of the game, creating quality scoring chances and tilting the ice towards the Bulldogs defensive zone. However, goaltender Logan Stein was stellar between the pipes for Ferris, gloving and knocking away MSU’s scoring chances.
After a roughing penalty on Ferris State, MSU was given its third power play attempt of the game with just over two minutes left in the period. It was junior forward Josh Nodler that finally solved the goaltending puzzle for the Spartans. He found himself undefended at the front of the net and knocked in a nasty backhander. 3-1 FSU.
Michigan State was given two power play attempts in the first ten minutes of the third, but the Bulldogs stopped both attempts handedly. The first half of the final period slogged on without any real offensive chances for either side. Ferris was extremely comfortable dropping back its forwards to the neutral zone and mucking up any sort of offensive zone entry attempt by the Spartans. After the two failed power plays, the two-goal hole seemed just a little too deep for the Spartans to overcome.
But Michigan State kept pushing. With six and a half minutes left in the game, fifth year forward Mitchell Lewandowski found a hole in the Bulldogs defense. He blitzed past the blue line and dropped the puck behind for sophomore forward Jeremy Davidson. Davidson slipped it to freshman forward Jesse Tucker at the point, who spun around and slung the puck to a wide-open Cole Krygier. The senior defenseman ripped the puck into the net on a one-timer. 3-2 FSU.
With just three minutes left in the game, senior defenseman Dennis Cesana activated from the blue line, patiently moving forward with the puck and waiting for an opening. He found it. Cesana slung it over FSU’s goaltender and knotted up the game in a 3-3 tie.
Michigan State was not satisfied with an overtime victory. The Spartans kept the pressure up in the offensive zone, making the goaltender work in the waning minutes. After a scramble at the front of the Ferris net, Middendorf knocked in a rebound and scored his second game-winning goal of the season with just 20 seconds left. 4-3 MSU.
The victory secured a series sweep for Michigan State, its second sweep of the season. The win also pushed MSU above .500 a third of the way through the season.
Michigan State returns home next weekend for a two-game series with the Wisconsin Badgers. The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. Friday night at Munn Ice Arena.
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