In the final game of the regular season, Michigan State finally snapped its 13-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Penn State. The victory is MSU's first since Dec. 30, 2021, against Michigan Tech.
Michigan State's seniors made their presence felt in their final game at Munn Ice Arena. Senior goaltender Drew DeRidder was especially impactful, finishing with 38 saves and a .974 save percentage. Senior forward Adam Goodsir's goal in the final seconds of the first period wound up as the game-winner.
Junior forward Josh Nodler struck first for Michigan State in the first period, knocking in a rebound from junior forward Jagger Joshua at the front of the net. The goal was his second of the series.
On just their fifth shot of the period, the Nittany Lions tied things up. Junior forward Kevin Wall tipped in a cross-crease pass at the front of the net with just under a minute left in the first.
With under 10 seconds left in the first period, Goodsir ripped an odd angle shot in front of the faceoff circle. The puck trickled past Penn State's sophomore goaltender Liam Souliere, effectively re-securing MSU's lead before intermission.
DeRidder held the team together in the second. Penn State controlled the pace of play, tossing shot after shot at the goaltender and tilting the ice towards MSU's defensive zone. However, thanks to a few blocked shots and some key saves, the Spartans clung to their one-goal lead. Neither team found the back of the net in the middle period.
MSU entered the third in a familiar position — holding a lead against a Penn State team desperate to steal the game.
Michigan State's resolve to win was tested mightily just over six minutes into the final period. Senior defenseman Christian Krygier received a game misconduct for a check from behind, and Penn State went to a five-minute power play.
The Nittany Lions threw everything they had at DeRidder, staying true to their identity as a shoot-first squad. However, Michigan State blocked a handful of shots to slow the onslaught. Whenever the puck actually made it to the net, it was knocked away by DeRidder. The Spartans killed off the entire penalty, still hanging on to the one goal lead.
Desperate to find the tying goal, Penn State kept up the pressure in the offensive zone. But DeRidder stifled any hope of a comeback, protecting the crease in one of his best games of season. With under two minutes left in the game, the Nittany Lions pulled their goaltender in one final act of desperation. Strong forechecking, more blocked shots and more DeRidder saves kept the lead intact for MSU, and the Spartans clung on for their first win of 2022.
Saturday night's win over the Nittany Lions marks the end of the regular season. With 17 points, Michigan State will finish last in the Big Ten for the second straight year.
However, the season is not over yet for MSU. The Spartans will enter the Big Ten tournament as the seventh seed, facing off against Michigan. The conference tournament kicks off on March 22.
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