Senior forward Erik Middendorf was the star of Michigan State hockey’s 5-0 victory over Wisconsin Friday night, scoring his first goal of the season and then three more.
The Spartans and Badgers came out of the gate playing aggressive and fast hockey, but remained scoreless eight minutes into the first period.
Graduate goaltender Dylan St. Cyr had 12 saves in the first period while Wisconsin’s senior goaltender Jared Moe had 18.
Michigan State finally got on the board 11:58 into the period thanks to a goal from Middendorf. The scoreboard barely had time to adjust before he slid another into the net less than 15 seconds later.
As the first-period horn sounded with MSU leading 2-0, junior forward Zach Dubinsky got in a scrap with a Wisconsin skater and was thrown out of the game and dinged with a five-minute major penalty for face masking.
Michigan State carried its momentum from the first period into the second. Despite the extended man-advantage, Wisconsin was unsuccessful on its second power play of the game. It marked Michigan State’s 18th penalty killed in a row, dating back to Oct. 14 versus UMass-Lowell. The Spartans killed three more penalties on the night, leaving the game having killed 21 consecutive penalties.
Sophomore defenseman David Gucciardi was just shy of a goal 12:32 into the second period, but another save from Moe kept the puck out of the back of the net.
Middendorf scored his third of the night from a one-timer on the power play in the second period.
Two back-to-back shots from the Badgers’ junior forward Mathieu De St. Phalle were unable to find the net thanks to stark saves by St. Cyr and a block from graduate defenseman Cole Krygier.
Immediately following another unsuccessful Wisconsin power play, sophomore forward Tanner Kelly converted on a two-on-one with an assist from senior forward Jagger Joshua.
MSU built on its early momentum and continued to dominate Wisconsin in the third period.
Middendorf pocketed his fourth goal of the night 6:10 into the period by flipping the puck over Moe. He was assisted by junior defenseman Nash Nienhuis, who had two assists on the night, and freshman defenseman Viktor Hurtig.
Sophomore forward Jesse Tucker was whistled for tripping at 18:02 of the third, but the Spartans were able to keep Wisconsin off the board, securing St. Cyr's 44-save shutout, his first shutout as a Spartan.
Michigan State and Wisconsin return to Munn tomorrow night for the second game of the series. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. with the game streaming on BTN+.
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