ANN ARBOR, Mich. – No. 12 Michigan State loaded No. 6 Michigan with offensive pressure, but the 37 shots on goal amounted to nothing until senior forward Jagger Joshua scored with 5.1 to play to mark a 2-1 loss.
Michigan goaltender Erik Portillo was stupendous after a shaky Friday night, making 36 saves in the near-shutout.
Freshman forward Gavin Best made his Michigan State debut Saturday night, replacing senior forward Erik Middendorf on the Spartans’ third line.
Michigan State spent a large part of the first 10 minutes of the match in its own defensive end thanks to two minor penalties. The first was a charging penalty by graduate student defenseman Christian Krygier and the second was a too-many-men bench minor, served by Best.
The Wolverines got the scoring going on the second power play of the period. Michigan’s star defenseman Luke Hughes put a shot toward the net from near the blue line that hit the shoulder area of sophomore forward Dylan Duke and redirected into the net.
Sophomore forward Mackie Samoskevich left the game in the final minutes of the period for an unspecified reason, but would later return to the bench in the second period.
Michigan State came out strong to begin the second period, but Michigan walked away again with the lone goal of the period. Both teams had two power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize.
The Spartans had their best chance of the night following freshman forward Daniel Russell’s hooking penalty. Fresh out of the box, he was sprung on a breakaway chance, but Portillo shut the door. Immediately after, Michigan forward Rutger McGroarty had a breakaway of his own, but rang the puck off the crossbar.
Michigan added to its lead two minutes later with freshman forward T.J. Hughes’ second goal of the weekend.
MSU sophomore defenseman David Gucciardi, who has committed an atypical amount of turnovers over the last two weekends, gathered the puck in the corner but failed to clear it out of the zone. Hughes intercepted it, passed it off to a fellow Wolverine and burst to the net. Senior defenseman Keaton Pehrson fed Hughes across the ice, who guided the puck in the wide open back door of the net.
The Spartans pressured the Wolverines to start the third before earning a power play. Russell made a nice deflection from the slot, but MSU again just couldn’t convert.
MSU kept clawing but still couldn't break Portillo. Gucciardi was whistled for a tripping penalty with 4:36 left to play, putting a big hurdle in the Spartans' comeback plans. Michigan sophomore defenseman Luke Hughes scored with 3:09 to play, but it was immediately waived off with a Michigan skater in the crease.
Graduate goaltender Dylan St. Cyr left the net with 2:45 to play, but MSU still couldn't beat Portillo. St. Cyr was strong yet again Saturday, making 25 saves on the night. Freshman forward Karsen Dorwart and Joshua led MSU with six shots on goal each.
The Spartans will be idle until Dec. 27, when they will travel to Grand Rapids to take on Ferris State in the first round of the Great Lakes Invitational.
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