Friday, February 3, 2023

FINAL: No. 4 Minnesota dismantles No. 13 Michigan State late in 5-0 shutout

December 2, 2022
5th year defensemen Cole Krygier (8) keeps the puck away from University of Minnesota players during a game at Munn Ice Arena on Dec. 2, 2022. The Spartans lost to the Gophers with a score of 5-0.
5th year defensemen Cole Krygier (8) keeps the puck away from University of Minnesota players during a game at Munn Ice Arena on Dec. 2, 2022. The Spartans lost to the Gophers with a score of 5-0. —
Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

Michigan State hockey’s early season success drew a large home crowd to Munn Ice Arena Friday night as No. 13 Michigan State took on No. 4 Minnesota in the first of a two game series. 

Despite the support from rowdy fans, what started as a fair fight quickly turned into a nightmare for the Spartans as the Gophers thrashed MSU in the final period of the game, handing them a 5-0 shutout loss. 

Both teams came out of the gate playing physically and showing strong defensive skills, but Minnesota ultimately capitalized on MSU’s mistakes and proved why it's the fourth best team in the country. 

After eight intense minutes, Minnesota drew blood first with a goal from freshman forward Logan Cooley assisted by sophomore forward Mason Nevers at the 7:54 mark. 

Michigan State dominated in faceoffs in the first period, but turnovers were an issue, preventing the Spartans from shooting on goal. MSU ended the first twenty minutes of play with just five shots to Minnesota’s 12.

The second period was a battle of the goalies. Graduate goaltender Dylan St. Cyr had 10 saves while Minnesota’s Justen Close ended the period with eight. 

MSU came back out after the first intermission with better control of the puck and looked like it. Shots were an even 7-7 at the 14:30 mark in the second and MSU finally started to build momentum. 

Just as it looked like the Spartans might have a chance to tie things up, Minnesota’s freshman forward Rhett Pitlick snuck one past St. Cyr at the 17:03 mark, giving the Gophers a two-goal advantage before heading into the locker room after the second. 

After a solid effort from the Spartans in the second period, Minnesota took control and strangled MSU in the third. Michigan State put up an abundance of shots and had a few offensive bursts, but all were ultimately shutdown by Close and the rest of the Gophers. 

Minnesota put up three goals in the second half of the third period, ruining MSU’s chances at any sort of comeback. 

Junior forward Bryce Brodzinski recorded Minnesota’s first of three goals in the final ten minutes of the game, thanks to assists from Nevers and sophomore defense Brock Faber. Sophomore forward Matthew Knies put up his first goal of the night at the 12:38 mark, less than a minute after Brodzinski’s. The final nail in MSU’s coffin was a goal from Cooley in the final two minutes of the game, his second on the night. 

The Gophers ultimately outshot the Spartans 39-25.

One silver lining for MSU might be the fact it managed to stay out of the penalty box the whole night. However, there were no penalties called on either team during the entire game. 

The Spartans return to Munn tomorrow night with the opportunity to split the series with the Gophers. Puck drop is at 6 p.m.

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