At the end of a week filled with heartbreak and grief for the Michigan State community, Spartan hockey fell in an upsetting loss to Wisconsin, 6-2. MSU finished 3-1 on the season against the Badgers, splitting wins with them this weekend after picking up a commanding 6-2 victory on Friday night.
The Spartans could not carry their success from the first game over into night two, despite some good looks in the final twenty minutes, passing the Badgers a senior night win.
Wisconsin got the first power play of the night as sophomore forward Jesse Tucker was caught hooking. The Spartans killed off the penalty, but the Badgers struck first when sophomore forward Liam Malmquist found the back of the net just eight seconds after the power play ended at 4:20.
Wisconsin earned another opportunity on the man-advantage when graduate student defenseman Christian Krygier sat for interference, but the Badgers were unable to capitalize.
The Spartans added more penalties to their plate when senior forward Jagger Joshua recorded two minors for roughing and hitting after the whistle at 9:58 in the first period. At the same time, freshman defenseman Tyson Jugnauth was also assessed for a roughing penalty.
Seven seconds into their third power play of the night, junior forward Carson Bantle gave the Badgers a 2-0 lead over the Spartans.
Michigan State entered the locker room for first intermission with four shots on goal to Wisconsin’s 14.
Junior forward Mathieu De St. Phalle notched his sixth goal of the season 2:02 into the second period to give the Badgers a 3-0 lead.
About three minutes later, junior defenseman Nash Nienhuis got Michigan State on the board at 3:50 of the second with help from Joshua and freshman forward Daniel Russell.
Despite Nienhuis’ goal, the Spartans couldn’t keep up with Wisconsin’s offensive momentum and graduate student forward Jack Gorniak pushed the Badgers lead to 4-1 at 5:25 in the second.
Playing better in the second frame, the Spartans fought to stay in the game with fifth-year defenseman Cole Krygier putting them within two at the 11:16 mark. It was Krygier’s tenth goal of the season.
The Spartans were handed their first power play of the night when freshman defenseman Ben Dexheimer was called for cross checking junior forward Zach Dubinsky. MSU challenged the decision on grounds for a major, but the officials kept their original call, revoking the Spartans of their timeout.
MSU entered the third period still trailing by two, with 14 shots on goal, while Wisconsin had 27. The Spartans were awarded the first power play of the period, but were unable to find the net.
With 10:29 left to play, Christian Krygier hooked Wisconsin senior forward Owen Lindmark, sending Krygier to the box and handing the Badgers their fifth power play opportunity of the night.
The Spartans had a few solid chances in the third period, outshooting Wisconsin 14-9, but they were unable to add any points to the board. The Badgers on the other hand, had two more left in them. The first was by sophomore defenseman Corson Ceulemans, who recorded his seventh goal of the season at 16:18.
MSU pulled St. Cyr in exchange for an extra skater with 2:47 left to play. De St. Phalle secured his second goal of the night with less than two minutes remaining to put Wisconsin up by four.
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With the loss, the Spartans sit at 34 points in the conference, where they will stay with no remaining series left in the regular season. Michigan State no longer controls its own destiny to host a conference tournament game for the first time, but can still finish fourth place or higher depending on the results of next week's games.
MSU will have a week off before the first round of the Big Ten tournament on March 3-5.
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