Michigan State hockey returned home to Munn Ice Arena after a disappointing weekend on the road at Minnesota looking to add to its Big Ten conference points.
The Spartans got what they wanted, shutting out No. 20 Notre Dame, 3-0.
Both teams hit the ice, producing lots of pressure during the first five minutes of regulation. There were a number of aggressive hits including one that shoved freshman forward Tiernan Shoudy into the boards.
As for significant lineup changes, freshman forward Gavin Best replaced sophomore forward Jesse Tucker in the fourth line. Tucker has been in and out since the Ohio State series in January, but played in the second game against Minnesota last weekend.
Notre Dame’s leading point scorer, junior forward Ryder Rolston was out of the lineup for the Fighting Irish as well.
One of the best scoring chances from MSU in the first twenty minutes was off a spin-move pass from senior forward Jagger Joshua to freshman forward Karsen Dowart, but the shot was caught by Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel. Dorwart had another opportunity at 16:39 after he nearly tipped the puck into the net, getting a loud reaction from the crowd, but Bischel saved it yet again.
MSU was forced to kill off a major penalty after graduate student defenseman Christian Krygier sat in the box for five minutes on a checking from behind call. The Spartans’ efforts were successful despite five shots on goal from Notre Dame.
The Spartans netted the first puck of the game with 2:30 left in the first period via freshman defenseman Matt Basgall, but it was overturned as officials ruled he was offsides.
Sophomore defenseman David Gucciardi drew a penalty from sophomore forward Justin Janicke 55 seconds into the second period, putting the Spartans on their first power play of the night. Notre Dame got another opportunity on the man-advantage less than three minutes later when senior forward Erik Middendorf sat for elbowing.
Both teams skated 4-on-4 after Fighting Irish junior defenseman Drew Bavaro was called for hooking at 4:04. Shortly after, St. Cyr made one of his best saves of the game when he stopped a breakaway shot from graduate student forward Chayse Primeau.
The Spartans got to skate 5-on-3 after sophomore defenseman Ryan Helliwell joined Bavaro in the box on a delay of game penalty. Six seconds later, Joshua scored on the two-man advantage to put Michigan State on the board at 6:10.
Taking advantage of MSU’s offensive momentum, Middendorf scored his seventh goal of the season to put MSU up 2-0 with 8:37 left in the second period.
Just a minute later, the Spartans went back on the power play after Notre Dame’s junior forward Landon Slaggert was whistled for cross checking. MSU produced two shots during the two minute infraction, but couldn’t add to its two-goal lead before the second period intermission.
After a quiet first half to the third period, graduate defenseman Michael Underwood went off for hooking Primeau, handing the Irish another opportunity on the man-advantage, but MSU killed it off.
With 6:43 left to play in the game, both teams returned to 4-on-4 hockey as senior forward Nico Müller and Helliwell sat on a roughing after the whistle call.
With more than five minutes left in the game, Notre Dame opted to pull Bischel to increase its scoring chances with an extra skater.
With 51.6 seconds left in the game, Müller launched the puck down the ice from the neutral zone into the empty net. With the victory, St. Cyr earned his third shutout of the season, finishing the night perfect, with 32 saves.
Michigan State and Notre Dame will head back to Munn tomorrow night for the series finale at 4 p.m. The action will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Senior day ceremonies will take place following the conclusion of Saturday’s game.