Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Final: The Spartans take their first win of the season against Lake Superior State.

October 7, 2023
MSU defenseman Maxim Štrbák carries the puck past the opposing bench at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Spartans won the early evening matchup against Lake Superior State 5-2.
MSU defenseman Maxim Štrbák carries the puck past the opposing bench at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The Spartans won the early evening matchup against Lake Superior State 5-2. —
Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

The Michigan State Spartans kicked off their first official game of the season at Munn Ice Arena for some Spartan Hockey, where they took a 5-2 domination against Lake Superior State University.

Before the game began, the team recognized Ron Mason, a Canadian hockey player, and a former Spartan hockey coach. Before his time at MSU, he also coached at Bowling Green, and Lake Superior State University (LSSU). The rink is now named in the memory of Mason and his legacy he made at Munn.

The Spartans started out strong, playing extremely tough defense against LSSU, despite an early power play that the Lakers were given following a high sticking call against sophomore forward Isaac Howard. The Spartans were able to fight off the Laker’s power play, with an extremely effective penalty kill. 

With less than two minutes left in the first period, fifth year forward, and alternate captain, Nicolas Müller netted one to put the Spartans ahead 1-0. The goal was assisted by senior forward, Jeremey Davidson, and junior defenseman, David Gucciardi.

Müller was the leading scorer for the Spartan’s last season, with nine goals, and 25 assists, landing him with 34 total points. He was 14th in the Big Ten for points. 

Michigan State went on the power play to kick off the second period after a hit from behind from LSSU’s Bryan Huggins. Quickly after, a holding penalty from LSSU forward Dawson Tritt gave the Spartans a 5 on 3 advantage. 

The Spartans were able to covert the power play into a two goal advantage. This goal was given to transfer forward Isaac Howard. His goal was assisted by Müller, which puts him at two points on the game. 

At even strength between teams, assisted by junior forward Tanner Kelly, and freshman defenseman Artyom LevshunovNash Nienhuis netted his first goal as the captain. The defenseman last season played in 32 games, had four goals and 19 assists. He was named captain a month prior to the team’s first game.

While the Spartans held off LSSU until the metaphorical “half time”, halfway through the second period, senior forward Tyler WIlliams made it 3-1, giving the Laker’s their first goal. With this goal, the shots still favor the Spartans (26 SOG), compared to the Lakers with 12 shots on goal. 

After an MSU slashing penalty, the Lakers were awarded a penalty shot, where senior forward Harrison Roy scored on Trey Augustine, making the game 3-2 after leading by three goals for over half of the second period. 

The end of the second period came with another penalty on the Spartans for kneeing, sending off sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy. Half of the power play was spent at the end of the second period, while the other half played out through the first minute of the third, where they were able to hold off the Lakers on what looks to be a new and improved penalty kill for the Spartans. 

The Spartans, with 38 faceoff wins, and 29 shots on goal, led the game. Augustine held off the Lakers through the third, still with a score of 3-2. Both teams played hard defensively and offensively, but the next goal, came from junior forward Red Savage — his first as a Spartan. His first goal was assisted by Nienhuis, and  sophomore forward Joey Larson, who transferred from Northern Michigan University this past year, where he had 18 points (four goals, 14 assists).

With less than five minutes to go, junior defenseman Viktor Hurtig took another one home, making the score 5-2 in an entertaining third period for the Spartans, assisted by sophomore defenseman Matt Basgall, and Red Savage. 

The Spartans ended the grueling battle against their formal rivals with a score of 5-2, with a variety of players getting on the board. Both teams take to the ice again tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Munn Arena on Big Ten Plus. 

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