Coming off of a bye week, the Michigan State Hockey team was back at Munn Ice Arena for a thrilling game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where they took a strong win for night one with a final score of 5-2.
As the go green, go white chants ripped through Munn, the teams were both off in a flash from the very start as they quickly sent in a few shots on goal within the first two minutes.
As the teams laid hits left and right, the shot count continued to climb as the Spartans kept a consistent lead in their shots on goal, ripping the puck any chance that they could, even having a few close breakaways.
The Spartans were the first to land in the box as a two-minute minor came about on sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart for boarding. However, the team was on top of their game as freshman goalie Trey Augustine played as their brick wall for the penalty kill and prevented a goal.
MSU quickly earned a power play of its own as a hooking call was made on Notre Dame, sending the Spartans on their first-man advantage of the game with a minute and a half to go in the first period, but the team was unable to capitalize on that one.
But with four seconds to go in the first MSU power play, the Fighting Irish landed a second one after another hooking call, and the Spartans looked for the opportunity to capitalize. Just a minute into the power play, fifth-year forward Nicolas Müller took a high sticking penalty, and the team killed the penalty with a few incredible saves yet again from Augustine.
Finally, after a scoreless 26 minutes, MSU lit the lamp first with a quick goal from sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy, assisted by junior forward Tanner Kelly and freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, the Fighting Irish retaliated with a goal of their own, tying the teams at 1-1 just 19 seconds after Michigan State's first.
Just about halfway through the second period, MSU logged a penalty on a tripping call from Levshunov, putting them on the penalty kill, but Notre Dame had too many men on the ice, leaving the teams to 4-on-4 for 40 seconds.
With just 23 seconds left in the man advantage, sophomore forward Joey Larson managed to go top shelf for his ninth goal of the season, which was assisted by junior forward Red Savage, and the Spartans were ahead 2-1.
The second period remained mellow until the last 34 seconds, when tempers flared quickly, resulting in a two-minute minor on both teams for unsportsmanlike conduct, causing another 4-on-4 situation on the ice.
Both teams started the third with the 4-on-4, and on a breakaway shot, Levshunov was able to send one off the near sidebar on a tight angle to take the Spartans ahead by two just 18 seconds into the final period.
With just about 8 minutes into the final, the Spartans headed back on the penalty kill after a hooking call on freshman defenseman Austin Oravetz. This time, the team was could not keep their opponents out of the net as Notre Dame went up to make the score 3-2.
Just over halfway through the final, Notre Dame landed themselves in the penalty box again for a roughing minor, allowing the Spartans to capitalize on another power play, which sophomore forward Isaac Howard was able to do for the team, making the score 4-2.
The Spartans were able to keep the puck in their offensive zone for a majority of the third period, where they produced shot after shot. With two and a half minutes to go, the Fighting Irish pulled their goalie to give them the man advantage, but sophomore forward Daniel Russell took the puck on a breakaway to bring them up yet again on an empty net goal.
With two late penalties coming from each team for slashing on Levshunov, followed by unsportsmanlike conduct from ND, the teams finished the game 4-on-4, but the Spartans solidified a win with the final score of 5-2.
The Spartans are back at Munn for the final night of the series against the Fighting Irish, where they hope to finish strong and take home a sweep. The game starts at 6:00 p.m. and will stream on Big Ten Plus.
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