Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Final: Michigan State hockey falls to the Golden Gophers 5-1, splits series

January 27, 2024
<p>Minnesota junior forward Aaron Huglen #7 flies by the goal after scoring against the Spartans at Munn Ice Arena on Jan. 27, 2024. The Spartans lost to the Gophers 5-1.</p>

Minnesota junior forward Aaron Huglen #7 flies by the goal after scoring against the Spartans at Munn Ice Arena on Jan. 27, 2024. The Spartans lost to the Gophers 5-1.

Photo by Jonah Brown | The State News

Coming off of a thrilling 3-2 comeback win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers last night, the Spartans welcome their Big Ten opponents back to Munn for night two to finish what they started and sweep the team, but with the rally in the third period from night one, the Spartans were never able to come back from their deficit and eventually took a 5-1 loss.

Off of the first face off, the Gophers took possession but the Spartans were the team to have the first shot on goal as they flew onto the ice and through offensive zone, as chants from the Munnsters rang loudly

Michigan State were the first ones to end up with a power play after a tripping call was made on the Gophers, but the man advantage didn't last long as a holding call was made on freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov just 23 seconds in. As the 4-on-4 was killed off, Minnesota capitalized on its short-man advantage and scored its first goal early on.

The Gophers -- just a minute later -- ended up with another goal just to the side of freshman goalie Trey Augustine, but the Spartans knew that being down 2-0 meant nothing until the game was over and there was still more fight to give.

At the 13 minute mark in the first period, the Spartans struck on another penalty as they were called for too many men on the ice and just 45 seconds later the Golden Gophers landed the same penalty to cut their man advantage short and give the Spartans an opportunity to score, but neither team capitalized which left Minnesota still up by two. 

The Spartans continued to fight tooth and nail through the end of the first period, keeping up with their shots on goal, and as the clock ran down, Minnesota almost went up with a score of 3-0, but it was quickly called away by the refs. 

The two teams ended the first period with the Gophers leading on just those two lone goals, but after a tough first 40 minutes in the Friday game, the Spartans knew exactly what needed to happen to get back into the game and look for the sweep.

Michigan State was hot on the heels of Minnesota coming into the second, but the Golden Gophers were the first yet again the capitalize in the second period as they continued to go up with a score of 3-0.

Just over five minutes into the second, the Spartans landed on another penalty kill after a hooking call was made on senior forward Jeremy Davidson and the Spartans were able to use their great special teams penalty kill to run down the man advantage.

At the halfway point of the period, the Gophers landed in the box off of a tripping call, and with the great ability Michigan State also has on the power play, the team finally lit the lamp to put a goal on the board. For his first goal of the season sophomore defenseman Matt Basgall was able to get the Spartans back into the game.

Just a minute and a half after the goal from MSU, they were back on the penalty kill after a tripping call was made on Davidson, but the Spartans were yet again able to kill off the penalty and prevent the opponents from scoring. Freshman goaltender Trey Augustine was also able to make a few great saves during the two minutes.

During the series, Michigan State saw a lot of improvements from both ends of the ice, as the team kept up with its visitors in shots on goal and also led in faceoffs, unlike the first game where the Spartans slightly trailed most of the game.

After the third period comeback, the Spartans knew what they were hunting for going into the final period as they flew onto the ice in hopes of pulling off the needed sweep.

Just past the halfway point of the third period, the visitors added another goal onto their lead to crawl ahead to a 4-1 game and continue toward a split for the series

With less than three minutes to go in the final period, the Spartans pulled netminder Augustine in efforts of a couple more goals on the board, but the Golden Gophers put a puck in the back of the net to end on a 5-1 game.

The Spartans head to South Bend, Indiana for a road series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. to hunt for a sweep on the road and maintain the first place spot in the Big Ten conference. Both games will be streamed on Peacock.

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