Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Final: MSU hockey rallies back to win 7-5 against Michigan Wolverines

January 20, 2024
<p>Freshman forward Gavin O'Connell (29) carrying the puck forward during a game against University of Michigan at Yost Ice Arena on Jan. 20, 2024. O’Connell scored one goal in the second period, adding to his tally of 10 goals on the season.</p>

Freshman forward Gavin O'Connell (29) carrying the puck forward during a game against University of Michigan at Yost Ice Arena on Jan. 20, 2024. O’Connell scored one goal in the second period, adding to his tally of 10 goals on the season.

Photo by Donté Smith | The State News

Following a devastating 7-1 loss for the Michigan State Spartans hockey team at Munn against the Michigan Wolverine last night, the Spartans were ready to get back into their style of play away at Yost Ice Arena. The team was able to make a comeback from a 1-4 deficit halfway through the second period and take home a dominating 7-5 win.

Michigan State came out into this game already attacking better than the night before and getting back to their strengths. Just two minutes into the game, the Wolverines ended up in the penalty box after a high sticking call was made, but the Spartans were not able to capitalize on the man advantage.

Just off of the power play the Wolverines came down the ice with the puck, putting in an attempt on freshman goaltender Trey Augustine. With an incredible leap of faith, he kept the puck out of the net to leave the game scoreless.

Seven minutes into the first period the Spartans received a penalty of their own after an interference call was made on senior defenseman Nash Nienhuis, as the team went to work against the dangerous Michigan power play. The Spartans were able to kill off the penalty with a breeze.

Just after the kill of the penalty, the Wolverines ended up on the scoreboard to put them 1-0 halfway through the first period.

With just over four minutes to go in the first period, the Spartans took on another power play and even though the team struggled greatly last night with these plays, Michigan State was able to strongly capitalize on the man advantage after freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov shot a puck into the back of the net to tie the game.

Just after the goal was on the board for the Spartans, their rivals tried to retaliate, but the goal was immediately called no good for high sticking on the play, keeping the game tied. The Spartans were able to keep the game on an even playing field through the first, earning their much-needed power play goal. The team played outstanding defense and broke up passes to prevent scoring opportunities for their opponents.

The Spartans went into the second period trying to one-up the first, and they played great defense to keep the Wolverines out of their goal for the first four minutes. But off of a breakaway, the Wolverines sent the puck back and forth and got past Augustine as he tried his hardest to shuffle back over. Michigan had put themselves up 2-1. 

Just three minutes after their second goal, the Wolverines came in hot again and put one straight past Augustine to go up 3-1. By now, it was looking similar to last night.

With 12 minutes to go in the middle period, the Spartans nagged another penalty after a holding call on Nienhuis, putting the Wolverines on their dangerous power play. And with just 16 seconds left in the kill for the Spartans, fifth-year forward Nicolas Müller was sent out leaving the team to play five-on-three. While the team was able to kill the final 16 seconds of the first penalty, shortly after, the Wolverines were able to capitalize and put themselves up 4-1.

Just 30 seconds after Michigan’s fourth goal of the night, the Spartans attacked back as sophomore forward Issac Howard put the puck past the Wolverines netminder to get back into the game. And just a minute and a half later the Spartans inched closer to a tie game as Müller lit the lamp himself for a 4-3 game.

The Spartans then quickly jumped ahead after scoring their fourth and fifth goal of the night, one coming from freshman forward Gavin O'Connell and the next coming from senior forward Jeremy Davidson. Somehow, the Spartans rallied back from being down 1-4 at the halfway point in the period to now being up 5-4 at the end of the second period.

Michigan State came back out onto the ice ready to finish off what they started in the second period, trying their best to come back and take a win home to East Lansing. The team began to take subtle control in their offensive zone as they came back from seven shots on goal after the first to 23 shots on goal to start the third.

The teams remained scoreless in the third period as the Spartans kept their 5-4 lead, both continuously battling it out on the ice, but kept the roughing to a minimum, as well as fewer penalties than the Munn game.

The Spartans continued their rally back into a win as Müller put his second goal of the night into the net to finally give the Green and White a two goal lead for the first time on the weekend.

With three minutes to go in the game, the Wolverines were quick to pull their goalie, but sophomore forward Joey Larson was quick to capitalize and sent the puck streaming down the ice into the empty net for a 7-4 lead. But the Wolverines quickly pulled their goalie yet again and that resulted in a goal to cut the three goal lead to two.

The Spartans continued to send pucks down the ice for an attempt at an empty net goal and while they could not achieve one, the team continued to keep the Wolverines out of their net and took the win at Yost Ice Arena.

The Spartans will be back at home on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 to take on Minnesota for one last time in the season. Friday's game will begin at 6 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus while Saturday’s will start at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Network.

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