The long-awaited night arrived as the Spartans took the ice for their first matchup of the season against their historic rivals: the University of Michigan Wolverines. As the highly ranked Michigan State Spartans were ready to play, they ended up taking a heartbreaking loss to the Wolverines with a score of 7-1.
As the teams skated out onto the ice and the "Go Green! Go White!" chants rang through Munn Ice Arena, both teams were off to an extremely quick start as the Spartans kept the puck in their offensive zone and even had a couple of great shots at the goal against the Wolverines goalie.
The fueling rivals were quick to get chippy, laying in big hits and playing a lot of keen hockey.
The Wolverines were the first to land in the penalty box after an interference call was made on the team. And while the Wolverines had an attempt at a short-handed goal, freshman goaltender Trey Augustine was a brick wall and stopped the puck. The Spartans were not able to capitalize on the man advantage, however.
Quickly after the kill of the penalty, the Wolverines put the first goal on the board after a breakaway shot from Rutger McGroarty. But quickly after the goal, the Spartans were back on the power play after a cross-checking call was made on the Wolverines. With the Wolverines on the kill, another goal came after a short-handed attempt that Kienan Draper was able to put in. And just after the goal, the Spartans ended up on the penalty kill themselves after a slashing penalty was made on sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy.
As the first penalty on the Spartans wound down, they landed themselves in a 5-on-3 situation after a tripping call was made on freshman defenseman Austin Oravetz. And while the two-man disadvantage was successful for the most part, the Wolverines quickly shut that down as they went up 3-0 from a power play goal.
Though the team ended on a low note in the period, the Spartans were more than ready after a locker room regroup to head back out and focus on playing the rest of the game to their best ability.
The Spartans tried to get back to their game, breaking up passes and making great connections to each other up the ice. Off a breakaway shot from Isaac Howard, the Wolverines drew a penalty for hooking, and yet again, the Spartans were unable to capitalize on said power play.
With zero goals for the Spartans through half of the second period, tempers flared quickly as junior forward Tanner Kelly and a Wolverine were sent to the box. Kelly was sent five minutes for face masking, as a Michigan forward received two minutes for roughing.
As the Wolverines ran down the two minutes of their minor, the Spartans began to kill off their five-minute major for the remaining three minutes. Their opponents ended up landing another goal off of the major penalty and then were able to kill the rest of the major. The Spartans still were not able to land themselves on the board through the second and ended with a score of 4-0 heading into the final period.
Michigan State came into the third and final period ready to land themselves on the board to prevent a shutout, but yet again, the Wolverines tallied another goal, putting them up 5-0.
With frustrations that continued to soar higher and higher, the Spartans took another penalty after a boarding call on sophomore forward Daniel Russell. The Wolverines were quickly able to tally yet another power-play goal to continue the dominant 6-0 shutout.
Quickly after the Wolverines' goal came, the Spartans grabbed a power play of their own after a cross-checking penalty was called on their opponents. The Spartans again could not land a goal in the Wolverines' net.
With just over 10 minutes to go in the final period, the fire was set, once and for all, as the rivals gathered in the corner for a huge match of pushing and shoving to take out the frustration. The Spartans received a 10-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as two minor penalties for roughing after the whistle. The Wolverines received one minor for roughing as well. Again, quickly after a third Spartan landed in the penalty box for holding, the Spartans were finally able to hold off the strong Michigan's power play and keep them out of the net.
With seven minutes to go in the third, the Spartans were finally able to land on the board to prevent their shutout after a goal was scored by fifth-year forward Nicolas Müller, but soon after the Spartans' goal, a full-on brawl broke out on the ice, resulting in four Spartans being ejected and four Wolverines being ejected.
The game misconducts and the major penalties continued to roll in for these teams as a five-minute major and game misconduct was called on one more Spartan, leaving them to a very bare-looking bench with five minutes to go and the major penalty needing to be taken care of as well.
With 4:01 left to go in the game, the Wolverines took a penalty as well, resulting in a four-on-four for two minutes, as well as the Spartans needing to finish out the major as well for 50 seconds. With just two remaining seconds in the major, the Wolverines finished it off with one more goal, making the final score 7-1.
The Spartans are back looking for a win on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor to look for their win to split the series against the Wolverines. The game will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
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