As the crowds amped up and the players fled onto the ice, puck drop was soon approaching as the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines were back for the final meeting of the season at Yost Ice Arena to hunt for a big win. The Spartans took a dominating victory over their rivals with a final score of 5-1.
The teams quickly started their affairs of back-and-forth with the puck, both teams having an equal amount of possession, but the Spartans were the quickest to attack in their offensive zone and send pucks flying towards the net.
Within the first ten minutes, the Spartans had gained several shots on goal, as well as breaking up several passes between the Wolverines that helped them grab the puck for control. Freshman goaltender Trey Augustine helped the Spartans defensively as he made a few great saves.
After a hit on the boards to sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy, head coach Adam Nightingale quickly tried to challenge the hit to the head penalty, but after review, MSU ended up losing its timeout and played on with no power play, which left no problem for the team as they continued on playing their way.
With just a couple remaining minutes in the first period, the Spartans were the closest to strike for the first goal when a puck from fifth year forward Nicolas Müller shot one right off the post that bounced back onto the ice for free range.
Through the first period, the rivals kept the score 0-0 as the Spartans played a great first 20 minutes. The team was able to consistently block shots and break up passes. While the Spartans and Wolverines started to get a little chippy, there were zero penalty minutes taken through the first.
Just 30 seconds into the second period, the Wolverines had possession of the puck that was shot towards the Spartans net. However, just as the puck was shot, the whistle blew which was quickly called no goal, so the teams remained tied 0-0.
The teams fought tooth and nail for the first goal of the night, which ended up going to the Wolverines.
Just 25 seconds later after Michigan's goal, the Spartans answered right back as junior forward Tanner Kelly put the puck in the back of the net for a tie game. His goal was assisted by freshman forward Tommi Männistö and Shoudy.
Quickly after both goals were scored, the Spartans then landed on a penalty kill after a slashing call was made on graduate forward Reed Lebster and the Spartans held strong to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Rounding out the second period, the in-state rivals continued to play their game but stayed even with a score of 1-1 heading into the final period. Both the Spartans and Wolverines fought for a win and to continue the momentum into their big game at Little Caesars Arena for the annual Duel in the D match.
Coming back out into the third and final period, the Spartans were quick to go towards the goal and lay in a few shots, even with a knocked over Wolverine goalie, but the passes that were made didn’t connect for a goal to go in.
The Spartans however continued to fight as their valiant effort of always playing a full 60 minutes continued to shine through with the chemistry the team had produced the entire night.
With just over 15 minutes to go in the final period, the Spartans finally gained their first lead of the night as sophomore forward Daniel Russell went top shelf to help MSU pull a 2-1 lead. The goal was assisted by sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart and freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov.
And just quickly after, the Spartans were able to make their lead into two as freshman defenseman Maxim Štrbák put one home. The goal was assisted by sophomore forward Isaac Howard and Dorwart.
With just over 12 minutes to play, the second penalty of the night came about after a holding call was made on the Wolverines, which sent the Spartans to the man advantage. Michigan State, however, was not able to capitalize and maintained a 3-1 lead.
With just two minutes to go in the first night of this rivalry series, Michigan pulled its goalie and the Spartans quickly dumped two goals into the net, one from junior forward Red Savage, and another one just after from senior forward Jeremy Davidson.
Michigan State finished the game with a 5-1 victory over the Michigan Wolverines.
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The Spartans will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit to look for another dominating win in hopes of a sweep and the known Duel in the D trophy. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Network.
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