It was the moment fans and players have been waiting for: the Duel in the D. The Spartans were in a hunt for a win after an incredibly dominant performance at Yost the night prior and the Spartans became the 2024 Duel in the D champions for the first time since 2016 after winning 3-2 against the University of Michigan Wolverines.
Both Michigan State and Michigan came out on the night with incredible drive and passion, as pucks were thrown up and down the ice. The Spartan defense played with great strength and MSU had great control of its offensive zone.
The tempers from both teams quickly ramped up quicker than the previous night as the match broke out into pushing and shoving; emotions constantly ran high. But the Spartans knew that keeping their emotions underwrap would help them in the long run.
With eight minutes to go in the first period, the Spartans were the first to light the lamp off from a shot by junior forward Tanner Kelly that was fired straight through the legs of Michigan goaltender Jake Barczewski, which gave MSU the confidence to get ahead first. The goal was assisted by freshman forward Tommi Männistö and sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy.
With just four minutes left in the period, a save made by Michigan resulted in a massive scrum in the offensive zone, which then sent two players to the box. One Wolverine and one Spartan were put in the box for roughing after the whistle, which resulted in two minutes of four-on-four. Both teams killed off their respective penalties and were quickly back to five-on-five action and the period ended quickly after.
Jumping on the ice for the second period, the Spartans were ready to be back in action and put up the fight that they knew they could give.
Michigan State took a penalty just three minutes into the second period off of an interference call on senior defenseman Nash Nienhuis and the Wolverines dangerous power play came in to score a goal to even the game at one apiece.
The Spartans were quick to catch up in their shots on goal as they trailed the Wolverines at the end of the first and quickly got their shot momentum back within the first eight minutes of the second period. The team's great effort and push of momentum landed Shoudy a goal to put MSU back up by one; the score was then 2-1. The goal was assisted by Nienhuis and Männistö.
The game continued through the second period with even possessiveness in each teams' offensive zone as both the Spartans and Wolverines continued to fire shots. The Spartans had another break when Barczewski slid out of the net and sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart was able to put MSU up 3-1 with just five and a half minutes left in the second. The goal was assisted by Kelly and sophomore forward Isaac Howard.
With three minutes left to play in the second period, the Wolverines ended up in the box for a holding call, which gave the Spartans the man advantage for two minutes. The Spartans were not able to capitalize on the opportunity, but great efforts were made.
Michigan State ended the period being up on the Wolverines with a two-goal lead and a score of 3-1 as the team continued its valiant effort of a dominating weekend.
The Spartans began the final period on the man advantage after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on the Wolverines at the end of second period, but MSU was not able to capitalize on the advantage.
Michigan State continued on with its strong push toward a victory for the team as shots were continuously intercepted; blocked shots were also made to prevent the Wolverines from scoring.
But with just nine minutes to go, the Wolverines retaliated with a goal to put them back within one and a push against the Spartans.
With 80 seconds left to go in the game, the Wolverines pulled their goalie in a last effort to tie up the game. With the clock ticking down, the Spartans rallied to a sweep of the Michigan Wolverines and a victory as Duel in the D champions; Michigan State beat Michigan 3-2 in night two of the series.
The Spartans will head to a bye week for the weekend of Feb. 16 and Feb. 17, but will have their last home game of the season on Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. for Senior Night against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both games will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
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