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MSU hockey falls in heartbreaking home game to Ohio State Buckeyes 6-2

February 23, 2024
Ohio State Senior forward Joe Dunlap #21 tries to score against the Spartans while MSU Sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy #13 defends at Munn Ice Arena on Feb. 23, 2024.
Ohio State Senior forward Joe Dunlap #21 tries to score against the Spartans while MSU Sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy #13 defends at Munn Ice Arena on Feb. 23, 2024. —
Photo by Fatih Gorkem Imamoglu | The State News

The time had finally arrived for the last home series of the regular season for the Michigan State Spartans, and another opportunity at a big sweep against the Ohio State Buckeyes, but MSU took a quick fall in the second period which resulted in a 6-2 loss in night one of the two-game series.

The Spartans came out ready to go in the first period and were quickly sending pucks down the ice in hopes of a goal. With the fight near the goal ,a power play was rewarded after a high sticking call was made on the Buckeyes. And with the man advantage, a slapshot from sophomore forward Isaac Howard was sent towards the net which allowed freshman forward Gavin O'Connell to tip it in the rest of the way to send the Spartans up 1-0 quickly. 

Just four minutes after the first penalty was killed, the Buckeyes were struck again for a bench minor of having too many men on the ice which allowed another opportunity for the Spartans to score on the man advantage, but MSU was not able to capitalize on this two-minute advantage. 

As both teams fought in the neutral zone for puck possession, the Buckeyes came away with it on a breakaway and evened the game to 1-1 quickly after the Spartans were penalized for the first time in the game for tripping, called on junior defenseman David Gucciardi. Without a worry, the Spartans were able to kill off the penalty.

The Buckeyes were quick to tally their third penalty of the game with five-and-a-half minutes to go in the first period after an interference call was made to send the Spartans to the man advantage once again. But the advantage lasted less than a minute as sophomore forward Daniel Russell was tagged for tripping, which left the Spartans to kill off 50 seconds of a penalty kill.

The clock ran down in the first period and the two teams were tied up 1-1 to head into the second. The second period started with just as much intensity as the first period did as shots were fired at the net for both teams. The Spartans continued to play great on both ends of the ice through the first half of the second period, but after a penalty was called on Michigan State's Howard for high sticking, OSU was able to capitalize just 10 seconds into their man advantage.

With just three-and-a-half minutes to go in the second period, the Buckeyes were able to put a third goal past freshman goalie Trey Augustine, and along with OSU going up with a 3-1 advantage, MSU’s freshman forward Tommi Männistö was given a five-minute major for checking from behind. Following this, with a remaining four minutes to go in the kill for the Spartans, OSU made a 4-1 game and dug a deeper hole for MSU to climb out of.

With three remaining minutes in the OSU power play, the Spartans evened the advantage as a tripping penalty was called, and as the clock ran down in the second period, MSU cut the lead in half. O'Connell scored his second goal of the night to make the score 4-2.

MSU knew what needed to be done in the third period as they ran down the final minute of a penalty kill and continued their climb out of the goal deficit that had started. Aside from the Buckeyes first goal on the five-minute advantage, the Spartans held them off the rest of the way through

With just over 10 minutes to play in the game, the Buckeyes added a fifth goal to their ongoing tally and to the offensive takedown of the Spartans to continue their drive to hunt down MSU. The goals continued to pile on as a sixth was added to OSU’s strong goal leading campaign shortly after their fifth goal. 

The Buckeyes were called on a roughing penalty with just seven minutes to go and though the Spartans had great scoring opportunities, OSU’s junior goaltender, Logan Terness, continued to play lights out in the net.

MSU ended with a heartbreaking 6-2 loss as a dominant OSU team came ready to play in Munn Ice Arena.

The Spartans will be back in East Lansing for a 6 p.m. game on Saturday, Feb. 24 on Big Ten Plus in hopes of a series split. The seniors will be honored post-game in a Senior Night ceremony as the last home game of the regular season.

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