After a hard loss during night one of the Michigan State-Notre Dame series on the road, where the Spartan hockey team took a tough 4-1 defeat, the team bounced back for night two and took a dominating 4-0 win.
The Spartans had struggled on their first night on the road, specifically in the third period when the game got away from them and the Fighting Irish notched two empty netters after going up 2-1 to solidify their win, so a bounce back on night two was needed and was a great response.
"Last night obviously wasn't our best, so we went over a lot this morning, we knew we could be a lot better," sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart said post game. "I thought we did that right from the jump, especially our second period we kind of buried them there, and could tell they were tired, so we did a good job at that."
Dorwart had one goal in the 4-0 victory to claim a career best 11 goals on the season.
With the 4-0 win for Michigan State on the night, freshman netminder Trey Augustine played as the team's brick wall for his third shutout of the season and 30 total saves on the night and claimed the conference lead in shutouts. Augustine continuously gives credits to his teammates for his shutouts of the season and their abilities to play defense in front of the net and prevent any of their opponents from finding scoring.
With penalty kills being a huge success for the team this season, a lot of credit is given to Augustine with his ability to stand tall and withhold any chances that the Fighting Irish may have on those man advantage opportunities. However, the team as a whole has great teamwork and gives a lot of effort to shut down the power play opportunities for their opponents and come out victorious.
"(Augustine) had some sequences there where they came down on rush chances and were pressing in the O-zone, and Trey was great on the penalty kill and made some big saves there," head coach Adam Nightingale said. "Trey isn’t a stat guy, he just wants to get the win, but it’s good to just see him get rewarded.”
With the big win and the split weekend, Michigan State has now tied its season best from last year and has set a new program best for a total of 12 wins in the Big Ten, as well as six more opportunities to continue to grow that record for the regular season. After the game, Nightingale talked about the bounce backs the team has had over the past few split weekends and the resilience of the team as a whole.
"When we look back, I think it was a real even hockey game yesterday," Nightingale said. "I know you can look at the score and the scoring chances, quality chances and all of those things, but it was a tight hockey game. I think our guys needed to learn that we’re playing a game where they’re never going to give you anything, you have to earn it, and that’s a great experience for our guys when you talk about the second half of the season, that’s how hockey is. I thought our guys dug in and earned what they got."
The Spartans have now jumped to 40 total points on the season to hold on to their first place position in the Big Ten conference ahead of the Wisconsin Badgers and are now headed out on the road for a second weekend in a row for part two of rivalry weekend between the Spartans and the University of Michigan Wolverines.
The Spartans will take on their in-state rivals and play on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, as well as a late night toss up on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 8:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit where the Spartans are looking to grab the Duel in the D trophy and bring home two huge wins. Streaming for the Friday game will be on Big Ten Plus and Saturday's game will be available to watch on Big Ten Network.
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