Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MSU hockey takes 2-1 win over Ohio State to head to Big Ten championship game

March 16, 2024
<p>Freshman defenseman Maxim Štrbák (8)&nbsp;battling with freshman forward Sam Deckhut (25) during a game between Michigan State University and Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on March 16, 2024.</p>

Freshman defenseman Maxim Štrbák (8) battling with freshman forward Sam Deckhut (25) during a game between Michigan State University and Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on March 16, 2024.

Photo by Donté Smith | The State News

With an opportunity to host its very first Big Ten semifinal game, the Michigan State Spartans came into the game with one goal: win. With a crowd that has buzzed consistently the entire season and a playoff atmosphere ringing through Munn Ice Arena, the Spartans held on to a 2-1 lead and a win to head to the Big Ten championship game.

Both teams were quick to jump into the action. The Spartans kept a solid possession of the puck through the first few minutes and had a great effort on their offensive side of the ice, seeing tempers and emotions quickly flare as physicality was shown from both Michigan State and Ohio State.

Michigan State was both quick and clean on the ice, playing their Spartan hockey from the get go. Freshman netminder Trey Augustine made  a stellar save on an Ohio State breakaway.

The Spartans were the first to head to the power play after a slashing call was made on Ohio State, giving them the man advantage, but there was no capitalization during the two minutes as the Buckeyes went back to full strength. 

A hard worked first period nearly brought the Spartans ahead by one with just seven and a half minutes to go, but a shot from junior forward Red Savage hit the post to the right of OSU’s junior goalie Logan Terness and then bounced right back onto the ice, keeping an even score of 0-0.

But with just under five minutes left in the period, the Spartans were hit with a penalty, sending freshman defenseman Maxim Štrbák to the box for an elbowing penalty and giving the Buckeyes the man advantage. Michigan State flourished on the kill to get back to five-on-five. 

With the outstanding offensive effort from the Spartans, as they played their own Spartan hockey, the teams went into the second period tied at zero, with huge opportunities to come in the second. 

The hunt for a goal in the second period began quickly as the Spartans hustled in their offensive end to put a puck on net. The time came when sophomore forward Daniel Russell tipped in a puck from Isaac Howard, and a secondary from sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart gave them the confidence needed to continue through the period.

The Spartans laid another goal on net from Jeremy Davidson, but the goal was quickly reviewed for goaltender interference and ultimately reversed; MSU remained on top with a 1-0 score. 

With just 12 minutes to go in the second, the Spartans were called again for tripping on Russell, giving OSU another shot at the power play. It became evident that the Spartans were more determined, as OSU let Savage get ahead for not only one but two short-handed opportunities, though neither went between the legs of Terness. The Spartans continued on to kill the important penalty to stay up by one. 

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Freshman goalie Trey Augustine (1) saving a shot on goal from graduate student forward Dalton Messina (14) during a game between Michigan State University and Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on March 16, 2024.

With two given breakaways within a couple for Ohio State, Augustine continued to be a brick wall behind the Spartan defense keeping the Buckeyes out of their net and continuing to allow no goals for the opponents. 

Michigan State was able to continuously dump the puck out of their defensive zone to keep the Buckeyes away from Augustine and away from an opportunity to tie up the game. They took that head first into the third, as MSU stayed ahead by one to head into the final 20 minutes of hockey.

The effort continued to shine through for the Spartans through the third, holding onto an extremely close 1-0 lead, but the Buckeyes were ready to put up a fight as a wraparound goal was scored on Augustine to tie the game at one apiece. Yet, MSU retaliated within 13 seconds as senior defenseman Nash Neinhuis lit the lamp to earn the lead back. 

Just two minutes later, OSU sent a wrist shot towards Augustine that went behind him. With a challenge for offsides from the MSU coaching staff, however, the goal was quickly reviewed and called off, helping the Spartans maintain a 2-1 lead. 

With nine minutes left on the clock, the Buckeyes leapt ahead of the Spartans, who had led by a margin in shots on goal for the whole night. But there was no giving up for the Spartans as they continued to keep OSU out of the net and clear the puck as much as possible. Passes were intercepted by the Buckeyes as they began to push harder than before to get back to a tie game to no avail. 

With just under two minutes to go, the Buckeyes pulled their goalie for the five on six advantage, and with a winding clock, the Spartans continued to hold on to the win with a final score of 2-1.

Michigan State will now go on to face the winner of the Minnesota and University of Michigan game. The game will be in East Lansing at Munn Ice Arena, at an undetermined time, where the Spartans look to bring home another Big Ten tournament title. Big Ten Network will air the game.

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