Friday, April 12, 2024

MSU hockey takes 5-4 overtime victory against Western Michigan, advances to next round of Frozen Four

March 29, 2024
<p>Fifth year forward Nicolas Muller chats with freshman defenseman Patrick Geary moments before face off in a game against Western Michigan at Centene Ice Center on March 29, 2024.</p>

Fifth year forward Nicolas Muller chats with freshman defenseman Patrick Geary moments before face off in a game against Western Michigan at Centene Ice Center on March 29, 2024.

Photo by Emily Martin | The State News

Michigan State men's hockey came into the regional round of the NCAA Tournament, or Frozen Four, with one thing engraved in its brain: it's win or go home. After three full periods of play and a handful of overtime minutes, the Spartans survived yet another thriller, winning 5-4, to advance to Sunday’s game, the second round of the tournament.

Both Michigan State and Western Michigan were quickly off as the Spartans won the draw and took the puck to their offensive side of the ice. While the Broncos slid into their own offensive zone for just a second to rip a shot toward freshman goalie Trey Augustine, MSU was able to stop it and take the puck back to its territory.

Just seven and a half minutes into the first period, and on Western Michigan's third shot on goal, the Broncos were able to shoot a puck from the blue line just past Augustine to give them that one-goal lead that they were looking to hang on to. 

The Broncos played tough against the Spartans as the well-oiled veteran team came out to play, laying hits left and right in their offensive zone to keep the MSU defenders out of line and out of sight. But Michigan State quickly came out to play and began its string of hits against its opponents as well.

Both teams ended the first period with 12 shots on goal, but Western Michigan had to play catch-up in the latter half of the first period, eventually leading to the sole goal of the period. After the first 20 minutes, the playing styles between both teams were clear as they went into the second period.

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Freshman goaltender Trey Augustine stops a shot by Western Michigan, keeping the Spartans within close range, in a game against WMU at Centene Ice Center on March 29, 2024. The Spartans beat the Broncos 5-4.

The second period went underway as the Spartans came out with shooting the puck at the net any chance that they possibly could.

Playoff style of hockey was shown dominantly with a low-scoring first half, but the scoring action picked up just five minutes into the second period as Michigan State's Daniel Russell ripped a breakaway shot into the back of the Western net to tie the game at 1-1.

Michigan State took flight just halfway through the second period after a faceoff win from sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart landed on the stick of junior defenseman David Gucciardi and he was able to rip the puck into the net to give the Spartans their first lead of the game; Michigan State was now up 2-1.

The first penalty came just shortly after the first goal, sending freshman forward Gavin O'Connell to the box for hooking, and with the man advantage, Western Michigan made use of it and was able to tie the game at two apiece. And just a minute later, the Broncos put another shot at Augustine to take back their one goal lead.

Western Michigan continued to shoot the puck and eventually scored its fourth goal of the night -- and third in the period -- under the playoff atmosphere and took the dangerous two-goal lead

Michigan State grabbed its first power play of the game after a hooking call was made on the Broncos but couldn't garner any capitalization.

The Spartans chased the deficit, trying to come back from down 4-2 heading into the third period. Finally, the Spartans came back within one after a slapshot from senior defenseman Nash Nienhuis was sent flying to light the lamp and help the Spartans inch towards tying the game. 

With a running clock -- under two minutes remaining -- and Augustine pulled for the Spartans' extra attacker, MSU quickly gained more momentum and flew towards the net where Dorwart was able to tie the game, resulting in sending the teams to their second weekend in a row of sudden death overtime hockey.

And with the clock running yet again in the overtime period, the Michigan State Spartans brought the 4-4 tie game full circle yet again and senior forward Jeremy Davidson ended the game with his game-winning shot, giving the Spartans the 5-4 victory over Western Michigan.

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The Spartans will play on Sunday at Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri, against the winner of the University of North Dakota and University of Michigan game. The puck drop will be at 6:30 p.m. ESPN2 will air the game.

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