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Michigan State hockey: Slow start leads to crushing Michigan loss

MSU hockey wasn’t able to overcome a slow start.



Michigan State hockey
© Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State hockey got off to a slow start, missed some opportunities, and lost to Michigan in a heated rivalry game.

If you are a fan of Michigan State hockey, this game had everything you wanted, outside of a Spartan victory (they lost 4-2). The game was full of great puck movement and physical play, leading to a combined 110 minutes of penalties. Those penalties led to multiple players on both teams getting ejected, affecting the game on Saturday night.

There is no secret that if you are a Michigan State hockey fan, this series with Michigan is massive. With Michigan State on the bubble for the first time in a long time, every game matters, and this one was full of important opportunities that Michigan converted and the Spartans did not.

These opportunities all started in the first period.

The first period for Michigan State, outside of the first few minutes, was not good. Michigan State could not get possession of the puck, the defense was struggling, and Michigan was the much more physical team.

Less than three minutes into the game, Michigan already had a 1-0 lead in East Lansing. That lead would continue to grow as both Adam Fantilli and Gavin Brindley scored 12 minutes into the game. This looked exactly like the past 8eight games that Michigan and Michigan State played. While Michigan State looked out of the game, score-wise, the effort of the team picked up and led to a goal that would eventually be called back.

Michigan State was in trouble down 3-0 heading into the second period but the effort seemed better towards the end of the first.

The second period starts and the game starts to flip in Michigan State’s favor. The defense started to play better and the offense is finally connected on its passes. The physicality of Michigan State picked up as well. This led to Michigan State responding within five minutes of the start of the second with a goal by Tiernan Shoudy. Michigan State seemed to finally have life after the lead was cut to two.

This is where things started to get chippy.

Michigan and Michigan State each had a player ejected from the game because of a fight. As the game went on, it seemed like Michigan was getting more frustrated despite going into the third period up 3-1.

The third period is where Michigan State needed to show up, especially because tournament hopes are on the line and they showed up quickly.

Within five minutes, Nicolas Muller put the Spartans on the board again and Munn was rocking. The fans were back in the game and got louder by the minute. The quiet Munn Arena two hours earlier was no longer quiet. As the clock ticked down, Michigan State got chance after chance but nothing was going in. The best chance was a shot that slipped right by Michigan’s goalie that almost went into the net to tie the game.

Eventually, Michigan State had to pull the goalie where Michigan would eventually score and put the game away for good.

While Michigan State lost, this is a performance that showed how far the program has come and that the fans are ready for a winner. Under past coaches, that game could have ended up being a lot more one-sided, just like the first period. At the end of the night, Michigan State had more shots on goal and face-off wins.

Though Michigan State did not get the win, there will be motivation to get the victory on Saturday because the tournament is still a possibility for Michigan State and because Michigan’s head coach said “they can’t play with unless they goon it up.” This part of the quote was his response to the question, “When you play a game that intense, how much more rewarding is it to hear that final buzzer sound?”

This part of the quote will not sit well with the hockey players and is definitely not right now with Michigan State hockey fans. Both of these teams do not like each other already and a statement like that by Michigan’s coach will only build the contentment between both teams, making tomorrow’s game a must-watch for any Michigan or Michigan State fan.