Tom Anastos & His Michigan State Spartans Suffer a, “Very Disappointing” Shootout Loss to Ohio State
Munn Ice Arena
East Lansing, Michigan
Munn Ice Arena was packed. It was rocking and it was intense tonight as The Ohio State Buckeyes came skating into town.
While it will be officially recorded as a 2-2 tie, the Michigan State hockey squandered a major opportunity Friday night at Munn Ice Arena in the first game of a weekend series against Ohio State. The Spartans had a 2 goal lead with 96 seconds to play in the game, however, OSU managed to tie the game off two late power play goals, the last scored with just 1.7 seconds to play, and sent the game into overtime where they eventually won in a shoot-out.
Comfortably ahead by 2 goals, MSU’s Joe Cox was called for interference with 3:11 to play in the game. OSU pulled goaltender Christian Frey to gain a 2 man advantage. MSU captain Greg Wolfe narrowly missed an empty net goal that would have put the Spartans up by 3 and ended the OSU threat. Moments later, however, Buckeye forward Tanner Fritz sent a beautiful shot past MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand that hit inside post and found the back of the net, cutting the lead to one. With 39 seconds to play Matt Berry was called for hooking and OSU was put back on the power play. Again, the Buckeyes pulled their goalie and again they scored, this time from Alex Szczechura with just 1.7 seconds to play.
Neither team scored in the 5 minutes of extra time and the game was sent to a shootout that the Buckeyes eventually won 2-1.
After the game, MSU head coach Tom Anastos told reporters that while he was satisfied with his team’s focus and effort, they need to learn how to close the deal. “I thought we were managing the game pretty successfully and those late penalties put us in a tough spot… very disappointing for us not to be able to finish that game.”
While this game will obviously be a tough pill to swallow, Anastos said that his team can’t waste time regretting this result. “We can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves, we’ve got to regroup, dig deeper, and get 60 minutes of hockey.”
Perhaps the best lesson to be learned from tonight for the Spartans, 58 minutes of good hockey is not enough to get the job done.
In the locker room, captain MSU Greg Wolfe summed it up best saying “I mean they scored a goal with a second left, how often does that happen.” Like his coach Wolfe felt the team “battled all night” and was satisfied with their energy, he acknowledged that they need to “tighten things up” at the end and learn how to seal the deal.
Up until the Buckeyes pair of late power play goals, the Spartans had killed 23 of thei opponent’s last 25 power play opportunities.
Despite the disappointment, tonight’s tie still earned the Spartans a point in Big Ten play, giving them 13 for the year. They now move to 2-5-4-3 in conference play and 8-13-5 overall. They are now 3-2 in shootouts this season. The Spartans will look to rebound against Ohio State tomorrow at 4 P.M. at Munn.