Spartan Hockey Disappointed but Not Discouraged by Two Shoot Out Losses to Ohio State

Munn Ice Arena

East Lansing, MI

The Michigan State hockey team was looking for redemption, but instead they got more of the same. For the second consecutive game, the Spartans tied the Ohio State Buckeyes 2-2 after giving up yet another third period lead. Again, neither team scored in overtime and again the Buckeyes ended up winning the shootout, this time shutting out the Spartans 1-0.

For MSU Head Coach Tom Anastos, it’s another disappointing result after playing a solid game of hockey. “We wanted to win six points this weekend and we had a chance to win six points this weekend and we came out with two, so it is frustrating.” While MSU may not be getting the results they are looking for, Anastos is pleased with the effort of his guys are giving and they’re way they are competing. “When guys are giving you everything they have, how can you ask for more?”

Anastos said that the team’s performance needs to be judged with perspective. “Results matter, we’re in a results business, and yet to ultimately get results, there is a process you have to go through to gain experience and get better.” MSU he said is undergoing that process.

Maybe still reeling from Friday night’s game, MSU seemed on its toes to start the game and as a result, OSU was able to strike first, scoring just three and a half minutes into the first period.  The first period concluded with the Spartans down 1-0 after getting outshot by 9.

The second period belonged to the MSU captain Greg Wolfe and the Spartans. Just seconds into the period, the Buckeyes were penalized for goalie interference and less than 30 seconds into the MSU power play Wolfe sent a blistering slap shot past Frey that knotted things up at 1. As the period went on, both offenses looked sharp, peppering both goaltenders with a number of hard shots. However, three more Buckeye penalties in the period hurt their momentum and the Spartans were able to capitalize once more. With just 1:34 to play before intermission, Wolfe struck again, this time with a wicked one timer shot from point. The Spartans went to the locker room up 2-1.

The Spartans held that lead until the 8:59 minute mark of the third period when the Buckeyes yet again were able to steal a Spartan lead. Spartan defensemen John Draeger appeared to be trying to clear the puck, but instead it was stolen by OSU’s Matt Johnson who then skated around the MSU defense and added his second goal of the evening. Neither team scored in the remaining minutes of regulation and for the second straight game, the Buckeyes and Spartans were sent to overtime.  

The extra time looked more like an OSU power play with the Buckeyes dominating possession in the Spartan zone and creating several dangerous scoring opportunities. Despite being out played for most of the overtime period, MSU’s Mike Ferrantino had the best chance of the period for either team. MSU executed a perfect play off a face off in the Buckeye zone and Ferrantino had a point blank look at what would have been the winning goal. OSU goaltender Christian Frey was able to make an incredible save a save, forcing a shootout that the Buckeyes eventually won, 1-0.

After the game, MSU captain Greg Wolfe told reporters that although he’s not pleased with the outcome of the series with OSU, there are positives to take away from the two games this weekend.  “Obviously we’re disappointed, we had them down going into the third period both nights, but I though we battled hard all weekend”, continuing, “we went down early tonight, we fought back, took the lead, had some momentum, but it wasn’t enough.”

Again, MSU played well enough to win on defense. Hildebrand was great as well, but the Spartans need more consistent scoring up front. Tonight’s result still earned the Spartans a point in Big Ten plat, giving them 14 on the season and keeping them in fifth place. They are now 2-5-5-3, in conference and 8-13-6 overall. Next up for the Spartans is a weekend road series with last place Penn State starting next Friday at 6:30 on the Big Ten Network.

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