Spartans Fall to Michigan Tech in GLI Semifinals, 5-2
MSU will meet Michigan or Bowling Green on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
DETROIT - The Michigan State hockey team fell to Michigan Tech in the semifinals of the 53rd annual Great Lakes Invitational, 5-2, on Monday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Spartans made it a one-goal game late in the second period, but a MTU tally with 4:54 to play in the third put the game out of reach.
The Spartans (8-10-1) will face either Michigan or Bowling Green in Tuesday’s third-place game at 2:30 p.m.
“Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted it to go,” Michigan State head coach Danton Cole sad. “Michigan Tech played a good game and played hard. It was a 3-2 game and I thought our guys were battling. Unfortunately, they got the next goal when I thought we were pushing a bit. I thought we played all right, but we’re going to need to be better tomorrow.”
The Spartans killed the only Michigan Tech power play of the opening period, with the help of two big saves by goaltender John Lethemon. MSU got its first power play chance late in the period and capitalized with 44.9 seconds to play courtesy of Zach Osburn.
Osburn collected the puck on the right side boards near the hash marks and didn’t waste any time, letting a wrist shot go and beat a sliding Robbie Beydoun on the short side to make it 1-0.
Michigan Tech (10-7-5) quickly erased the Spartan lead early in the second period with three goals in a span of 3:22.
Alex Smith tied the game 2:04 into the second by going to the net and deflecting a pass from Brent Baltus off his skate and into the net.
Jake Lucchini gave MTU the lead 1:15 later and at the 5:26 mark Alex Giles was able get open in front and slide the puck past Lethemon to make it 3-1.
With the teams skating 4-on-4 in the closing minutes of the second, the Spartans got another late period goal to make it a 3-2 game. Taro Hirose carried the puck into the MTU zone where he dished it to Patrick Khodorenko in the right circle. Khodorenko let a snap shot go that found its way into the upper corner of the net.
The Spartans had a chance to tie the game with a power-play opportunity at the 12:23 mark, but couldn’t get the equalizer. 43 seconds after the Spartan power play expired, Gavin Gould capitalized on a turnover to make it 4-2 Michigan Tech.
Jake Jackson added an empty-netter with 21 seconds to play.
Lethemon finished with 27 saves for the Spartans and stopped penalty shot at the 13:11 mark of the third, keeping it a 3-2 game at the time.
“He made some big saves when it was 3-2 and that has been when John has been really good this year,” Cole said. “He kept us in the game.”
MSU went 1-for-2 on the power play, while MTU was 0-for-2.