Spartans Close GLI With Loss to Michigan
MSU returns to action on Friday at Munn.
DETROIT - The Michigan State hockey team came out on the short end of a back-and-forth contest with Michigan on Tuesday in the Great Lakes Invitational third-place game at Little Caesars Arena. Four consecutive U-M goals erased an early Michigan State lead as the Wolverines wound up topping the Spartans, 6-4.
“We wanted to get something out of this weekend after last night and came up a little short,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “Bottom line, give Michigan credit. They got down and played hard threw pucks at the net and we didn’t defend well enough. So, that’s the biggest thing we’ll have to address. I told the guys in the locker room after the game that if we score six goals on a weekend, that’s enough to win two games if we defend well.”
The Spartans (8-11-1) grabbed the upper hand early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 4:34 of the game.
Taro Hirose gave the Spartans their first goal 26 seconds into the game.
Mitchell Lewandowski got control of the puck in the U-M end and backhanded a pass from the right circle across the ice to Hirose, who knocked the puck down with his leg. Hirose then immediately lifted the puck with his backhand into the top corner of the net.
Gatt got the puck from Cody Milan near the left point and drifted to the center of the ice just inside the blue line where he let a wrister go that Lambdin got a stick on and deflected in.
Michigan’s James Sanchez got the Wolverines on the board 3:12 into the second period to make it a 2-1 game. Prior to the Sanchez goal, MSU had held U-M without a goal for 86:40 over a three-game span.
The Spartans used the power play to regain their two-goal advantage as Patrick Khodorenko scored at the 6:28 mark of the second to make it 3-1.
The Spartans kept the puck in the U-M zone the entire power play and eventually capitalized with 24 seconds remaining on the man-advantage. Gatt and Milan got the puck to Khodorenko in the right circle where he let a wrister go for past goaltender Hayden Lavigne.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, the Wolverines (8-8-2) scored twice in a span of 58 seconds in the closing minutes of the second to tie the game. Michael Pastujov got the first and then Cooper Marody tied it with 3:23 to play in the period.
Cutler Martin gave Michigan its first lead 1:39 into the third period with a shot from the corner that bounced off a Spartan player and past goaltender John Lethemon and into the net.
The Wolverines capitalized on a major penalty to Khodorenko as Marody made it 5-3 with a shot from the slot at the 3:57 mark.
The Spartans bounced back though to make it a one-goal game with Khodorenko’s second power-play goal of the day.
With the Spartans on a 5-on-3 advantage, Khodorenko got the puck from Hirose and snapped it into the net to make it 5-4 with 10:14 to play in the third period.
The Spartans weren’t able to get any closer as Marody’s third tally of the day with 3:47 to go put the game away for Michigan.
Milan had a career-high three assists, while Khodorenko’s two goals has given him five over the last three games.
The Spartans will have just two days off before returning to action to host Ohio State this Friday and Saturday at Munn Ice Arena.