Spartans Falter in Series Opener vs. No. 8 Ohio State
Brennan Sanford scores in the loss.
EAST LANSING - The Michigan State hockey team dropped the opening game of a weekend series with No. 8 Ohio State, 4-1, on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. Ohio State used two goals early in the first and then two more in the opening 32 seconds of the middle period to top the Spartans.
“Ohio State is a good, talented team that played fast and did a lot of things right out there,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “I thought in the first period we were pretty average and didn’t start well in the second. After the timeout in the second I thought our guys worked a little bit harder.
“I think the lessons keep coming and we’ll keep trying to figure things out. Sometimes you get caught in between thinking through, trying to be perfect and be in the right spot, and just going ahead and playing. I thought when we did that our guys got a lot more done.”
Sasha Laroque gave OSU (13-4-4, 6-4-1-0) the lead at the 33-second mark of the first period as his wrist shot from the left point got through a screen and found the back of the net.
OSU made it 2-0 on the power play when Kevin Miller got open in front of the net and one-timed a pass from John Wiitala past goaltender John Lethemon.
Ohio State started the second period with 25 seconds of power-play time and it took the Buckeyes just 15 seconds to capitalize as Ronnie Hein swept a rebound low past Lethemon.
Seventeen seconds later, Tanner Laczynski capitalized on a turnover to make it 4-0.
After being outshot 13-5 in the opening period, each team had 10 shots on goal in the second and the Spartans outshot OSU 7-5 in the third.
The Spartans (8-12-1, 2-8-1-1) broke through just past the midway point of the third period when Brennan Sanford scored on a snap shot to make it 4-1. Sam Saliba got the puck to Sanford in the right circle where he snapped it high over San Romeo’s shoulder for his fourth goal of the season.
Ed Minney replaced Lethemon in net following the fourth Ohio State goal and stopped all 12 shots he faced.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Cole said of Minney’s effort in relief.
The Spartans went 0-for-5 on the power play, while OSU was 2-for-4.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Munn.