Spartans Topped by No. 18 Wisconsin in Series Finale
Mitchell Lewandowski scores twice for the Spartans in the loss.
MADISON, Wisconsin - A night after a 2-0 shutout victory, Michigan State’s bid for a sweep of No. 18 Wisconsin came up short as the Badgers topped the Spartans, 5-2, on Saturday night at the Kohl Center. With MSU trailing 2-1 entering the third, Wisconsin scored a pair of goals in the opening 2:18 of the period, which wound up putting the game out of reach.
Mitchell Lewandowski, the nation’s leading freshman scorer, tallied both goals for the Spartans.
In a game that featured a total of 11 power plays, Wisconsin used its first man-advantage of the night to get on the board, scoring at 8:37 of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead. Wyatt Kalynuk let a wrist shot go from the left point that Sean Dhooghe got a stick on and deflected past goaltender John Lethemon.
The second period was a special teams battle with the Badgers getting three power play sand the Spartans getting two. The Spartans skated off all three UW power plays in the period and were able to tie the game at the 11:24 mark as Lewandowski scored his first of the night.
During a stretch of sustained pressure in the UW end, Jerad Rosburg got the puck to Taro Hirose in the right circle. After surveying, Hirose sent the puck to Lewandowski in the slot where he let a low wrister go that found the back of the net.
Lethemon made a pair of stops on the Badger power play following the tying goal, including stoning Ryan Wagner on a deke to his backhand while alone in close.
The Spartans (9-14-1, 3-10-1-1) got their second power play of the middle period in the closing minutes and instead of netting the tying goal, Wisconsin’s Trent Frederic scored shorthanded on a breakaway to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead with 3:06 to go.
“That’s a big goal,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “We battle back and get it to 1-1. I thought we were doing some decent things and then you get a power play and momentum-wise and psychologically you’re looking to extent that and take a lead, and then it goes the other way. It was bad timing and a good play by them.”
Two quick goals to start the third gave Wisconsin (11-11-3, 5-7-2-0) a 4-1 lead. Wagner slid the puck past Lethemon from the slot at the 1:36 mark, and 42 seconds later JD Greenway’s point shot got through traffic and into the net.
“You have to defend well in the defensive zone and when you don’t, that’s what happens,” Cole said.
Lewandowski and the Spartans were able to cut the deficit to 4-2 with a power-play goal at the 6:06 mark. Lewandowski got the puck from Hirose and ripped it upstairs from near the right circle for his 14th goal of the year.
“He does a great job moving without the puck. He finds himself in good areas and he has a great release. It’s on and off his stick really quick," Cole said.
The Spartans weren’t able to get any closer as Seamus Malone got an empty-netter with 1:14 to play to make it 5-2.
Lethemon finished with 21 saves for the Spartans, while Wisconsin’s Kyle Hayton had 16.
The Spartans finished 1-for-6 on the power play and Wisconsin was 1-for-5.
Michigan State will next face Minnesota at home on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. The two teams will then meet two days later on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.