Spartans and Wolverines Skate to 1-1 Tie
John Lethemon made 37 saves for the Spartans.
EAST LANSING - The Michigan State hockey team played No. 19 Michigan to a 1-1 tie on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. Michigan won the shootout, 1-0, to earn the extra point in the Big Ten standings. MSU goaltender John Lethemon finished with 37 saves, while Carson Gatt scored the Spartans' lone goal.
"I thought we battled really hard, did a lot of good things and blocked a lot of pucks," MSU head coach Danton Cole said. "I think we'll do a couple things better tomorrow and spend a little more time in the offensive zone. It was a pretty even game, I think the shots might have skewed how the game looked, I think they did a better job of getting pucks on net. When challenged, John (Lethemon) did a great job."
A major penalty to Michigan's Joseph Cecconi 7:30 into the game gave the Spartans an early opportunity to get on the board with a 5-minute power play. But the Spartans weren't able to generate many quality chances and the Wolverines extinguished the power play.
With the game still scoreless early in the second, Michigan's Quinn Hughes broke the stalemate at the 5:06 mark. Hughes was able to get control of the puck near the top of the crease and made a move to beat John Lethemon with a backhander.
The Spartans (10-17-2, 4-13-2-1) tied the game with 4:43 to go in the second on a play that started with a big save by Lethemon. Lethemon robbed Brendan Warren's attempt off a 2-on-1, immediately turning the play up ice for the Spartans as Patrick Khodorenko weaved his way into the U-M zone and hit Taro Hirose with a pass near the high slot. Hirose drifted to his right and then fed a perfect pass to Carson Gatt, who was just off the right post where he one-timed the puck past Hayden Lavigne.
"John made a great save and it was a heck of a play at the other end," Cole said. "Taro and Patrick move and Carson just filled the hole and they hit him right on his forehand for an open-netter."
The Spartans killed Michigan's second power play of the game just over five minutes into the third period to keep it a tie game. Michigan (13-13-3, 8-10-3-2) outshot the Spartans 19-5 in the third period, but Lethemon denied the Wolverines at every opportunity with several spectacular saves, pushing the game to overtime.
MSU had two of the three total shots in the overtime period.
U-M's Tony Calderone scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Wolverines the extra point in the Big Ten Standings.
The Spartans and Wolverines will meet again on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena at 7 p.m.