Hockey Rally Falls Short vs. No. 5 Wisconsin
 
 
 
Joe Cox
 
Joe Cox
 
 

March 15, 2014

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EAST LANSING - The Michigan State hockey team dropped its regular-season finale to fifth-ranked Wisconsin, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans rallied from a 4-0 first-period deficit to pull within one, but could not come all the way back. The Spartans outshot the Badgers by a count of 29-13 over the final two periods and used goals from Matt Berry, Dean Chelios and Villiam Haag to get back in the game.

"Wisconsin is a good team. We didn't have it in the first period and they were very dominant. We dug ourselves a hole that we couldn't get out of," said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. "On the bright side, it showed our resilience to keep coming back. We competed pretty hard in those final 40 minutes, but it leaves you wanting those other 20 minutes."

Highlights

The Spartans (11-17-7, 5-9-6-4 Big Ten) will be the fifth-seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament and face fourth-seeded Ohio State in the quarterfinals. The game will be played at 8 p.m. Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

The Badgers (22-10-2, 13-6-1-0 Big Ten), who finished second in the conference's regular-season standings, jumped on the Spartans early Saturday, as Nic Kerdiles scored a power-play goal just 2:55 in to give UW a 1-0 lead.

Gavin Hartzog made it 2-0 Wisconsin less than two minutes later with a shot from the left point that beat a screened MSU goaltender Will Yanakeff.

Sean Little put home a rebound from the left side to give the Badgers their third goal with just over five minutes to play in the frame. Grant Beese made the score 4-0 before the period ended with a shot from the left side that banked off the far post and into the net.

Matt Berry put MSU on the board with a power-play goal early in the second. Berry walked out from the left corner and fired a shot toward UW goaltender Joel Rumpel. The puck bounced off Rumpel, hit a Wisconsin player, bounced back toward the net and went in to make it 4-1, 1:26 into the period.

The goal turned the momentum in MSU's favor as they went on to outshoot the Badgers, 16-5, in the period.

MSU had a prime opportunity to cut into the deficit when Joe Cox was a hauled down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. On the ensuing penalty shot, Cox had Rumpel beat, but couldn't get enough of handle on the puck after making the move to put it in the net.

Chelios cut the deficit in half just before the midway point of the second. Chelios got the puck from RJ Boyd after entering the zone and beat Rumpel from the right side.

With the score 4-2, the Spartans continued to swarm the Badgers as the game went into the third period. It was Haag that eventually pulled MSU to within a goal just over five minutes into the final stanza. Haag took a feed from Jake Chelios, cut in from the left side boards and ripped a shot over the glove of Rumpel to make the score 4-3.

The Spartans pressed the Badgers to the end, but couldn't again solve Rumpel to get the tying goal.

"We played really well in the second and third periods and it's something to build on," said Anastos. "We played with a sense of urgency and did all the little things we need to in order to have success."

Seniors Greg Wolfe, Lee Reimer, Jake Chelios and Dean Chelios all picked up points in what was their final home game.

"It's disappointing," said Anastos. "You want to win your last game here for your seniors. I thought we left something on the table, so I'm disappointed."

MSU finished with a 32-22 advantage in shots on goal.