March 21, 2014
ST. PAUL, MINN. - The Michigan State hockey team's season came to an end on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Big Ten Tournament in Saint Paul, Minn. Drew Brevig's goal at 4:23 of overtime gave Ohio State a 2-1 victory and a berth in the tournament semifinals to face No. 1 Minnesota tomorrow night at Xcel Energy Center.
The winning goal came on a flurry in front of the Spartan net. MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand and the Spartan defense blocked a handful of Buckeye attempts before Brevig got the puck on his stick in the slot and sent it into the net.
"We got caught out there on a long shift," MSU head coach Tom Anastos said. "Guys were tired. There was a mad scramble and the puck went in.
"Our effort was great tonight. Guys were laying out and blocking shots and were doing everything they could on that last scramble."
Michigan State (11-18-7) carried the play in the game's early going and after hard work in the OSU end, senior Greg Wolfe gave MSU the lead. A hard forecheck and then a pinch by defenseman Travis Walsh kept the puck in the zone and Lee Reimer collected it along the left side. Reimer then found Wolfe in front, who beat OSU goaltender Christian Frey up high for his 13th goal of the season.
The Spartans finished the first period with an 8-7 edge in shots on goal.
After not seeing much action in the first period, Hildebrand was tested early in the second. He stopped Tanner Fritz on the doorstep less than two minutes into the second stanza and then stoned Darik Angeli on a shorthanded attempt just over a minute later.
Matt Berry had a prime opportunity to up the Spartan lead to 2-0 with just over six minutes to play in the second when he rang a shot off the far post from the left side on a 2-on-1. Later, Joe Cox slipped past the OSU defense and took the puck hard to the net, but wasn't able to push it past Frey.
OSU (17-13-5) eventually tied the game at the 16:26 mark of the second. The goal was similar to the eventual game-winner as after a scramble in front of the crease, Fritz swept the loose puck into the net from the slot.
Like Berry's attempt in the second period, MSU had another quality chance just past the midway point of the third period that came off the stick of Villiam Haag. Haag went to the net from the left corner and tried to stuff the puck in on the far side, but Frey just got his toe on the puck and kicked it out.
A penalty late in the third gave MSU just its second power play of the game. Brent Darnell had the best chance of the man-advantage, when he ripped a shot from the left circle and Frey fought off, followed by a rebound try by Berry.
OSU finished with a 34-27 advantage in shots on goal.
"While it doesn't show on our record, I thought our team made huge progress over the previous year," said Anastos. "We kind limped out of the start this year and had a couple of key injuries that were hard for our team to overcome. It took us a while to get going.
"I know that this year we took a big step and our team got better. A lot of guys gained some valuable experience."