Hockey Smothers Princeton, 4-1
Nov. 29, 2013
EAST LANSING - Jake Hildebrand made 31 saves and four different Spartans scored as the Michigan State hockey team defeated Princeton, 4-1, on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. MSU never trailed as it took a 1-0 lead in the first, made it 2-0 in the second and then added a pair of goals in the third.
"Tonight was nice on a few accounts. Obviously the result was something we needed, but it was nice to get the first goal and to see four pucks go in the net," said Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos. "It was also good to see Jake Hildebrand play the type of game we're used to seeing him play."
Michigan State (4-7) grabbed the lead just 4:02 into the game as Joe Cox scored his third goal of the season. Rhett Holland started the play in the Spartans' zone, hitting Mike Ferrantino with a pass near center ice, who bumped the puck ahead to Dean Chelios. Chelios then gave the puck to Cox near the blue line, and Cox got around a pair of defenseman and went to his backhand, beating Tiger goaltender Colton Phinney upstairs.
The Spartans nearly doubled their lead early in the second period as David Bondra had a chance from in close off an odd-man rush. Jake Chelios grabbed the rebound on Bondra's shot, but his attempt sailed over the net.
The teams traded scoring chances as the period went on with MSU eventually finding the back of the net again to make it 2-0. A save by Hildebrand at one end spurred a Spartan rush into the Princeton zone by Lee Reimer, Greg Wolfe and Ryan Keller. Wolfe wound up with the puck in the corner and threw it to a wide-open Keller in front, who banged it home for his first of the season.
"Wolfie made a good play to get the puck out front and all three of us were working hard down low," said Keller.
After killing a penalty to start the third period, MSU made it 3-0 at the 4:26 mark. Villiam Haag corralled the puck along the wall on the left side and shoveled it back to Jake Chelios, who hammered a shot that hit the glove of Phinney, but bounced out went into the net.
The Spartans took advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity to up their lead to 4-0 at the 11:38 mark. Mackenzie MacEachern was the beneficiary of a tic-tac-toe play that started at the point with RJ Boyd and John Draeger. Draeger made a diagonal pass from the left point to MacEachern on the right side of the crease, who finished the play by sliding the puck through the legs of Phinney.
Princeton (3-9) foiled Hildebrand's shutout bid with 3:11 to play as Garret Skrbich capitalized on a Spartan turnover and scored from the slot to make it 4-1.
The Tigers finished with a 32-27 edge in shots on goal. Princeton went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage, while MSU went 1-for-5.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday at 1 p.m.
"For our team to try and find our identity and build some confidence, tonight's effort was important," said Anastos. "It was good to get this win and now we can look toward Sunday and we know that's going to be a very difficult game."
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