Spartans Blank USNTDP U-18 Team, 3-0
Patrick Khodorenko scored twice and Ed Minney made 20 saves in the exhibition win.
PLYMOUTH -- The Michigan State hockey team won its final game of the calendar year on Saturday night, topping the U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 Team, 3-0, in an exhibition contest at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. The Spartans were led by a pair of USNTDP alums in Patrick Khodorenko, who scored twice, and goaltender Ed Minney, who made 20 saves in a shutout effort.
“Patrick has been outstanding all year,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “Ed has been working extremely hard. John (Lethemon) has been carrying the mail and done a really good job, but Ed deserved to get in there and he was good. I think towards the end the guys were really pushing to do something for him because he’s been working so hard.”
With the game scoreless early in the second period, Team USA had a prime opportunity to break the stalemate with a 5-on-3 power play. The Spartans killed 1:24 of the two-man advantage before a USA penalty evened things up and then led to an MSU power play.
The Spartans were able to capitalize on the man-advantage with a tic-tac-toe play finished by Khodorenko. Mitchell Lewandowski gave the puck to Taro Hirose in the high slot, who made a move and then a perfect feed to Khodorenko for a one-timer from low in the right circle that found the back of the net.
Minney made several key stops in the second, including robbing Patrick Giles’ shot from the low slot while the Spartans were shorthanded late in the period. Minney made nine stops in a second period that saw MSU kill four USA power plays.
The Spartans got some breathing room with 2:59 to play in the third as David Keefer put home a rebound on the power play. Zach Osburn took the puck to the net from the right point and got off a shot that NTDP goaltender Drew DeRidder stopped, but the rebound found its way to Keefer on the left side of the crease, who tapped it into the net.
Khodorenko iced the game for the Spartans with 1:30 to play with an empty-netter.
The Spartans killed all seven NTDP power plays.
The Spartans will return to action in 2018 at the Great Lakes Invitational on Jan. 1-2 at Little Caesars Arena. MSU will meet Michigan Tech on Jan. 1 in the first semifinal at 2:30 p.m. and then face either Michigan or Bowling Green the following day.