No. 1 Spartans Defeat Ohio State, 2-1
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sometimes when you're No. 1 in the nation, it takes an unlikely hero to keep you there.
Sophomore defenseman Mike Weaver, who scored his first career goal just a week ago, scored his second 4:24 into the third period Friday night at Ohio State, lifting the Michigan State hockey team to a 2-1 victory over the Buckeyes.
Weaver, who also may have played his best defensive game of the year, stepped into the play and took a pass from senior right wing Kevin O'Keefe. His shot from inside the right circle beat Jeff Maund on the near side and gave the Spartans the lead.
Michigan State was by no means assured victory at that point, however, as senior center Sean Berens-the team's best penalty killer-was assessed a five-minute major penalty for hitting from behind just over a minute after the goal.
Some excellent penalty killing-most notably from Weaver, senior defenseman Tyler Harlton and junior center Mike York-allowed MSU to kill off that OSU power play and one more. Senior goaltender Chad Alban also bailed the Spartans out with a save off the end of his stick on a wide open buckeye.
Alban made 21 saves in the game to lift the Spartans to a 10-1-2 overall (6-1-1 CCHA). Michigan State outshot OSU, 38-22.
The game started with no scoring in the first period, but Michigan State got the better opportunities. The Spartans outshot Ohio State, 10-4, and had their best chance when a York short-handed bid went off the post.
The first period marked the eighth consecutive period MSU had held an opponent to five shots or fewer, a streak which dated back through the third period of the Nov 8 Notre Dame game.
That streak came to an end in the second period, although the Spartans still had a shot advantage, 19-10. Ohio State put the first mark on the scoreboard 4:57 into the period, but Michigan State struck back eight minutes later to tie the score. Shawn Horcoff left a nice drop pass for York on a three-on-two, and York fired the puck towards the net. Freshman right wing Rustyn Dolyny tipped it in from the far post, his sixth goal in eight games.
Michigan State stays on the road Saturday night and puts its No. 1 ranking on the line against Bowling Green (2-9-1 overall).
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