Spartans Force Big Ten Tourney Game Three With 4-2 Win at Notre Dame

The teams will now play Sunday at 6
Michigan State University Spartans logo. (MSU Image)
Michigan State University Spartans logo. (MSU Image)(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 8:00 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (MSU Athletics) – No. 20/20 Michigan State scored its most-ever goals in a Big Ten Tournament game and got the monkey off its back by securing its first-ever Big Ten Tournament victory, downing No. 19/17 Notre Dame 4-2.

The teams will now play Sunday to decide this best-of-three series, with the puck dropping at 6 pm at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

The determined Spartans – who dropped a 1-0 decision on Friday despite outshooting the Irish 36-21 (18-2 in the third period), stuck to the same script they brought into the weekend – a high-tempo, aggressive-forechecking, grind-it-out style that had the Irish in chaos for several stretches throughout both games.   Michigan State (17-17-2) was the dominant team in the first period, but still entered the intermission trailing 1-0 on the strength of a Solag Bakich goal that was generated on a two-on-none during a Spartan line change.

Michigan State finally got on the board midway through the second period on a goal by Jeremy Davidson on the power play off a nice cross-ice feed from Nicolas Muller, and took its first lead of the series on a Matt Basgall tally with just over three minutes remaining in the period.  In the third, the Spartans left little doubt, scoring twice in the first 5:34 – from Nash Nienhuis and Karsen Dorwart – to match its largest lead (three goals) over the Irish this season.  As the home team pushed to get back into it, they pulled goalie Ryan Bischel while skating on the power play, which led to a 6-on-4 goal by Jack Adams at 13:34.

After getting some confidence with a goal on the power play, Notre Dame kept Bischel on the bench for most of the final five minutes of regulation, but MSU’s defense was not having any of it – MSU combined for five saves and four blocked shots in that final five minutes to secure the victory and ensure a third game on Saturday.

MSU converted on its only power play chance in the second period, while its penalty kill was 2-for-3, allowing only the 6-on-4 goal.

Dylan St. Cyr made 31 saves, including 12 in each of the final two periods.  Bischel, who earned the 36-save shutout on Friday, stopped 28 shots for Notre Dame, 16 of which came in the first period. His team blocked 28 shots in front of him, compared to 15 for MSU.

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