Spartans Down No. 1 Wisconsin 4-2
Spartans’ first win against No. 1 team since 2009.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - No 11 Michigan State earned a convincing 4-2 win over top-ranked Wisconsin on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena.
MSU defeated a No. 1 team for the first time since Oct. 24, 2009, a 3-2 overtime win at Miami. The Spartans improve to 4-0-1 in Big Ten play and 9-3-1 overall, while the Badgers suffer their first Big Ten loss of the season (4-1-0) and are now 9-2-0 overall.
Nicolas Müller had a goal and an assist for the Spartans, while linemates Reed Lebster (two assists) and Jeremy Davidson (empty-net goal) also found their way onto the scoresheet. Owen Lindmark and Sawyer Schooll had the Badger goals.
MSU took a 1-0 lead late in the first on the goal by Müller, then broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of goals in the final 4:30 of the second period from Joey Larson and Tanner Kelly. While Wisconsin trimmed it back to a one-goal game at the midpoint of the third period, the Spartans had a huge penalty kill leading into the final five minutes of the game and iced it with the Davidson tally for the 4-2 final.
Trey Augustine made 32 saves, while counterpart Kyle McClellan made 38 for the Badgers with three goals against.
MSU’s sellout crowd of 6,555 was the sixth in seven home games this fall and the 14th out of the last 15 home games for Michigan State dating back to last season. The two teams meet again on Saturday, with the puck drop scheduled for 6 pm.
STATISTICS OF NOTE
- Nicolas Müller had a goal and an assist in the contest, his fourth multiple-point game of the year. He has goals in back-to-back games.
- Joey Larson scored his fifth goal of the season in the second period, and first goal since Oct. 19.
- Tanner Kelly scored his third goal in the last four games.
- Artyom Levshunov has a point in six straight games after his assist on Muller’s goal.
- The Spartans are now 8-0-1 when scoring first.
- MSU was a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, extending their streak out to eight straight kills dating back to the third period of the second game at Ohio State (Nov. 4).
- MSU won the battle in the faceoff circle (45-of-80), and blocked 12 shots.
First Period: The game was high energy from the drop of the puck, with end-to-end action and each team controlling several stretches of time in their offensive zones. After an early successful penalty kill, MSU went a five-minute stretch with exceptional work on the forecheck, leading to a 6-2 edge in shots on goal leading into the media time out. The Badgers wanted to play at a high pace as well, leading to a highly entertaining period of hockey. MSU got on the board in the final minute of the period, as Reed Lebster carried the puck into the zone. His shot was saved and Artyom Levshunov launched another from the top of the left circle, and Lebster was in front to poke it the rebound out to a crashing Nicolas Müller. Müller’s shot found its mark past the glove hand of Kyle McClellan for the senior’s fourth goal of the season and second in two games.
Second Period: The Badgers tied the game at 7:41 of the period to knot the game a one each. up on a goal by Owen Lindmark from the left circle, as he one-times a cross-slot pass by Jack Horbach. At about the 12-minute mark, the Spartans took a penalty as Maxim Strbak was whistled for interference along the far boards. MSU’s PK went to work, not only killing off the penalty with just one shot on net and generating two quality shorthanded chances that forced Kyle McClellan to make big saves. MSU capitalized on those chances late in the period – the first a power play goal by Joey Larson at 15:31, and then an impressive individual effort by Tanner Kelly with just over a minute remaining in the frame. The Spartans poured 13 shots on net over the final 10 minutes of the period and 21 total in the period – a single-period high this season.
Third Period: The Badgers cut into the lead just past the eight-minute mark of the third period. Sawyer Scholl picked up the puck below the goal line on the left side of the goalcage, circled behind Augustine, and stuffed it home at the right post for his second goal of the year. The teams continued their high-energy pace into the final 10 minutes of the period, and the Badgers looked like they had a chance to capitalize after Karsen Dorwart was whistled for hooking with seven minutes to play. MSU killed off the penalty, as Augustine made three big saves - and came up with two more on the doorstep after the penalty had expired. With 2:22 to play, Wisconsin sent goalie Kyle McClellan to the bench in favor of an extra skater, and Jeremy Davidson iced the game with an empty-net tally. Wisconsin put 15 shots on net in the frame - all turned away by MSU’s freshman goalie.
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