Win Over No. 1 Badgers Gives MSU Series Sweep
Spartans sweep top team.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - No 11 Michigan State completed its sweep of No. 1 Wisconsin on Saturday with a 3-2 victory in front of a raucous sellout crowd at Mason Rink. The Spartans (10-3-1, 5-0-1 B1G) move to the top of the Big Ten standings at the completion of the third week of Big Ten play. MSU is the first team in the country to get to double-digit wins this season. Wisconsin is now 9-3-0, 4-2-0 in Conference action. MSU has swept two of its three Big Ten series – the Spartans previously won both games at Ohio State before earning four points last weekend against Penn State. MSU is now four weekends into a stretch of 12 straight games against ranked teams and is 2-2 against top-five squads. Entering the third period in a 1-1 deadlock, MSU got a pair of goals in the third period from Joey Larson and Nash Nienhuis and held off a pressing Badger team that got an extra-attacker score with just over a minute to play to make it a one-goal game. Trey Augustine was exceptional between the pipes for MSU, turning away 28 shots, including 12 in the second period when the Spartans were outshot by a 13-3 margin. Kyle McClellan stopped 13 shots in the first period when MSU was buzzing and finished with 25 on the night as the Badgers dropped consecutive games for the first time this season. The Spartans have scored at least three goals in 13 of 14 games this season. MSU has another Big Ten series next weekend when it travels to Minneapolis for a two-game set at Minnesota on Friday and Sunday.
STATISTICS OF NOTE
- Joey Larson scored a go-ahead goal for MSU in the third period, his second goal of the weekend.
- Jeremy Davidson also had his second goal of the weekend, potting a first-period tally.
- Nash Nienhuis scored his fifth of the year to ice the game in the third, his fourth of the season. Isaac Howard, who had his nine-game point streak snapped on Friday, had the primary assist.
- Three freshmen defensemen got on the scoresheet with assists: Patrick Geary on Davidson’s in the first period, and Austin Oravetz and Maxim Strbak on Larson’s marker early in the third.
- Nicolas Müller appeared in his 150th career hockey game, all at Michigan State. He had a first-period assist to extend his point streak to three games.
- MSU has killed off 13 consecutive penalties dating back to the Ohio State series, and extinguished all five chances against tonight and was 7-of-7 in the series.
- MSU is now 7-0-1 at home this season.
First Period: Jeremy Davidson scored eight minutes into the game, as Nicolas Muller found him from the right circle, putting it right on his stick for a one-timer from the slot. MSU had the better offensive metrics in the period with a 14-8 edge in shots on net, as the teams continued their up-tempo pace from Friday’s first contest.
Second Period: The teams skated through more than 18 minutes of scoreless hockey, but the action on the ice was certainly not lacking, MSU took back-to-back penalties in the first half of the frame, allowing the Badgers to put together some momentum despite not finding the scoreboard. Wisconsin was able to generate 13 shots on net, and scored on its final one of the frame when Owen Lindmark tipped it past Augustine after the freshman had stood tall and stopped the two previous shots in the shift. MSU had a season-low three shots in the period – after exploding for a season-high 21 in the middle frame on Friday.
Third Period: MSU came out with a solid resolve to generate offense in the third, and it led to a Joey Larson goal before the period was two minutes old. The freshmen defensemen Austin Oravetz and Maxim Strbak passed the puck across the top of the zone just inside the blue line, and Strbak sent it off the wall to the right of goalie Kyle McClellan. It rebounded out to the low right circle, where Larson threw it on net as he was spinning at the bottom of the right hash, and it found its mark for a 2-1 Spartan lead. The game was a one-goal affair until the final four minutes – the Spartans got into the zone and Isaac Howard ripped a shot from the top of the right circle, which was saved – the Spartans got the puck back out to Nienhuis at the left point and he lasered the puck past McClellan for his fourth of the season. With desperation setting in, the Badgers kept pressing, which led to a Ben Dexheimer extra-attacker goal with 1:03 left in regulation, but MSU held off the final push to earn the 3-2 win.
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