MSU Hockey: Spartans’ Comeback Not Enough at Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wisconsin -- The Michigan State hockey team dug out of an early hole on Friday night in Madison, but it wasn’t enough as Wisconsin broke a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals to down the Spartans, 5-3. Trailing 3-0 in the second, the Spartans (6-8-1, 2-4-1-1) scored three straight to knot the game, but Wisconsin (7-7-3, 3-3-3-1) got the only goals of the third period, including the game-winner by Peter Tischke with 11:19 to play.

“I thought there were some ebbs and flows to the game,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “We had it at 3-3 and I thought the first half of the third period was fine. I didn’t think we did a good job after that – their defensemen were able to get up into the play and come through the neutral zone with speed and we didn’t do a very good job handling it, so we have to be better at that.”

Patrick Khodorenko scored twice and had an assist, while linemate Taro Hirose set up all three Spartan tallies. The duo, along with Mitchell Lewandowski, nearly helped MSU claw back again in the third period.

“They had a lot of chances,” Cole said of Khodorenko, Hirose Lewandowski. “Khodorenko had a tip that just missed the net, then he set up (Dennis) Cesana on the back door and he fanned on it. I thought they had control and had chances. They played a good game; they’re dangerous. “

Wisconsin’s Sean Dhooghe got the only goal of the opening period, scoring on the power play with a wrister from the slot 2:05 into the game.

The Badgers’ upped their lead to 3-0 with two goals in the opening five minutes of the second period. Mick Messner go the first at the 3:14 mark with a wraparound. Ty Emberson made it 3-0 1:46 later when he got control of the puck at the right point and whipped a shot through traffic that got over MSU goaltender Drew DeRidder’s shoulder.

Khodorenko started the Spartans’ second-period comeback with 12:58 to go. Hirose and Lewandowski set up Khodorenko, who got a pass as he entered the UW zone and fended off Badger defenders, went to his left and ripped a shot high into the short side of the net.

Less than five minutes later, Khodorenko cut the MSU deficit to 3-2. Jerad Rosburg kept the puck in the zone at the left point, sending it down to Hirose behind the UW net. Hirose quickly made a no-look pass behind his back to Khodorenko in front, who had time and calmly flipped the puck past goaltender Daniel Lebedeff.

The same trio – Rosburg, Khodorenko and Hirose – combined to get the next Spartan goal and make it 3-3. After taking the puck from Khodorenko, Hirose stopped in the UW zone along the right side, waited, and then dished the puck cross-ice to Rosburg, who let a shot go that deflected into the net.

The eventual game-winner came from Tischke, a defenseman, with a shot from the right point at the 8:41 mark of the third period.

Another defenseman, Wyatt Kalynuk, scored off the rush less than three minutes later to make it 5-3.

Both teams had two power play opportunities in the first period and that was it for the game. MSU was 0-for-2 and Wisconsin 1-for-2.

UW outshot the Spartans in all three periods and by a count of 34-17 for the game.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.