COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tanner Laczynski’s goal just over 13 minutes into the opening period stood as the difference as the 20th-ranked Michigan State hockey team fell to 11th-ranked Ohio State, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Ohio State (9-4-1, 5-3-0-0) was able to limit the Spartans (6-7-1, 4-3-1-0) to 11 shots on goal through two periods, but MSU pressed the Buckeyes in the third. MSU outshot OSU 12-6 in the final stanza, which was played heavily in the Buckeye end.
“We found some life and it was only 1-0 and we hadn’t played really well,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “I thought we worked extremely hard, just not real smart and we just couldn’t find our legs as a collective group. Then in the third the guys did find it and I give them credit for that, and they battled.”
Less than four minutes into the third, the Spartans got back-to-back quality chances off a shot from between the circles by Adam Goodsir, and then Ginaluca Esteves’ rebound try from the low slot seconds later that goaltender Tommy Nappier got a pad on to keep out of the net.
Logan Lambdin had perhaps the Spartans’ best scoring opportunity of the third as he broke into the OSU zone down the right side and was able to get around the defenseman and get to the net. Lambdin crossed the top of the crease and snapped the puck, but the outstretched right pad of Nappier got just enough of the shot with nine minutes to play in the third period.
MSU pulled goaltender John Lethemon for the extra attacker with a minute to go, but couldn’t tie it up and Gordi Myer’s empty-net goal with 36 seconds to play sealed the Spartans’ fate.
“Johnny and the guys kept it a 1-0 to give us a chance,” Cole said. “We had lots of good chances in the third, but it wasn’t probably one of our more complete games. It was a battle out there and we kept in it.”
The game-winning goal came at the 13:14 mark of the opening period. After a scramble around the MSU net that left Lethemon on the ice among a trio of players, the puck got out to Laczynski near the boards on the right side, where he fired it in.
The Spartan penalty kill was put to the test four times through two periods and each time was able to keep the Buckeyes from adding to their lead.
MSU had two power plays in the first period and then one over each of the next two stanzas.
OSU finished with a 38-23 advantage in shots on goal.
Michigan State starts a four-game homestand on Friday as they’ll host Wisconsin for a pair of contests next weekend at Munn.