DETROIT – The Michigan State hockey team fell to Michigan, 5-2, on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena. Trailing 3-0 early in the third period, Mitchell Lewandowski scored twice for the Spartans (10-15-5, 6-10-4-2) to make it a one-goal game, but the Wolverines (12-11-6, 8-7-4-2) got a pair of empty-net goals in the final 1:35 to seal the win.
Michigan made it 1-0 at the 5:31 mark of the first period on a goal by Dakota Raabe. Quinn Hughes took the puck to the net and from the left side, made a move, and then found Raabe open just of the right side of the crease where he got the puck past goaltender Drew DeRidder.
Will Lockwood doubled the U-M lead, scoring on the power play exactly three minutes later.
The Spartans best some of their best scoring chances of the game in the second period, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard. U-M goaltender Strauss Mann stopped Taro Hirose on a two occasions from in close, first on a shot from between the circles in the opening minute, and later on a backhand try after a deke from just off the top of the crease.
Michigan pushed the lead to 3-0 2:36 into the second when Nolan Moyle scored unassisted on a breakaway.
The Spartans finally solved Mann with just under seven minutes to go in the third while on the power play to make it a 3-1 game. Jerad Rosburg got the puck to Logan Lambdin at the right point where he fired a shot. The puck bounced off Mann and right to Lewandowski, where he deposited it into the net.
Just 2:32 later, Lewandowski made it a one-goal game. Rosburg took the puck into the U-M end and to the net before suddenly dishing it across the crease to Lewandowski, who tapped it past Mann to make it 3-2.
The Spartan pulled DeRidder with under two minutes to go to try and even the score, but Luke Morgan (1:35 to play) and Moyle (38 seconds to play) both scored empty-net goals to ice the game for U-M.
“I thought our guys battled back well in the second and did a decent job in the third,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “We got it to 3-2 so those are kind of things - there’s a lot of emotion in a game like that but overall I thought the guys competed and battled hard tonight. I think there are some things that we can do better; I don’t know if it was our best weekend but you ought to give Michigan some credit. They skated well and took away time and space. Hey, you tip your hat, you move on, we get ready for Penn State next week.”
Both teams went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Michigan outshot the Spartans, 30-23.
The Spartans play their final regular season home series next weekend as they host Penn State on Friday and Saturday at Munn Ice Arena.