EAST LANSING – The 20th-ranked Michigan State hockey team fell just short in its bid for a sweep of Minnesota as the Gophers topped the Spartans, 2-0, on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. Scott Reedy’s goal 1:40 into the first period stood as the difference in the game, while the Gophers added an empty-net goal with 1:28 to go.
The Spartans (11-10-1, 7-4-1) outshot the Gophers, 28-22, but couldn’t beat goaltender Jared Moe.
“It was a good hard-fought game and there are no real surprises there,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “Minnesota played hard. I think it was about a minute and a half in and they had that one shot and that ended up being the difference.”
Reedy’s goal came after an MSU turnover in the Minnesota (8-10-4, 3-5-4-3) end. Reedy carried the puck on an odd-man rush, entered the Spartan zone and beat goaltender John Lethemon with a snap shot from the right circle.
Both teams rang shots off the crossbar in the opening minute of the second period. Brody Stevens’ snap shot from high in the right circle beat Moe, but rang the crossbar, while seconds later Brannon McManus had an attempt of the rush the also clanked off the iron.
The Spartans had a prime opportunity to tie the game late in the second when they had a 5-on-3 advantage for just over a minute. MSU kept the puck in the Minnesota end the entire power play and had four shots on goal but couldn’t get the puck past Moe.
Logan Lambdin had a breakaway near the midway point of the third period, but the puck trickled off his stick as he got in on Moe.
The Spartans pulled Lethemon for the extra attacker with two minutes to play, but Ben Meyers’ empty-net goal sealed the win for Minnesota with 1:28 to go.
“There were chances both ways but for the most part, I thought our guys worked really hard,” Cole said. “There was a little bit more of a wall at their blue line today than there was last night, they did a good job with that.”
MSU was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Minnesota was 0-for-3.
The Spartans, who are now in second place in the Big Ten, will travel to Wisconsin next weekend to meet the Badgers on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game (9 p.m. ET) will be televised on ESPNU.