EAST LANSING – The Michigan State hockey team was topped by No. 4/5 Cornell, 6-2, on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. The Big Red pulled away in the second period, scoring three times in the stanza. A pair of freshmen scored for the Spartans (2-4), including Josh Nodler, who netted his first career goal.
Michigan State University
Cornell (2-0) converted late in its only power play of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead. Brenden Locke got the puck into the MSU end where, from behind the goal line, Ben Berard slipped the puck out front to Tristan Mullin, who put it in the net.
“It was a tough game. They’re a very good team,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “I thought we did a good job in the first period, we played hard of a couple adjustments we had made. I think some things were going alright, we just couldn’t get anything forward. Then you find yourself down 1-0.”
Liam Motley got the first goal of Cornell’s three-goal second period at the 7:31 mark. Motley let a shot go from near the top of the right circle that deflected off a Spartan defender’s skate and into the net.
Michael Regush made it 3-0 with 3:51 to play in the period when he knocked in a rebound in font.
One minute and 45 seconds later, Morgan Barron tipped a point shot by Sam Malinsky through a crowd to push the Cornell lead to 4-0. The goal spelled the end of the night for MSU goaltender Drew DeRidder, as John Lethemon replaced him in net.
“You make a few mistakes here or there and all of a sudden, you’re down 4-0. Good teams will do that to you,” Cole said.
Regush got his second of the game, 41 seconds into the third period on a power play to make it 5-0.
The Spartans got on the board with a pair of power-play goals in a span of 2:22. Nodler got the first at the 6:47 mark, blasting a high one-timer past goaltender Matthew Galajda from near the wall in the left circle. Nicolas Müller had a deflection from the slot at the 9:09 mark to make the score 5-2.
Tommy Miller picked up assists on both Spartan goals.
“In the third period we said, ‘hey let’s play our game, let’s keep building, let’s keep learning.’ You never know, last year we had a couple times we were down and got back in the game,” Cole said. “It’s nice to see that. Our guys didn’t quit on us, and they won’t quit on Monday. We’ll rest up, get back to work and we’ll figure things out from here. This is a good hockey team, we tip our hats. Like I said we’ll get better and get back to work on Monday.”
Cornell, which was 3-for-6 on the power play, finished with a 30-21 advantage in shots on goal. MSU was 2-for-5 on the man-advantage.
The Spartans begin Big Ten play next weekend as they’ll travel to No. 12 Penn State.