Spartans Skate to 1-1 Tie With No. 3 Notre Dame

Michigan State University
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EAST LANSING – The Michigan State hockey team played No. 3/3 Notre Dame to 1-1 tie on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. Sam Saliba gave MSU (5-5-1, 3-1-1-0 B1G) the lead early in the second period, while Michael Graham tied it for Notre Dame (8-1-2, 4-1-2-1) with 1:39 to play in the third period. Goaltender John Lethemon made 36 saves for the Spartans.

“That was a battle and that’s kind of been the way our games have been the last few years with Notre Dame,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “I thought our guys battled hard and Notre Dame played really well. It felt like playoff hockey. It was fun.”

With neither team on the board and following a lengthy official review that lasted several minutes just past the opening five minutes of the second period, play resumed with a faceoff in the Notre Dame end. A clean win off the draw by Josh Nodler in the left circle got the puck to Logan Lambdin, who fed it to Cole Krygier at the left point. Krygier quickly hammered a low shot that Saliba got a stick on from the low slot and deflected past goaltender Cale Morris into the upper far corner of the net to give MSU a 1-0 lead at the 5:17 mark.

The goal was the first of the season for Saliba, while Lambdin’s assist extended his point streak to five games.

Lethemon turned away nine shots in the first period and then nine more in the second, including a big save in the closing seconds of the middle stanza.

The Spartans held on to the one-goal lead until Notre Dame pulled Morris for the extra attacker and tied it up with the 1:39 to play. Notre Dame used its timeout with 2:00 on the clock and following a faceoff in the MSU end and pressure by Notre Dame, Colin Theisen threw the puck toward the net from the right side where it bounced off Cam Morrison and then to Graham, who put it into the net from off the left side.

Neither team scored in the 5-minute, 5-on-5 overtime as the game officially ended in a tie, giving each team a point in the Big Ten standings. The best chance of the 3-on-3 overtime came off the stick of Jerad Rosburg, as with 20 seconds to go, he made a move around a UND defender near the right circle and clanked a shot off the crossbar.

Notre Dame eventually earned the extra point by winning the shootout in one round.

Both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play. Morris finished with 18 stops for UND.

The Spartans and Irish will meet again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Munn.