ITHACA, New York -- The Michigan State hockey team completed a weekend sweep of No. 8 Cornell with a 4-3 victory on Saturday night at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, New York. The Spartans scored three goals in a 5:45 span in the second period to take the lead, while Taro Hirose’s goal 48 seconds into the third proved to be the game-winner.
Both Hirose and Mitchell Lewandowski finished with a goal and two assists. John Lethemon made a season-high 36 saves in goal.
“Obviously, it felt really good,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “I thought the guys played really hard. A good part of this game was probably the best game we played so far this year – we were skating, moving the puck, our forecheck was good and our backcheck was really good.
“There were some weird things that happened to get it back to 4-3, but even at the end I felt that we were in control. We felt good on the bench, I really liked the confidence we had even at 4-3. It was fun. It’s a tough building and we came in and played two really good games. I’m proud of the guys.”
Cornell opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Yanni Kaldis as he let a wrister go through traffic from the left point at the 3:08 mark of the first.
After killing a pair of penalties to start the second, the Spartans got a power play of their own and Patrick Khodorenko tied the game with high snap shot from the left circle. Hirose and Lewandowski both picked up assists on the power-play goal at the 10:24 mark.
Just over four minutes later, pressure by the Spartans resulted in several chances and Logan Lambdin was able to knock a rebound past goaltender Matthew Galajda from just off the right side of the crease, giving MSU its first lead, 2-1.
Lewandowski pushed the MSU lead to 3-1 1:29 later. Hirose set up Lewandowski in the right circle and he hammered a one-timer past Galajda.
While pulling ahead, the Spartans also managed to extinguish all four Cornell power plays in the second period. Lethemon turned away 13 shots in the period, including 10 on Big Red power plays alone.
Hirose extended MSU’s lead to 4-1 with a critical early third period goal. Jerad Rosburg and Lewandowski set up Hirose, who scored on a low shot from the right circle 48 seconds into the period.
Cornell made it a 4-2 game at the 3:43 mark of the third on a goal by Cam Donaldson.
Kaldis got his second power play goal with 5:26 to go to make it 4-3.
Cornell pulled the goaltender for an extra attacker with two minutes to go, but the Spartans warded off every Big Red attempt to hold on for the win.
MSU contended with Cornell’s power play all night as the Big Red had eight tries on the man-advantage, going 2-for-8. The Spartans went 1-for-3 on the power play.
Cornell finished with a 39-27 edge in shots on goal. Seventeen of Cornell’s shots came on the man-advantage.
Michigan State is next in action at Munn Ice Arena on Friday, Nov. 2 against Ferris State in the first game of a home-and-home series.