#20 Michigan State Opened Weekend Shutting Out The Badgers

Hondo S. Carpenter

The #20 Michigan State Spartan hockey team entered the weekend with a chance to take the Big Ten conference lead. In fact, with a sweep of the Badgers they might even take the lead with some padding. They took care of business on Friday night with a big win in Madison. It was a 4-0 shutout.

MSU Hockey super SID Jeff Barnes had this write up about the big win and shared it with us:

No. 20 Spartans Shut Out Badgers, 4-0

 MADISON, Wisconsin – John Lethemon made 39 saves and the 20th-ranked Michigan State hockey team scored three goals in the third period to top Wisconsin, 4-0, on Friday night at the Kohl Center. Lethemon’s shutout was his conference-leading fifth of the season, while Jerad Rosburg scored twice as MSU moved into first-place in the Big Ten, one point ahead of Penn State.

 The Spartans (12-10-1, 8-4-1) withstood early pressure by the Badgers as Lethemon turned way 13 shots in the first half of the first period. MSU pushed back as the period went on and came within centimeters of getting on the board as Brody Stevens and Dennis Cesana both clanked shots off the post.

 The Spartans broke the stalemate just prior to the eight-minute mark of the second period on a Tommy Apap deflection. With the play in the UW end, Gianluca Esteves got the puck along the boards on the right side and up to Rosburg at the point, who let go a low wrister. Apap got his stick on the shot from just inside the left circle, deflecting it low past Berry for his fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 Spartan lead.

 “Weathering the storm was a good way to put it,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said of the Spartans keeping it a 0-0 game early on. “John was really strong. We battled back I think we got some sticks on some pucks and kind of found our bearings there.”

 Michigan State carried a 1-0 lead into the third period and got the all-important second goal just 1:16 into the final stanza, courtesy of Sam Saliba. Logan Lambdin carried the puck up ice and got it to Saliba in the UW zone, who snapped the puck off the post and past Berry from the left side.

 Butrus Ghafari also picked up an assist on the tally that gave the Spartans a two-goal edge.

“In a game like that the second goal is pretty big. Sammy came down and put a good shot on,” Cole said.

 The Spartans had three power plays in the third period and were able to connect on the final one with 7:31 to play. After getting the puck from Dennis Cesana, Patrick Khodorenko whipped a perfect pass across the ice from the left to the right circle where Rosburg one-timed it into a nearly open net to make it 3-0.

 “The power play, I thought, looked really sharp tonight and they finally got one out of it,” Cole said.

 UW pulled Berry for the extra attacker with over four minutes to play and Rosburg got his second of the game – an empty-netter – from the MSU zone to make it 4-0 with 4:16 to go.

 Apap and Khodorenko both assisted on the goal.

 Wisconsin (8-12-1, 3-9-1-1) finished with a 39-26 edge in shots on goal and failed to score on its only power play, which came just 26 seconds into the game.

 MSU was 1-for-5 on the man-advantage.

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