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No. 6 Michigan State drops season-finale to No. 4 Wisconsin

The Spartans fell in their season-finale at Wisconsin, but Michigan State will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament after clinching a regular season championship on Friday...

Fresh off clinching the Big Ten championship, No. 6 Michigan State hockey visited No. 4 Wisconsin on Saturday night for its regular season finale.

The Spartans had won all three of the previous contests with the Badgers this season, including a 5-2 victory on Friday night to clinch the regular season conference championship and a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. However, Wisconsin made it their mission to avoid a second sweep by the Spartans, beating MSU 4-1 after a hot start to the game.

Just a minute and a half in, the Badgers got on the board when forward Sawyer Scholl placed a beautiful shot over MSU goaltender Trey Augustine’s shoulder to take the lead. Less than two minutes later, Michigan State defenseman Artyom Levshunov committed a minor boarding penalty, giving a power play opportunity to Wisconsin. After a point shot from Badger forward Cruz Lucius, there was a scramble in front of the net until Wisconsin’s Carson Bantle was able to put the puck past Augustine to increase the Badgers’ lead to 2-0.

Midway through the first period, the Spartans would cut the lead in half during a 5-on-3 opportunity. MSU forwards Isaac Howard and Nicolas Muller passed the puck back and forth below the goal line before finding fellow forward Karsen Dorwart on a one-timer. Unfortunately, that was all of the offense for Michigan State on Saturday night. 

Wisconsin scored the only goal of the second period, when forward Jack Horbach found Bantle for a cross-ice pass, who ripped a shot past Augustine to bring the Badgers lead to 3-1. Wisconsin would ice the game when Scholl netted his second goal of the game late in the third period against an empty net.

With this defeat, Michigan State concludes its regular season at 22-9-3 overall and 16-6-2 in conference play. After winning the Big Ten’s regular season title, the Spartans will have a weekend off before hosting the conference semifinals at Munn Arena on March 16. As the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Michigan State will square off with the lowest-seeded team which advances out of this coming weekend’s first round.

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