Spartans Battle Wisconsin to 2-2 Tie

Jeff Barnes

Michigan State hockey  (PHOTO:  MSU SID)
Michigan State hockey (PHOTO: MSU SID)

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State hockey team rallied twice from one-goal deficits and played Wisconsin to a 2-2 tie on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. Neither team was able to score in the overtime periods and Wisconsin earned the extra point in the Big Ten standings by winning the shootout in one round.

"It was a good battle," MSU head coach Danton Colesaid. "If that was a playoff game, we still might be playing. I like the atmosphere of it and they came real hard and I thought our guys kept battling. It was big for us to get four out of six points over the weekend with a team we're tied with in the standings. Overall lots of good stuff from us."

Mitchell Lewandowski had a goal and assist while Taro Hirose also scored for the Spartans (10-13-5, 6-8-4-2).

Spartan goaltender Drew DeRidder made 52 saves, several of which came at critical points late in the game.

"Drew was great," Cole said. "He just competes. The nice thing about Drew is – and I don't think he loved the first one he gave up - but that doesn't bug him. He just goes back and plays. The kid has a lot of confidence."

Wisconsin (9-12-5, 5-6-5-2) took a 1-0 lead 3:29 into the first on a goal by Will Johnson. Johnson took the puck from his own end down the left side and let shot go that got past DeRidder.

The Spartans tied the game less than a minute into the second as Hirose got his 15th goal of the season and NCAA-leading 46th point.

Goaltender Jack Berry stopped the puck behind the net and dumped around to the other side where Lewandowski was waiting near the right hash mark to intercept. Lewandowski quickly moved the puck to Hirose between the circles and he ripped a shot into the upper right corner to make it 1-1.

Wisconsin reclaimed the lead, 2-1, at the 9:36 mark of the second period on a rebound goal by Linus Weissbach. DeRidder stopped a shot off the rush by K'Andre Miller, but the rebound bounced out to Weissbach who put it into the net from off the right side.

A Badger penalty to end the second period gave the Spartans had just over a minute of power play time to start the third period and they were able to take advantage to tie the game, 2-2.

Lewandowski started the play in the MSU end, picking up a loose puck after Dennis Cesana forced a turnover. Lewandowski got the puck to Khodorenko on the left side, who took the puck into the UW zone. Khodorenko then stopped up and slid a perfect feed across the ice to Lewandowski who one-timed it past Berry from the right circle.

The goal was Lewandowski's 13th of the season and seventh in the last eight games.

The Spartans had two more power plays late in the third and couldn't snap the tie, as neither could Wisconsin, which went 0-for-1 on the man-advantage in the third.

MSU controlled both the 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 overtime sessions, outshooting UW 8-5. Hirose nearly ended it in the 3-on-3 session as he had Berry pulled away from the crease, but just missed with a backhand.

After Berry stopped Hirose to start the shootout, UW's Max Zimmer won it on the next shot.

UW finished with a 54-31 advantage in shots on goal.

For the second straight night, MSU held UW scoreless on the power play, extinguishing all four Badger attempts. MSU was 1-for-4 and now has a power play goal in six of the last eight games.

The Spartans will take on Michigan next Friday in Ann Arbor and then on Saturday in the Duel in the D at Little Caesars Arena.

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