Spartans Skate Past No. 17 Penn State, 5-3

Jeff Barnes

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

EAST LANSING – The Michigan State hockey team got goals from five different players in a 5-3 victory over No. 17 Penn State on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans (11-15-5, 7-10-4-2) never trailed and grabbed hold of the game by breaking a 1-1 tie with four consecutive goals, three of which came in the second period.

"I thought the guys battled pretty hard," MSU head coach Danton Cole said. "I thought we handled things okay in the first; kind of getting up to speed. I thought for periods in the second we did a better job of being simple, being fast and getting pucks out of our own end and attacking - and all of a sudden it was 5-1. We got away from that a little bit maybe, but overall there was a lot of energy and that's what I ask of the guys - just bring a lot of energy and that will make up for a lot of mistakes."

Austin Kamer had a goal and assist to lead the Spartans, while goaltender John Lethemon made a career-high 44 saves.

"It was good to get Lethemon in, he had a nice game for us," Cole said.

A pair of penalties to Penn State (16-11-2, 8-10-1-1) at the 3:12 mark gave the Spartans the chance to get on the board first and they took advantage. Just over a minute into the 5-on-3, Taro Hirose fed the puck to Cody Milan just off the goal line on the left side. Milan made a behind the back pass across the crease to Patrick Khodorenko, who had a nearly open net and didn't miss for his 17th goal of the season.

Penn State tied it on a power-play goal by Nikita Pavlychev at the 6:56 mark, but the Spartans reclaimed the lead, 2-1, when Kamer took advantage of a turnover for his second goal in the last three games. Penn State's Nate Sucese tried to clear the puck from behind the net up the middle, but Kamer intercepted and snapped a shot past goaltender Peyton Jones at the 14:46 mark.

MSU's three-goal second period started just over two minutes into the stanza mark when Tommy Miller's shot from the right point got past Jones low in the far corner of the net to make it 3-1. Christian Krygier and Sam Saliba both picked up assists on what was Miller's second goal of the season.

Adam Goodsir made it 4-1 when he put back a rebound at the 8:25 mark. Goodsir followed up a shot from the point by Cole Krygier, knocking the loose puck into the net from the low slot.

The Spartans pushed their lead to 5-1 by capitalizing on another turnover just prior to the midway point of the stanza. Christian Krygier dumped the puck into the PSU zone where a Nittany Lion defenseman lost control of it after pressure by Brody Stevens. The puck drifted out to the slot where Brennan Sanford picked it and snapped it under the bar.

Penn State pushed back to make it a two-goal game. Ludvig Larsson got a rebound past Lethemon on the power play with 8:49 to play in the period to make it 5-2. Sam Sternschein scored with 2:07 to go in the second on a snap shot from the left circle.

Lethemon stopped all 19 Penn State shots, including four on a power play, in the third period.

The Spartans and Nittany Lions will meet again on Saturday at 7 p.m. MSU will honor its three seniors – Zach Osburn, Milan and Sanford – at approximately 6:45 p.m.

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