Top Line Lifts Spartans to 4-1 Win Over Wisconsin

Jeff Barnes

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

EAST LANSING – Patrick Khodorenko scored twice and had an assist and Taro Hirose had a goal and two assists to lead the Michigan State hockey team past Wisconsin, 4-1, on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans never trailed and got out to a 3-0 lead before the Badgers got on the board late in the second period.

Goaltender Drew DeRidder made 27 saves to help MSU (10-13-4, 6-8-3-2 B1G) to its third straight home victory.

"Obviously it was a good game for us," MSU head coach Danton Cole said. "I thought the guys played hard right from the get-go. I thought they were moving the puck and skating well. Wisconsin put a lot of pressure on us in the neutral zone and the offensive zone and I thought our defense did a pretty good job. We handed it well and our top line buried some.

"Now we have to get ready for tomorrow night and see if we can do it again."

Penalties to each team with just under five minutes to go in the opening period created scoring chances for both teams. DeRidder stopped a Badger shot from the slot on an odd man rush and less than a minute later, Khodorenko made it 1-0 on a backhand from just off the right of the crease. Dennis Cesana got the puck up to Jerad Rosburg, who carried it into the UW zone. The puck found its way from Rosburg to Khodorenko just below the right circle where he backhanded it under the pad of goaltender Daniel Lebedeff.

The Spartans' KHL line pushed the lead to 2-0 with some pinpoint passing that resulted in Khodorenko getting his second of the game at the 5:19 mark of the second period.

Hirose brought the puck into the UW zone along the left side, cut to the center and dropped it through his legs to Mitchell Lewandowski. Lewandowski then slid it to Hirose, who had moved into the right circle. Hirose quickly gave it to Khodorenko in the slot, who beat Lebedeff with another low shot.

The Spartans made it 3-0 on the power play off some crisp passing and a perfect deflection by Lewandowski. After taking the puck from Cesana, Hirose stickhandled near the top of the right circle and then sent the puck into the low slot where Lewandowski was waiting and perfectly directed it high past Lebedeff for his sixth goal in the last six games.

Wisconsin (9-12-4, 5-6-4-1 B1G) got on the board with 1:33 to go in the second when Ty Emberson went to the net and was able to knock the puck past DeRidder to make it 3-1.

The Spartans had a pair of power plays in the third period and created good chances on both, but were unable to increase their lead.

Hirose eventually got the fourth Spartan goal with an empty-netter with 1:09 to play.

It was the ninth three-point game of the season for Hirose, who continues to lead the country in both points (45) and assists (31).

MSU outshot UW 15-10 in the final stanza and 32-28 for the game.

The Spartans also killed all three Wisconsin power plays, while going 1-for-4 on the man-advantage.

The Spartans and Badgers will meet again on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Munn.

Parking Information for Saturday's Game:
With the Spartan men's basketball team playing Indiana at 6 p.m. at Breslin Center, hockey parking passes regardless of designated lot will only be honored at Lot 79 (south of Spartan Stadium) and Ramp 7 (Harrison Road) beginning at 2:30 p.m. Handicap parking with a Lot 63E (Breslin) pass and a handicap tag will still be honored at Lot 63E as space allows as well as Ramp 5 (Trowbridge and Red Cedar) with a shuttle starting at 3 p.m.
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