Spartans fall 2-1 to Northeastern in Winter Showdown

With Michigan State Men’s and Women’s basketball returning to East Lansing with wins against Northeastern, nothing would have made the weekend sweeter for Spartan nation than a hockey win against the Huskies. Unfortunately, the last place team in Hockey East proved to be too much for the Spartans as they fell 2-1 on Saturday night.

The first period was all Northeastern. The Huskies were able to forecheck to a premium against the Spartans and as a result the puck stayed in the Huskies offensive zone for the majority of the first period.

The Spartans were unable to apply much pressure to Husky goaltender Ryan Ruck. Ruck was hardly tested and when he was, the freshman stood tall making some impressive saves. One of note came on one of MSU’s two power play opportunities. Spartan captain Michael Ferrantino set himself up in between the circles where he let a shot go, Ruck just barely got hit right pad on the puck.

The lone goal of the period belonged to Northeaster. With less than two minutes to go in the first, it was the senior Mike McMurty who took a pass from teammate Brendan Collier behind the net and put a backhander past Jake Hildebrand.

The same theme from the first period carried over into the second, the Huskies played hockey and the Spartans watched.

The Huskies added to their lead on the power play just 8:14 into the second period. The Spartans are a team who pride themselves on their shot-blocking. They are one of the best shot-blocking teams in the nation, but the best aspect of their game hurt them this time around. Northeastern’s leading scorer Zach Aston-Reese somehow snuck in behind four Spartan defenders, who were too busy trying to block a shot from the point, and was in the right place at the right time for an easy tip-in. The Huskies lead 2-0 lead through 40 minutes of play.

The third period has been the Spartans best period as of late. Last weekend against Wisconsin, the Spartans were tied with the Badgers entering the final period of play. The Spartans ended up winning that game 4-3 thanks to a late goal from Justin Hoomaian.

The following game the Badgers got the best of the Spartans, winning 3-0. Despite the loss, the Spartans did show a lot of fight in the final period.

The same thing happened to the Spartans in this game, they were able to get on the board with just under seven minutes to play in the game. Mason Appleton took a shot from the point that took several friendly bounces, one off a Husky defender and the other off of Thomas Ebbing, who was the goal scorer.

The Spartans received a crucial power play opportunity with just over two minutes to go in the game and with it, a chance to tie the game. The Spartans were unable to cash in on the man-advantage as they have so many times this season, and the Huskies would go on the lose 2-1.

Michigan State returns to action Dec. 29 as they take on Michigan Tech in the Great Lakes Invitational. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.