Michigan State completes the weekend sweep over Wisconsin in 5-2 win


MSU forward Jeremy Davidson (11) and teammates celebrate after scoring a goal in the Spartans’ 3-1 win over Miami (OH) on Oct. 16, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Matt Merrifield, General Assignment Reporter

East Lansing– After an impressive 3-2 win Friday night, Michigan State hockey returned to the ice Saturday night, looking to sweep the series against the Wisconsin Badgers. Even after a strong comeback effort from the Badgers, Michigan State was able to pull out a 5-2 victory.

Similar to Friday night, tensions were high between the conference foes with tempers boiling over multiple times throughout the game. There were a combined 31 penalty minutes between the two teams. Michigan State had 10 and the Badgers had 21, including a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking by Roman Ahcan.

The Badgers came out slow to start the game, and an early turnover cost them. Spartan forward Mitchell Lewandowski intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, giving him and Jesse Tucker a 2-on-1, and Lewandowski buried a one-timer to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game.

MSU forward Kristoff Papp (13) skates next to Mitchell Lewandowski (9) in the Spartans’ 2-1 victory over Miami (OH) on Oct. 16, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

The Spartans continued to get chances throughout the first, including a 3-on-1 thanks to a lucky bounce of the linesman, but Michigan State couldn’t capitalize. Later in the period, Wisconsin captain Tarek Baker took a tripping penalty that would be costly for the Badgers. Right off the faceoff, Michigan State got the puck to captain Dennis Cesana who picked the corner right over goaltender Jared Moe’s shoulder to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.

Goaltender Drew DeRidder would stand tall the rest of the period, denying the Badgers on all 22 first-period shots. DeRidder stood on his head for the second night in a row, stopping 48 of the 50 shots he faced, and finished the weekend with 88 saves.

Wisconsin came out of the first intermission looking to get back into the game. It got an opportunity four minutes into the period after an elbowing penalty by Cesana. The Badgers capitalized with a powerplay goal by Baker.  

Michigan State had appeared to take another two-goal lead after Christian Krygier scored from the point, but the goal was waived off due to Erik Middendorf skating through the crease and knocking over Moe. Wisconsin took advantage of this good fortune and tied the game just a minute later after forward Sam Stange put one past DeRidder. Spartan Nicolas Muller would take a holding penalty late in the period, but Michigan State’s penalty kill would stand tall, keeping a 2-2 game headed into the third.

MSU goaltender Drew DeRidder swats away a puck in front of the net/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Wisconsin forward Jack Gorniak took a boarding penalty two minutes into the third, giving the second-best powerplay in the Big Ten an opportunity to take the lead. The Spartans striked quickly on the powerplay with some crisp passing down low before Lewandowski found Jeremy Davidson on the back door to get back the lead. The Spartans would continue to put pressure on the Badgers, and just two minutes later, extended the lead to 4-2. Freshman Jesse Tucker battled for a rebound in front of the net and was able to put it by Moe for his first goal as a Spartan.

Michigan State wasn’t done there. With eight minutes to play, Davidson found himself open on the backdoor again and was able to finish the pass from Cole Krygier for his second goal of the night. This was the finisher for the Spartans as they closed out the 5-2 victory. 

This was Michigan State’s fourth consecutive win, after sweeping the Badgers and Bulldogs from Ferris State. This is the first time Michigan State has won four in a row under head coach Danton Cole, the team’s first time since the 2011-2012 season. Michigan State will look to continue the win streak next weekend when it travels to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions.