Spartans goalie Dylan St. Cyr shuts out his former team: ‘It’s an extra fire that’s lit’


Sarah Smith

Dylan St. Cyr is announced as a star of the game for Michigan State after he shutout No. 20 Notre Dame on February 3, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jacob Stinson, Hockey Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — Michigan State goalie Dylan St. Cyr isn’t one to brag about his accomplishments. After a 3-0 shutout win on Friday over Notre Dame, St. Cyr’s former school, he was quick to deflect the attention away from himself and towards his teammates.

“Our team played really well (Friday),” St. Cyr said. “Penalty kill was awesome. So they kind of made it easy kind of getting into the game, and I think that led me to find my groove better.”

His teammates would disagree with him.

“He always tells (us) that it doesn’t really matter for him,” senior forward Nicolas Müller said, “but deep inside of him, I think it matters a little bit, and it’s pretty cool for him. We’re just glad that we’re able to get him the shutout.”

St. Cyr said he still knows about half of the Fighting Irish roster from his time there, which he said gave him extra motivation heading into the contest.

“Obviously it’s a fun night to see those guys,” he said. “Any time I get to see those guys, they’re still friends, but when you kind of get in the ice, it’s an extra fire that’s lit under (you).”

St. Cyr made 32 saves en route to his third shutout of the season. It was a much-needed redemption after a weekend where he allowed 11 goals in five periods at Minnesota. He was pulled after the two periods in the first game in that series, so he was happy to find his rhythm again.

“I think it’s just with kind of getting back into it,” St. Cyr said, “after a weekend like last weekend and finding comfort playing in front of our fans at home.”

While the Spartans struggled to defend against a high-powered Minnesota team, they were able to limit chances and frustrate the Fighting Irish for much of the game. Notre Dame took five penalties, one of which led to a Jagger Joshua deflection that broke the scoreless tie.

The Spartans never looked back. While a goal from senior Erik Middendorf gave them the insurance they needed, St. Cyr shut the door on the other end. While he was never forced to make the sprawling, highlight-reel saves that fans have become accustomed to, he stepped up when necessary.

Michigan State coach Adam Nightingale prefers it that way.

“His rebound control was really good,” Nightingale said of his goalie. “So it seemed like, any time they got any type of pressure, he was able to kind of calm it down, and that’s when Dylan’s playing his best.”

The most pressure St. Cyr faced came right at the end, when Notre Dame pulled goalie Ryan Bischel with over five minutes left, meaning the Fighting Irish would throw all the pressure it could at Michigan State with the remaining time. 

“Usually,” St. Cyr said, “that’s something they would do thinking they didn’t have any five-on-five chances as much. So obviously, that speaks to the way our team was playing.”

While the Spartans stood tall on defense, Müller was able to put away the game with a heave from the red line, and so the Spartans would walk out with a much-needed three points in the Big Ten.

With five games left in the regular season, the race for playoffs is heating up. The second-place team, Penn State, is only four points ahead of Notre Dame, who’s in sixth. The Spartans, currently fifth, will need to finish fourth or better if they want home-ice advantage in the Big Ten tournament.

With only two more home games left, wins like Friday’s are critical in making that happen. Michigan State is now 10-4-1 at home, so it will look to make the most of the home ice it has left.

“Down the stretch, that’s going to be an important (five) games,” St. Cyr said. “I think to play in front of our home crowd in that environment was definitely something special.”