No. 5 MSU loses first game of B1G Tournament to No. 4 Notre Dame


Sarah Smith

Danny Russell brings the puck up the ice during Michigan State’s 3-0 victory over No. 20 Notre Dame on February 3, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith

Marin Klein, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

SOUTH BEND, IN — In a hard fought game, the No. 5 seed Michigan State Spartans fell to the No. 4 seed Notre Dame 1-0 in the first game of the best of three Big Ten Tournament series.

Although the Spartans did not see the outcome they wanted, they played an incredibly strong game, leading the shot margin 36-21. 

“It’s part of the foundation we are trying to build. It’s not about what happens or if the puck goes in, it’s about your next shift,” said head coach Adam Nightingale. “They’ve done a great job buying into that and knowing things won’t always go your way.”

Ryan Bischel played an unbelievable game for the Fighting Irish with a total 36 saves, shutting out the Spartans. This was his fifth shutout of the season and his second against MSU.

In the regular season, the Spartans came out on top with a 2-1-1 margin over the Fighting Irish. The last time these two teams played, Michigan State swept Notre Dame with 3-0 and 3-2 victories in East Lansing. 

Michigan State was 0-13 in the Big Ten Conference’s postseason tournament coming into this matchup. They now add to that streak, being 0-14 in conference post season games. 

The first period came with a lot of fast paced play from both teams, the way they have played all season. Michigan State took early advantage of getting in the offensive zone and applying pressure on Bischel. After having a bye week in the last week of regular play, it was clear the Spartans were hungry to be back on the ice. 

With 5:48 left in the first period, senior forward Jagger Joshua was whistled for interference, giving Notre Dame the first power play of the night. Although the Spartans were able to kill the penalty, the Irish found their momentum in the final five minutes and did not slow down, getting some good looks at the net, but Dylan St. Cyr denied his former teammates any chance to get the puck behind him. MSU led the shot margin 10-9 by the end of the first period. 

The second period started fairly similar to the first. Both teams saw multiple good looks at the net. The Spartan defense did a great job of blocking shots and shutting down the Irish attack. Michigan State saw a good offensive push once again, and successfully set up many opportunities, but couldn’t quite get their sticks on the puck in front of the net. 

With 3:47 left in the second period, senior forward Trevor Janicke got a pass from on the left circle to the front of the net, where junior Grant Silianoff snuck it straight past St. Cyr. Jack Adams also had an assist on the goal, giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead going into the final period. Notre Dame led the shot margin 19-18.

“We are playing our game and they were just able to capitalize with that one goal,” said freshman forward Tiernan Shoudy. “They are just really well coached and play their style and it’s hard to create offense off of it.” 

In the first two minutes of play in the third, freshman Tiernan Shoudy had a big rush to the net, but Bischel denied his shot and Mucha’s rebound attempt. 

Five minutes into the period, MSU sophomore forward Tanner Kelly and Notre Dame graduate defenseman Chase Blackmun were called for roughing, sending the game to a 4 v 4 matchup. Throughout the 4 v 4, the Spartans kept the majority of the puck control. This led to many good chances, but still no goal for MSU. 

“We just have to find another level of work and get on the inside,” Nightingale. “We created quite a bit of chaos and we have to be ready to go tomorrow.” 

The Spartans saw their golden opportunity halfway through the period when Irish sophomore Jake Boltmann was sent to the box for roughing. However, the Irish penalty kill stopped the Spartans from getting many looks on net. Notre Dame’s penalty kill for the regular season was .752. 

With 7:30 to play the Irish almost saw a chance to tally another point on a 2 v 1 rush, but St. Cyr made a crucial diving save to block the shot. St Cyr had 20 saves on the night. 

Michigan State got one more chance at the power play after senior Jesse Lansdell received a penalty for tripping. Daniel Russell saw his best chance of the night and got the puck right behind Bischel’s pads, but the puck hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced back out. 

In the final 1:30 of the game St. Cyr headed off the ice to give the Spartans the extra skater. Tiernan Shoudy saw a good chance at the corner of the net, but it was knocked out by an Irish defensemans stick. The Spartans may not have been able to get past Bischel, but had a lot of positives coming out of tonight.

“I think we outplayed them, especially in the first and the third,” said St. Cyr. “I think we just have to continue to stick with the chances and get guys in front of Bischel.” 

Puck drop for the second game of the series is Saturday at 4:30 at Compton Family Ice Arena.