Michigan State hockey keeps season alive with 4-2 win over Notre Dame


Jack Moreland

Karsen Dorwart gets the puck past a Wolverine defender during Michigan State’s 4-2 loss to Michigan on February 10, 2023. Photo Credit: Jack Moreland/WDBM

Ryan Radosevich, Hockey Beat Reporter

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Michigan State tied the best-of-three series at 1-1 after defeating Notre Dame 4-2 Saturday afternoon. Coming into Saturday’s contest, the Spartans were 0-14 in Big Ten tournament games.

“We played how we wanted to play. We played to our identity,” said MSU head coach Adam Nightingale.

The Spartans came out with blazing speed and aggression, 12 minutes into the contest MSU had a 16-1 shot advantage and a handful of chances to net their first on Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel in the series, but the nations leader in save percentage was on top of his game early. 

A Spartan turnover while the defensive line was changing led to the first goal of the game. Senior forward Solag Bakich and assistant captain Trevor Janicke skated in on MSU goaltender Dylan St. Cyr, who was left with zero defenders back, making it 1-0 for the Fighting Irish. 

It was not till the 53rd shot of the series where MSU solved Bischel. With Grant Silianoff in the penalty box, Jeremy Davidson buried a precise cross ice feed from senior forward Nico Müller. Davidson’s eighth goal of the season tied the game up at 1-1 midway through the second period. 

“Once we got that first one it just felt like a bit of a relief and it felt like we could beat those guys,” said junior defenseman Nash Nienhuis. 

MSU doubled up in the middle frame as freshman forward Tiernan Shoudy was able to find a streaking Matt Basgall who wristed one past the blocker of Bischel for his fourth goal and his 17th point of the season.

“A really good feeling after being down by one to come out of that period up by one,” said freshman forward Daniel Russel.

Two quick goals by Michigan State in the third period pushed the lead to 4-1 with 14:26 remaining. Nienhuis recorded his fourth goal of the season thanks to a Jagger Joshua pokecheck and some swift puck movement and just two minutes later Karsen Dorwart from between the goal line and face-off circle sniped one near side on Bischel. 

“We were firing on all cylinders. Our forecheck was unreal. We shut them down pretty good so it was just an overall great team game,” said Nienhuis.

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson decided to pull Bischel with 6:40 remaining and the Irish on the power play and it proved dividends as Jack Adams tipped a point shot past St. Cyr for Notre Dame’s second goal of the game. 

The Spartan defense and St. Cyr held tight, securing a 4-2 victory. 

The Spartans and the Fighting Irish square off once more on Sunday at 6 pm. The winner will move on to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.