Heartbreak for Men’s Hockey

An efficient penalty kill seemed inevitable from the start.

MSU had killed 22 of its last 24 opponent power-play attempts in the past seven games, but it was the power-play that haunted them in a 2-2 tie Friday night.

“Disappointing for us not being able to finish that game. Very disappointing,” head coach Tom Anastos said.

Ohio State came into Munn Ice Arena on a three-game winning streak and averaging 3.6 goals per game. The Spartans were able to hold the Buckeye offense to zero goals for 58 minutes, but they were unable to hold them for the last two.

Two late penalties to Joe Cox and Matt Berry led to two late third-period goals to send the game into overtime.

Last weekend in overtime, the Spartans won in a shootout against the No. 1 team in the nation, the Minnesota Gophers. They ended up losing this time in the shootout against Ohio State.

Scoring for MSU on the night came at 12:16 when MSU’s Lee Reimer put one past OSU goalie Christian Frey for the first goal of the game. He had the help of Ryan Keller who set him up with a chip shot next to the net.

MSU’s final goal came in the third from Greg Wolfe, on a two-on-one breakaway, with an assist from Thomas Ebbing.

Within the last three minutes of the third period, OSU pulled Frey for an attempt to capitalize on the MSU penalties with a six-on-four advantage.

Greg Wolfe intercepted a pass at mid-ice, dived to shoot the puck at the empty net, but missed to the right by inches. A goal from Wolfe would have most likely ended any chances for a Buckeye revival.

MSU could not stop the six-on-four advantages twice, with goals from Tanner Fritz at 1:34 and Alex Szczechura with 1.7 seconds left.

Confusion was in the air at Munn with 1.7 seconds remaining in regulation, because it appeared the goal could have been caused from OSU players pushing the puck in the crease past the goalie. The play was reviewed, but the call stood as a goal.

In overtime, scoring was quiet amidst some chances for both teams. The shootout was won with another Tanner Fritz goal.

Jake Hildebrand finished the night with 40 saves. The high scoring Buckeyes attempted 84 total shots, but only had 42 of those make contact. Hildebrand had a busy night between the pipes.

MSU now has one more chance to hand Ohio State revenge at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“We can’t see the air and feel sorry for ourselves,” Anastos explained. “We have to regroup, dig deeper and we got to get 60 minutes of hockey. It starts at four o’clock tomorrow.”

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Alex Scharg is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.

Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports