Men’s Hockey Drops Another Close Game

The Spartans closed out a rough non-conference schedule with a 3-2 loss to Boston College Friday night at Munn. Eight different Eagles registered a point and Thatcher Demko made 31 saves in the win for Boston College.

With Boston College coming into the game losing four of their last five, Michigan State needed to jump on the Eagles early, but the start did not go to plan.

The Eagles broke the ice just 39 seconds into the game. Freshman Zach Sanford buried his first collegiate goal out of a scramble in the crease. After a lengthy video review, the goal stood.

“You give up a goal 39 seconds into the game, now you’re on your heels. It never gives the crowd a chance to be part of the game,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “It wasn’t the kind of goal you want to give up at any point in the game, let alone 39 seconds into it.

The Spartans are now 0-6 when yielding the first goal.

The Boston College lead doubled 12 minutes later on an innocent-looking dump in from center ice. MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand stopped the puck on the short-hop but lost sight of the rebound. The puck fell to Hildebrand’s left side and Matthew Gaudreau just shoveled it in for his second of the season.

The Spartans would answer back late in the first period on a brilliant play between Joe Cox and Michael Ferrantino. Cox pulled off the wall near the hashmarks, saw a wide-open Ferrantino on the far side of the ice and fired a tape-to-tape pass.

“Cox went and sealed the boards, made a nice play, but really Matt Berry drove the net, which we talk about all the time,” Anastos said. “He drew two people to him, which created the seam for Cox to find Ferrantino.”

Demko bought Cox’s fake and was sold on a shot, which left Ferrantino with a vacant four-by-six and he made no mistake in scoring his fifth goal of the season. It was Ferrantino’s third goal in as many games.

The Eagles would get the two-goal lead back off of another scramble in front just under 12 minutes into the second period.

Ron Boyd made a save to keep the puck out for Michigan State, but the rebound went right to Quinn Smith who put it through a maze of people in the crease to make it 3-1. The goal was Smith’s third of the season.

The fast-paced play continued into the final period.

Midway through the third, the Spartans were able to cut the lead in half again on Matt DeBlouw’s second goal of the season and his first since Oct. 17. DeBlouw got the puck near the faceoff dot on a pass from Ryan Keller. Demko went down early and was screened in front, leaving the top corner wide open and DeBlouw roofed it glove side, high, just under the crossbar.

For Michigan State, more chances would follow, but the Spartans could not find the equalizer in time to send the game into overtime.

After scoring a goal in three consecutive games, the Spartan power play went dormant Saturday, going 0-4 and managing four shots.

“We just couldn’t get in sync,” Anastos said. “The last couple games, we thought our power play has been pretty good. We’ve practiced it a lot. For whatever reason we couldn’t get it settled down.”

“It was just one of those nights, pucks were bouncing over our sticks,” said Ferrantino, who went 16-10 in the face-off circle Friday night. “We were able to get in and get possession and then it seemed fumbled puck here fumbled puck there. Overall I think it’s getting better and our confidence has been better.”

It was also a rough night for Hildebrand, who seemed to fight the puck all night but still managed to make 31 saves.

“That’s a good team and you can’t spot teams like that the goals that we spotted,” Anastos said. “That’s not typical of our team, but unfortunately a game like tonight it was too much to overcome.”

Michigan State kicks off Big Ten play Thursday at Ohio State.

Brian Bobal is the co-host of Behind the Mask for Impact Sports

Photo: Brian Bobal/Impact Sports