Men’s Hockey Splits Series in New Jersey

For the fifth time in five series, Michigan State earned one win and one loss. This time, the Spartans split their series with Princeton in New Jersey.

Friday night, Michigan State got on the board first on a power-play goal by Michael Ferrantino just over two minutes into the second period. Matt Berry and Travis Walsh assisted on Ferrantino’s team-leading sixth goal of the season.

It would turn out to be the only goal the Spartans would score, as the Tigers rallied with three unanswered goals to give Michigan State a 3-1 defeat.

Jonathan Liau, David Hallisey and Ben Foster on the power play scored the goals for Princeton.

For the Tigers, three goals marked a season-high and the win snapped a five-game losing streak in which they combined for three goals scored.

For Michigan State, it was the first defeat this season after scoring the first goal.

Jake Hildebrand made 23 saves for the Spartans.

Saturday night was a tale of two games for the Spartans, as they evened the series with a 4-2 win. Matt DeBlouw, Tanner Sorenson and Berry each recorded a goal and an assist for Michigan State.

Ferrantino notched his second of the weekend off of a broken play in the front of the net just over five minutes into the game.

On a delayed penalty, DeBlouw doubled the lead early in the second period as he redirected a spectacular pass from Sorenson right in the low slot.

Sorenson would get a goal at the doorstep as a shot from Carson Gatt deflected off the boards and right to his stick at the right post.

The Spartan forecheck was giving Princeton major fits and it appeared Michigan State was going to run away with the game until a 2-on-0 breakaway late in the second period.

The forecheck caused a turnover at the blue line and two Spartans bared down on Colton Phinney, who made a crucial right pad save to rob Michigan State of a 4-0 lead.

The save completely swung the momentum in Princeton’s favor heading into the third period.

Princeton imposed its own forecheck that gave Michigan State fits and caused the Spartans to turn the puck over a lot in the final stanza.

Princeton would score two goals from Kyle Rankin and Ryan Siiro in the first 11 minutes of the period to get the crowd of under 2,000 at Hobey Baker Rink back into the game.

For the remainder of regulation, the Spartans were on their heels, but the commitment to defense helped Michigan State hang on, as Berry scored an empty-net goal to seal a 4-2 victory with two seconds on the clock. Berry also added an assist.

On the night, Michigan State (5-8-1) blocked 14 shots and Hildebrand made 20 saves.

The Spartans are back on the ice Friday night against Minnesota at Munn Ice Arena in their Big Ten home opener.

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

Photo: Brian Bobal/Impact Sports