Mistakes cost Spartans Sweep of Badgers, fall 3-0.

Mistakes+cost+Spartans+Sweep+of+Badgers%2C+fall+3-0.

5,963 fans entered Munn Ice Arena Saturday hoping to see Michigan State (5-10-2, 1-3-0) come away with a sweep against Wisconsin (4-7-5, 1-2-1) after being swept by Penn State the previous weekend. But the Badgers weren’t having any of that as they beat the Spartans 3-0.

Winning this game would have put the Spartans back on track in the Big Ten race. But as they have so often in the first half of the season, the team and coach walked away with much misfortune.

“I was really disappointed in our performance today,” said MSU coach Tom Anastos. “Not to take anything away, I thought Wisconsin came out ready to play right from the drop of the first puck. They were just better.”

It was was apparent right from the beginning that emotions were running high. Spartan forward Joe Cox took a number of cross checks and slashes from Badger forward Luke Kunin, Cox obliged and returned the favor.

Despite the aggression and eagerness to play, the two teams were unable to find the back of the net in the opening period.

The scoring did break open in the second period. Unfortunately for Michigan State, the Badgers scored three unanswered goals and the Spartans couldn’t respond.

“It wasn’t very good,” senior captain Michael Ferrantino said of his team’s disastrous second period. “We were watching them play hockey instead of playing against them.”

The first goal came less than five minutes into the second period. Wisconsin center Seamus Malone took a shot from the point that deflected off Cox went and past Jake Hildebrand. Grant Besse and Tim Davidson received an assists on the goal as well.

“When they do things like that, you try and get your body in front of it,” senior goaltender Jake Hildebrand said of the deflected puck. “I wasn’t able to do that tonight.”

The second goal came 13 minutes into the second period. Wisconsin forward Ryan Wagner forced a costly turnover off the stick of MSU defenseman Zach Osburn, dished a pass to teammate Matthew Freytag who promptly sent a wrist shot past Hildebrand to put the Spartans in a 2-0 hole. Osburn is known as a player who takes a lot of chances on the ice, unfortunately the risk outweighed the reward this time.

“You make those mistakes once in a great while,” Anastos said of Osburn’s giveaway. “Those can’t be repetitive mistakes, that’s the most dangerous place in the rink.”

As the game went on Wisconsin took control more and more. The Spartans had a total of six shots in the second period while Wisconsin doubled that and then some with 14. The Badgers constant pressure made it difficult for the Spartans to generate any offense.

The Badgers would go up 3-0 with less than a minute to go in the second period thanks to freshman forward Luke Kunin, sealing the game and the split for Wisconsin.

Michigan State had opportunities to put the puck in the net, but couldn’t finish. They were lifeless on the power play, going 0-for-5 in the game. Other than a hooking penalty to JT Stenglein, the Spartans were able to stay out of the box. The team did things to keep themselves from getting into too big of a hole, but were unable to do anything to get themselves out.

“You don’t play that many games,” said Anastos. “Too many guys today did not bring the level of intensity that we have to have to play every game. It’s maddening. You’re at home, it’s your last home game before Christmas break. It’s not good enough.”

The Spartans began to show some fight towards the end of the third period, but it wasn’t enough. They were able to pepper shots at Wisconsin freshman goaltender Matt Jurusik, who with the win recorded his first career shutout on 28 shots, but did not test him in any way.

Maybe the quick turnaround had something to do with it, but the Spartans are not making any excuses, that’s for certain.

“We’re not a team that’s going to make excuses about a 2:30 start,” said Hildebrand. “I thought they had more compete, more jump in their step tonight and that was pretty much the difference.”

The Spartans travel to Boston next Saturday to take on Northeastern. Puck drop between the two teams is set for 7 p.m.