The script was pretty much the same as last weekend, with a few minor changes of course.
Michigan State (5-17-2, 1-7-0) had yet to win a game on the road all season. This past weekend the Spartans traveled to Mariucci Ice Arena with hopes of changing that statistic.
Instead, they were met on Friday by a hungry Minnesota team who picked up the first goal of the series less than a minute after it started. The Golden Gophers extended their lead to 3-0 in the second period.
Connor Wood finally put MSU on the board to make it 3-1, but his goal was quickly answered by the Gophers’ Ryan Norman less than a minute later. Villiam Haag would pick up his second goal in as many games to finish off the scoring as the Spartans limped off the ice after getting gashed 5-2 by the Golden Gophers.
On Saturday MSU came out with a much better effort. After a scoreless first period, Spartan forward Matt DeBlouw got the puck in the slot and showed great patience in out waiting a pile of Minnesota players in front of the net as he skated to the left side. DeBlouw caught Gopher net minder Eric Schierhorn out of position and shot it into a wide open net to give State the 1-0 lead.
The Spartans were able to weather several Minnesota power plays in the second to maintain their 1-0 lead. However as the third period emerged so too did Minnesota’s skill. Justin Kloos, the same player that scored less than 30 seconds into the game on Friday, shot the puck on net before tapping in his own rebound to tie the game at one.
Eleven minutes later the Gophers took their first lead of the game after Connor Reilly took a low shot that snuck through Jake Hildebrand’s five-hole to give Minnesota the 2-1 advantage.
Michigan State was unable to capitalize on a late power play and failed to convert after pulling Hildebrand for the extra attacker. Instead Minnesota’s Leon Bristedt tallied an empty net goal as time expired to seal the 3-1 Gopher victory and series sweep.
The Spartans remain winless on the road and their losing streak now stretches to eight games.
They will return home this weekend as they host the U.S. National Team Development Program U-18’s for an exhibition game Saturday at Munn.