Northeastern forward Zach Aston-Reese’s hat trick alone would have been enough to subdue Michigan State, but his teammates added in three more goals for good measure as the Huskies demolished the Spartans 6-2 Sunday afternoon at Munn Ice Arena.
Aston-Reese scored the first and second goals for Northeastern in the first and second period, respectively. Michigan State gained life late in the frame after a power-play goal by sophomore Mason Appleton, which was followed up by freshman Patrick Khodorenko’s nifty top-shelf goal two minutes later.
But just when it seemed the Spartans had some life, it was quickly extinguished. It only took ten seconds.
After winning the center ice faceoff, the Huskies moved up ice with incredible pace and urgency. Stunned, the Spartan defensemen of Zach Osburn and Rhett Holland were caught off-guard. A Northeastern two-on-one quickly became a two-on-none as Holland lost his footing, allowing Matt Filipe of the Huskies to dish an uncontested pass over to Brendan Collier who deposited the puck past a helpless Ed Minney.
With a 3-2 lead going into the third, Northeastern went on a tear, scoring three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes, two of them on the power play. After Aston-Reese’s third goal, Michigan State had a two-man advantage. Down only 4-2 at the time, it was a critical situation to turn the momentum back in the Spartans’ favor. However, they could not come away with anything to show for it other then an “almost.”
Instead, it would be Northeastern getting the last laugh, with Patrick Schule netting the Huskies’ sixth goal with 1:20 left in regulation.
There were 21 total penalty minutes combined for the entire game, the most since MSU’s season opener against Lake Superior State. The 6-2 loss is the worst defeat Tom Anastos and his squad has faced this season since losing 5-1 to Michigan Tech back on Nov. 5.
But looking to the present now, the Spartans are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Ever since their tremendous success out in Grand Forks, this team has been looking for answers and has been coming up short.
Perhaps those answers can be found in Detroit at the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament, which will take place on Dec. 29 and 30.
But one thing is for sure, a much better effort is necessary in all facets before conference play will resume in January. Otherwise, a 6-2 home loss to Northeastern will be the least of MSU’s worries.