MSU hockey continues hot streak with home win over Ferris State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. — It was truly spooky season for the Ferris State Bulldogs when they walked into Munn Ice Arena on a chilly Friday night. Michigan State head coach Danton Cole and his boys came into the matchup riding high after a program-shifting sweep against then-No. 8 Cornell last weekend. After a performance like that you maybe could expect a let down from the Spartans. That was not the case on Friday, as MSU scored the first three goals en route to a 5-3 win.

“Now there are expectations for us to start producing things. I don’t mind that,” said Cole following MSU’s third straight win.

Michigan State started fast as they jumped all over the Bulldogs early, looking bigger and faster than their in-state rival. The Spartans had many chances in the first three minutes to take the lead following missed opportunities by defenseman Zach Osburn and right winger Mitchell Lewandowski but both made up for the errors with goals later on. Osburn somehow found the back of the net on a chunky wrister from the point to give MSU the 1-0 lead at 12:22.

Lewandowski and the KHL then decided to take over the game as they made their presence felt. Lewandowski scored his third of the season with 9:05 remaining in the 1st on a pretty give-and-go feed from Taro Hirose who stayed red-hot with 2 assists in the first period. Hirose’s other assist came on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play six seconds into the power play. Hirose set up Patrick Khodorenko for his third goal of the year with only six seconds left in the first period.

“They create an awful lot. You saw with Lewandowski’s first goal, they create stuff out of nothing,” said Cole

After a clean played first period from the Spartans it started to get a little sloppy, as both teams combined for 9 penalties. Even with the crazy amount of penalties, it looked like no team was going to be able to capitalize until Khodorenko tallied his second goal at the horn, literally at the buzzer leaving just 0.02 seconds on the clock.

“We have to keep our minds in the game. Penalties are going to to be called,” Khodorenko said.

Ferris State, despite the big deficit, came out in the third period and made the Spartans sweat as the Bulldogs scored two goals before the 10-minute mark, as Ferris’s leading scorer Hunter Wendt added two goals giving him five this season. After two boring periods for John Lethemon, the senior goaltender had to make a couple saves to keep the Bulldogs from making it uncomfortable for MSU.

“It’s what we expect of Michigan State vs. Ferris State game, it was a good battle,” Cole said. “They’re a blue-collar team, kind of like us.”

After another plethora of penalties from Ferris State, the Spartans power play finally cashed in. Khodorenko grabbed his third goal of the game on a deflection in front of the net with two minutes remaining, putting the game out of reach.

“It was something I ate this morning,” Khodorenko said. “Something in the pregame meal. I just kind of got lucky on that third one off the butt. But it’s nice to get a hat trick.,” Patrick Khodorenko said.

Ferris State was able to tally a meaningless third goal but the Spartans were able to close the game out with little sweat.

The 5-3 win moves the Spartans to 4-1 and gives MSU’s young bunch more confidence as they head to Big Rapids tomorrow night trying to sweep the series. Puck drop is expected for 7:00 p.m. at R.L. Ewigleben Sports Complex.