Spartans struggle to find magic against Ohio State

EAST LANSING, Mich – After a thrilling comeback against Ohio State that resulted in a 8-7 victory in 3-on-3 overtime, Michigan State looked to defeat the Buckeyes twice in a row. In Friday’s contest, the Spartans managed to score three goals in a span of five minutes to force overtime.

After such an unpredictable victory by Michigan State, Ohio State came ready to play. They played quick and fierce, scoring six goals. Though the Spartans stuck with the Buckeyes in the first period, Ohio State got on track in the second period and didn’t look back.

The first period saw a strong showing from both goaltenders with a combined 22 saves. The Spartans had many opportunities early on to get some momentum going, but they failed to take advantage of anything.

A scoreless first period can be looked at from two different angles. The first angle being that Michigan State showed up defensively shutting down the No. 7 team in the country. The second angle being that Michigan State had to go toe-to-toe with the No. 7 team in the country for two more periods.

Offense began to show in the second period, unfortunately for Michigan State, Ohio State was the only team doing the scoring. The Buckeyes were looking like the team that played strong the first 55 minutes of the game the night prior. Just under five minutes into the second period, forward Ronnie Hein got the Buckeyes on the board.

Fast forward a few minutes later, Quinn Preston slapped the puck past Michigan State goalie John Lethemon to give Ohio State a 2-0 lead at 8:14. A penalty by Mitch Lewandowski put Ohio State on a power play, and they did not take it for granted. Near the end of the power play, Ohio State’s Mason Jobst snuck a goal past Lethemon at 13:26 for Ohio State’s third goal in just one period to give the Buckeyes a 3-0 advantage going into the third period.  

“Yeah I mean I liked our first 10, 15 minutes of the first,” sophomore forward Sam Saliba said. “I thought we were in a good position after the first period and thought the second period we just kind of were flat.”

The Buckeyes weren’t giving Lethemon any breaks, putting up 26 shots and constantly battling in Michigan State territory. The No. 7 team was playing how you’d expect a No. 7 team to play.

The Spartans continued to falter and struggle as the Buckeyes rained down pain on the team in the third. After Lambdin was sent to the box with a questionable penalty on Ohio State goalie Tommy Nappier, Ohio State again took advantage of a power play scoring at 5:25 to go up 4-0, and then scoring a second power play goal at 7:31 with four Spartans on the ice to gain a 5-0 advantage.

In the final four minutes of the game, Ohio State put the icing on the cake by scoring a sixth goal to avoid any possibility of some Michigan State magic.

“I think four games in seven nights and three overtimes, you know we talk a lot about when we have energy and we’re physical we’re a better team in a lot of ways and I think we ran out of a bit of gas and emotion tonight,” head coach Danton Cole said on the loss.

Ohio State’s rank will likely take a hit after Michigan State’s comeback, but defeating the same team by 6 goals the next day will save face for the frontrunner of the Big Ten. Michigan State will look to get back on track when they travel to University Park to take on No. 9 Penn State for an away series on Jan. 11.