EAST LANSING – Cornell got swept early last season by Michigan State, dropping two at home. This season, Cornell got revenge and did the same thing to the Spartans. Cornell beat Michigan State on Saturday night by a score of 6-2. Cornell attacked early and never let up, with Drew DeRidder getting pulled late in the second period after letting in four goals on 17 shots in under two periods.
But the biggest storyline of the day was Michigan State’s inability to generate any offense. The Spartans finished with 21 shots, including only 11 through two periods. It was an even game that Michigan State seemed to have a slight edge in, until the increasing deficit took the fire out of them.
“One thing I think we’re still learning, we’re not a runaway train here where things are gonna be easier, we need to play better than well to win,” head coach Danton Cole said after the loss.
Friday night the main storyline was the abundance of penalties. That included Michigan State spending 18 minutes of the game on the penalty kill. Saturday was a much less gritty game with both teams playing more passive to avoid spending too much time on the penalty kill.
Cornell piled on shots all night, handily beating Michigan State on the shot chart 30-21. Michigan State’s only goal of the night came off a one-timer from Josh Nodler, who got his first career goal as a Spartan, on the power play.
One of the lone bright spots for Michigan State was freshman winger Nicolas Müller. He played likely his best game all year. He was a threat when the puck was on his stick and got into the corners and won puck battles. He also made good reads on the power play and capped it off with a goal late in the game on the power play.
Patrick Khodorenko also added an assist Saturday and has tallied six points in his last three games.
The best player on the ice for Cornell was Morgan Barron. He was selected by the New York Rangers in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft. Barron had a goal in the game, but was a threat in the offensive zone all night.
Overall, Cornell came into East Lansing and played two complete games and showed why they are No. 4 in the country. Michigan State showed that they can hang with any team in America when they control the pace of the game and stay out of the penalty box.
“Cornell came in and executed their game plan pretty well and a lot better than we did, but we gotta move forward, and Monday get back at it because it’s only getting harder from here,” said captain Sam Saliba.
Michigan State is in action again next weekend when they travel to State College to take on No. 12 Penn State for a weekend series. Cornell now returns home to host Brown on Friday, and Yale on Saturday.