Michigan State hockey completes massive comeback, beat rival Michigan 4-3

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Michigan State hockey completes massive comeback, beat rival Michigan 4-3

Mitchell Lewandowski/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Mitchell Lewandowski/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Mitchell Lewandowski/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Mitchell Lewandowski/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Kyle Hatty, Hockey beat reporter

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ANN ARBOR — Hate week in the state of Michigan started with the Spartans and Wolverines facing off against each other on the ice. Game one of the weekend series was at Yost Ice Arena – not too far away from where the two schools will meet on the gridiron in two days. 

Michigan State did end up taking game one of the weekend series after completing the comeback by a score of 4-3, after Michigan lead 3-1 late in the second period.

The comeback-completing goal came with 8:51 to play in the final period on a Logan Lambdin power play slap shot.

“Anything can happen you just gotta keep playing hard,” said Khodorenko, when asked about being down 3-1.

The first period was all Michigan. The Wolverines started hot and applied heavy pressure in the offensive zone. 

This caused Michigan State to turn the puck over and surrender 15 shots in the first period alone, to the Wolverines, compared to Michigan State’s seven. 

The game evened up near the end of the period, but Michigan took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after a goal from Michigan defenseman Nick Blankenburg who pinched down in the Spartans zone.

The second period was fast and physical. Both teams came out on fire and tried to establish physicality. 

Michigan dominated on shots all night and in the second period, they made it evident. Michigan’s power play clicked well, and it translated to even strength. 

There were three goals in the second period between both teams as well as multiple other quality scoring chances.

John Lethemon got the start in net and the stat sheet does not do Lethemon any justice to show how good he was all night for Michigan State.

Michigan pressed all night and did a good job of getting shots on net in good areas of the ice. He finished the night with 38 saves and was the best player for Michigan State tonight.

However, Patrick Khodorenko deserves a nod for the Spartans after being one of the best skaters on the ice. 

Khodorenko notched two goals for Michigan State and was solid in all three zones and gave the Spartans a boost, especially at a time where no other skaters stood out to provide that boost.

Michigan State attacked late in the second period and early in the third to tie it up at three thanks to two goals from Khodorenko who stays hot and extends his point streak to 12 points in the last six games (6G, 6A).

The Spartans emerged as a different team in the third period. They attacked Michigan instead of defending them and controlled the pace and once that shift happened, Michigan’s 3-1 lead became a 4-3 Michigan State lead halfway through the third period on the goal from Lambdin.

“When you score a game winner at Yost, it’s always a special feeling,” said Lambdin, after the game.

 Michigan State held on to that lead to return to East Lansing with a victory as they improve to 2-1 in conference play.

In the end, Michigan had complete control at home, and they got complacent and let Michigan State claw back into the game as soon as the Spartans were able to find their groove on offense and get an important rivalry and conference win.

“We’ve kept up the resiliency all year and we’re gonna be a tough team to play against if we keep playing like this,” said Lambdin.

Michigan’s losing streak now extends to six and Michigan State has won two of their last three as they head home. The two teams will meet again on Saturday night in East Lansing to finish off the weekend.

Puck drop is set for Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena.