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Penalties played a huge role in Fridayâ€™s 5-2 Michigan State victory over Ohio State.
Spartan forward Corey Tropp was whistled for high sticking a minute into the game. The Buckeyes wasted no time in grabbing a lead with the early advantage.
Just over a minute into the Tropp penalty, Ohio State forward Sergio Somma took the break-out pass from Peter Boyd and fired a shot on Michigan State netminder Drew Palmisano. The rebound went directly to Ohio Stateâ€™s Taylor Stefishen, who buried it past Palmisano, giving the Buckeyes the early 1-0 advantage.
That first penalty opened the door for 14 more penalties called the rest of the game.
Michigan State wasted no time capitalizing on its first power-play opportunity when Patrick Schafer was called for holding at the 2:52 mark. Spartan Jeff Petry fired a one-timer on the feed from Derek Grant and Nick Sucharski was able to put a stick on it and deflect it past Ohio State goaltender Cal Heeter to even the score, 1-1, at 4:17.
Late in the first period, the Spartans were able to take advantage of an Ohio State turnover. This time, Sucharski found himself on the given end of the deflection when he received a pass from Grassi and fired a shot from the point that found Grantâ€™s stick and then the back of the net.
â€œIt was a really close game until the bounces started going our way,â€ said Sucharski.
Five minutes into the second period, Michigan State had a real scoring chance. The Spartans broke into the OSU zone three-on-two and Tropp found a trailing Grant, who skated in on Heeter. Heeter stood his ground and forced Grant wide before smothering Grant’s desperation shot.
That was the only really good scoring chance for either side until 18:38, when MSU tallied up another power-play goal. Spartan defenseman Torey Krug took a pass from Sucharski and just wristed the puck past Heeter from the slot. The goal came after Heeter made a great save on a shot from Grant.
Ohio State coach John Markell stressed that his team needs to play smarter.
â€œWe have to work smarter, if you are going to finish a check, then keep your elbow out of his head. If you are going to hit a guy, keep two hands on your stick,â€ said Markell.
Although the game felt one-sided after two periods, Ohio State continued its strong effort that the Buckeyes showed early in the third.
Ohio State capitalized on an offensive zone faceoff at 1:50 and pulled within one goal. Dalpe corralled the loose puck after he won the face off and wristed the puck past Palmisano, before the goaltender had time to react.
â€œTheir talent is pretty good,â€ said Spartan head coach Rick Comley. â€œThe first two lines highly dangerous.â€
Shortly after Ohio State pulled within one goal, Krug might have had the save of the game. Ohio State forward John Albert shot the puck at a vacant part of the net and Krug came diving across the crease to get a piece of it, keeping it a 3-2 score.
Then just as the game started to pick up in intensity, MSU forward Trevor Nill dumped a shot in on Heeter, which looked to be harmless. The puck knuckled its way past Heeterâ€™s glove and found the back of the net at 14:01.
â€œThe third and fourth line guys came through for us tonight,â€ said Sucharski.
At 15:44, MSU forward, Zach Golombiewski, sealed the game on a two-on-one rush. Golombiewski received a pass from fellow freshman Hayes and rifled a top-shelf shot past Heeter.
Markell said the effort was there tonight, just not in the right place.
â€œThere are lots of other places to have better effort like being stronger on the draws, driving the front of the net, putting pucks on net and winning the races to the pucks, Thatâ€™s where you have to use your effort. Nothing will turn around unless we do that tomorrow.â€
Sucharski was really pleased with MSUâ€™s production tonight.
â€œGreat effort by the boys tonight,” he said. “It was good to see the team keep up the intensity in the third period. We came through when we needed to come through on the power-play and penalty kill tonight.”
The two teams meet tomorrow in East Lansing at 5:05 p.m., where Ohio State will look to even the series on the year.