EAST LANSING – The Michigan State hockey team dropped the first game of its weekend series with Ohio State, 6-5 in overtime on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. Matthew Weis tipped a puck past MSU netminder Jake Hildebrand with 26.3 seconds to play in OT to give the Buckeyes the win.

The Spartans sent the game into overtime on a goal by Joe Cox with 1.6 seconds to play in the third period. Mason Appleton wristed a shot from the right point that got through a sea of bodies and was deflected by Cox over OSU goaltender Christian Frey. Thomas Ebbing crashed toward the net along with Cox and the puck slipped past Frey with 1.6 seconds on the clock.

Cox was one of five Spartans (10-22-3, 6-12-1) to score on the night, joining Ryan Keller, Mackenzie MacEachern, JT Stenglein and Matt DeBlouw.

Keller nearly ended the game in the Spartans’ favor in overtime, one-timing a puck toward a briefly open net, but Frey got over in time, stopping the shot with his right pad.

“We didn’t defend well enough tonight,” said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. “It’s not very often you’re going to give up six goals and win a game. I give us credit for fighting back, but I thought we struggled in areas especially to defend. They’re a team that keeps coming at you, so I give them credit as well.”

Keller gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead 7:46 into the opening period. The Spartans forced a turnover just inside their blue line and Michael Ferrantino was able to direct the puck to Appleton, who headed up ice. Appleton got the puck to Keller on the left side and he let a shot fly from the circle that beat Frey up high. 

After a first period that featured quality chances both ways, the two teams found the back of the net in the second, combining for six goals in the stanza. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the Buckeyes got the extra goal in the period to take a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.

Ohio State (13-17-3, 8-8-3-1) got the first of the six goals in the second period at the 2:38 mark. Hildebrand stopped Nick Schilkey’s shot off the rush from the right circle, but David Gust put home a rebound from the left side.

The Spartans reclaimed the lead, 2-1, when MacEachern collected a loose puck off a point shot by Travis Walsh and tucked it past Frey at the 5:35 mark.

OSU’s Luke Stork knotted the game just 1:34 later.

Stenglein made it 3-2 Spartans past the midway point of the period, knocking in another rebound. Zach Osburn intercepted an OSU clearing attempt near the middle of the slot and let a wrist shot go that bounced off the post. Stenglein was in perfect position and banged in the rebound for his eighth goal of the season. 

The Buckeyes came back to take a 4-3 lead, scoring two goals in a 1:15 span. Anthony Greco got the first when he took the puck strong to the net and slid it under Hildebrand. Gust gave OSU its first lead, scoring his second goal of the game with 3:55 to play in the middle period.

“We just didn’t cover well enough in that period,” said Anastos. 

The Spartans pushed back to tie it, 4-4, 4:05 into the third as DeBlouw got his fifth goal in the last five games, flicking a rebound off a shot by Villiam Haag past Frey.

The tie game lasted a little over two minutes as Brendon Kearney snuck a shot from below the right circle past Hildebrand with 13:46 to play.

Each team finished with 34 shots on goal.

MSU and OSU will meet again on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Spartans will honor the senior class with a ceremony following the game.