Spartans Tie Ohio State; Win Shootout

EAST LANSING – Michigan State and Ohio State capped their weekend series by playing to a 1-1 tie on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena. Joe Cox scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the Spartans the extra point in what was the final game of the regular season.

“I liked our compete level and I liked that we responded to some of the things that we talked about this morning and afternoon,” MSU head coach Tom Anastos said. “I liked seeing the guys come together when it was pretty emotional.”

Thomas Ebbing gave MSU a 1-0 lead 3:41 into the first period. 

Ebbing grabbed the puck just off the crease, moved to his left and snapped it past OSU goaltender Christian Frey. Joe Cox and Mackenzie MacEachern picked up assists on the goal.

The Spartans (10-22-4, 6-12-2-1) appeared to take a 2-0 lead at the 8:30 mark on a point shot by Zach Osburn. After being called a goal on the ice, the play was reviewed and the goal disallowed with the officials citing goaltender interference. 

Rather than it being a two-goal game, Ohio State (13-17-4, 8-8-4-1) tied it up with 7:09 to play in the first period on an odd bounce. Mason Jobst dumped the puck into the right MSU corner where it took an awkward bounce away from Jake Hildebrand and back to Jobst, who put it in a wide open net. 

The Spartans had a majority of the offensive chances in the second period, outshooting OSU, 13-3 in the frame, but couldn’t net the go-ahead goal.

With 9:55 to play in the third, Ohio State’s Luke Stork received a major penalty, but the Spartans were unable to convert on the 5 minute power play, keeping it a 1-1 game.

“We spent a little time with video today talking about ways to improve what we did last night and I thought with a few exceptions we did a pretty good overall job,” Anastos said. “Obviously, both teams had to refocus and play stronger defensively than we did last night. It was harder to find ways to get pucks in behind.”

With neither team able to find the back of the net in the overtime session, the game went to a shootout where Cox scored in the second round. Hildebrand sealed the shootout win by stopping OSU’s David Gust.

Hildebrand, who was one of nine seniors recognized after the game, finished with 28 saves.

“The unity of the players, the push every day, and the attitudes of the players has been incredible,” Anastos said. “I give the leadership group and I give our seniors and ton of credit for being able to do that. That team is very together and that gives us the chance. We’re preparing for the next season and that’s next Thursday. They’re excited about it.” 

The Spartans will meet the Buckeyes in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.