It was win number 10 of the season for Coach Danton Cole and Michigan State Hockey on Saturday. The Spartans traveled to Columbus to take on fellow Big Ten foe Ohio State. Here is the complete release from our buddy Jeff Barnes:
Spartans Overpower No. 5 Ohio State, 6-3
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Michigan State hockey team had 14 different players register a point in a 6-3 victory over No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday night at Value City Arena in Columbus. The Spartans got out to a 3-0 first-period lead and never trailed as six different players scored.
“The guys played really well,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “There was a lot of energy, a lot of great emotion, but they executed, moved pucks and played fast. I thought we did a really good job, especially the first two periods, of getting pucks in the zone and playing in their end.”
Butrus Ghafari got the first goal of the night 3:23 into the game. Following some heavy pressure by the Spartans in the OSU end, Jake Smith picked up the puck and curled around the net and fed Zach Osburn at the right point. Osburn swing the puck to Ghafari, who worked his way to the middle and let a wrister sail into the upper right corner of the net.
The Spartans (10-17-1, 4-14-1-1) made it 2-0 just prior to the midway point of the period on Austin Kamer’s first career goal. Mitch Eliot took a pass from Carson Gatt and just kept the puck in the zone before flinging it wide right of the net. The puck bounced out to the right circle where Kamer got to it and one-timed it past goaltender Sean Romeo.
It was the second straight goal that came as a result of sustained MSU pressure.
“Tommy Apap’s line was really big and strong and kept it in there for a while and got some screens for a couple goals,” Cole said. “Esteves’ line did some great things in forecheking and setting the tempo.”
OSU (18-6-4, 11-6-1-0) went to its second power play with 1:31 to go in the opening period and after the Spartans cleared the puck down the ice, Taro Hirose forced a Buckeye turnover in the right circle as OSU began to exit the zone. Hirose quickly hit Patrick Khodorenko on the left for a one-timer and a 3-0 MSU lead.
The Spartans were unable to get out of the period unscathed as Dakota Joshua scored on the power play with 13 seconds remaining in the stanza, making 3-1 after one.
Michigan State added to its lead in the second with two more goals to push the lead to 5-1.
David Keefer made it 4-1 at the 11:20 mark with a nice individual effort after getting the puck from Brennan Sanford. Keefer got control of the puck at the hash marks along the left side and made his way to the net. He weaved around a defender and got to the right side of the crease where he let a shot go that hit in the top inside bar and came out. The play was ruled a goal on the ice but wasn’t confirmed until after a lengthy review by the officials.
Gatt made it 5-1 exactly three minutes later with a wrist shot from the left point that came after more hard work down low by the Spartans.
“Everybody was involved and got rewarded a bit,” Cole said. “I think we’ve been doing a lot of really good things and it’s nice to be rewarded on the scoresheet and on the scoreboard.”
Ohio State cut into the lead with a power-play goal from Matthew Weis at the 14:58 mark to make it 5-2.
The Spartans killed an OSU penalty to end the second, but the Buckeyes got another man-advantage opportunity early in the third and Ronnie Hein converted, beating John Lethemon with a wrist shot from the slot to make it 5-3 at the 6:02 mark.
Ohio State pulled goaltender Tommy Nappier, who replaced Romeo after Gatt’s goal, in the closing minutes for the extra attacker. The Spartans stymied OSU’s attempts to pull closer and with 1:27 to play, Logan Lambdin sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
“I thought we answered really well,” said Cole. “Every time they scored, we came back and got another one. We dug deep and really played well; it was a gutsy effort by our guys.”
OSU finished with a 30-24 edge in shots on goal, while the Spartans blocked 21 shots.
The Spartans will take on Michigan next weekend as the teams will meet in East Lansing on Friday (7 p.m.) and then on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit (7 p.m.).
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