EAST LANSING — The Michigan State hockey team completed a weekend sweep of Minnesota with a 5-3 victory over the Golden Gophers on Sunday evening at Munn Ice Arena. Zach Osburn had three assists, while Mitchell Lewandowski had his second straight two-goal game to give the Spartans their third consecutive victory.
“This is a big sweep for us,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said. “That’s a Big Ten sweep. Cornell was a good one, obviously, on the road, that was a lot of fun. We’ve had some good moments but this is a Big Ten series and Minnesota has had their way with us, I thought last year they did. I thought we played some decent games against them, but to win the season series, 3-1, and get six points at home, we did not leave anything on the table.”
Adam Goodsir and Cole Krygier both got their first career goals on Sunday and it was Goodsir that gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead 5:20 into the first period. Osburn started the play by taking the puck end-to-end and snapping a shot on goaltender Mat Robson. The puck bounced off the goaltender where Cody Milan was able to get a stick on it and slip it out front to Goodsir where he got a low shot got past Robson.
Minnesota evened the game on the power play at the 10:04 mark as Blake McLaughlin’s shot off the rush got past John Lethemon from the left circle.
The Spartans got their first power play 27 seconds into the second period and while they didn’t convert, possession in the Minnesota zone allowed MSU to score five seconds after the man advantage ended. Osburn sent the puck cross-ice to Saliba low in the left circle, who snapped it past Robson.
Minnesota made it 2-2 at the 10:27 mark as Rem Pitlick scored two seconds after the expiration of a power play.
The tie game lasted just 1:21 as Cole Kryger’s one-timer from the point regained the lead for MSU, 3-2. Directly off a faceoff win by Tommy Apap in the Minnesota zone, Osburn dished the puck to his right where Cole Krygierhammered it high past Robson.
With time winding down in the second period, Patrick Khodorenko and Taro Hirose set up Lewandowski to up the Spartans’ lead to 4-2 with 11.6 seconds remaining in the stanza. After getting the puck from Hirose, Khodorenko sent a pass from the top of the left circle to Lewandowski low in the right circle where he corralled the puck and snapped it into the net.
Minnesota made it a one-goal game 9:31 into the third period on a shot by Jack Sadek.
MSU answered quickly again, however, as less than two minutes later, Osburn let the puck go toward the net from the right point where it caught the edge of Lewandowski’s skate and went into the net to make it 5-3.
Hirose also picked up an assist on the goal to boost his NCAA-leading total to 29. He also leads the nation in points with 40.
MSU goaltender John Lethemon made 36 saves to earn his second win of the weekend and give the Spartans their first sweep over the Gophers since 1976.
“I thought we played a heck of a game tonight; I loved the compete and the confidence in our guys,” Cole said.
Minnesota went 1-for-3 on the power play while the Spartans were 0-for-2.
The Spartans head to No. 12/13 Notre Dame next weekend to meet the Fighting Irish on Friday and Saturday.
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