Michigan State hockey splits weekend series in top-10 matchup against Minnesota

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Emily Martin

No. 8 Michigan State hockey took on No. 9 Minnesota this weekend at Munn Ice Arena, defeating the Golden Gophers 3-2 on Friday night, but unable able to pull off another comeback on Saturday evening, resulting in a split weekend with a Saturday final score of 5-1.

The Spartans were eager to get on the ice on Friday night after an intense weekend prior against Michigan. Minnesota netted the first goal of the night, something Michigan State has not been used to recently.

“I think pressure is an earned thing and it’s a privilege to have pressure and to embrace it,” head coach Adam Nightingale said. “In these last couple of weeks I thought the guys did a great job with it.”

The first period was uneventful, with a lot of back-and-forth action and fighting for the puck. The second period was similar, with only one more puck making it to the back of the net, but again by the Gophers. The Spartans trailed by a pair of goals going into the third period after two relatively quiet periods.

MSU picked up momentum when they returned to the ice for the third period, with a goal by freshman forward Griffin Jurecki just two and a half minutes in, his first for the season. Freshman defenceman Maxim Strbak and Junior defenceman David Gucciardi picked up the assists.

At the 15-minute mark of the final period, sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart scored a short-handed goal for Michigan State, marking his tenth goal of the season to match Minnesota at two a piece.

Sophomore forward Daniel Russell sent the entirety of Munn Ice Arena into a frenzy, securing the game-winning goal with a mere four seconds left off assists by Strbak and sophomore forward Isaac Howard.

In the most earth-shattering way, the Spartans came back and downed Minnesota.

Saturday night, Minnesota put two goals on the board in the first period, regardless of the intense energy on the ice. The Gophers took a third in the second period, but the Spartans followed it up with a power play goal by sophomore defenceman Matt Basgall, his first for the season. The score by Basgall brought the score to 3-1 to cut into the Gophers lead.

Two Spartans reached “first” milestones of the season, with pivotal goals by Jurecki and Basgall.

Over the remaining third period, Minnesota netted two more goals past the Spartans, and the game ended at a score of 5-1, splitting the weekend matchup against the Golden Gophers.

“Just where we are in the rankings and everything, we’re not really surprising anyone anymore. We’re going to get everyone’s best every night,” Dorwart said.

The Spartans came into this season ready to prove themselves, and that is what they have done and will continue to do for the remaining weeks of the season.

Adam Nightingale has a lot of important lessons he makes sure to implement into the team, some of those being discipline, perspective, and poise.

“That’s one of the mantras of our team is take responsibility for your development,” Nightingale said. “This is your deal… that was always kind of the perspective I took.”

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