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Saturday Hockey Recap: Spartans Sweep Buckeyes

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A shutout performance from Jake Hildebrand leads the Spartans to their first sweep of the season

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans' hockey team was finally able to put a whole weekend together, earning their first sweep of the season over the Ohio State Buckeyes with a 2-0 victory Saturday night. It was a dominating weekend for the Spartans as they controlled play both nights and took advantage of a depleted Ohio State roster to win the weekend 6-1 on goals.

Saturday night saw a scoreless first period, which I was unable to watch since the Penn State-Northern Michigan game ran long on BTN. The period saw MSU hold Ohio State to just 5 shots on goal, while the Spartans took 8. In the second period Ryan Keller got his second goal of the weekend by going to the net strong and putting the puck into an empty net left by a sprawling Christian Frey. It was Keller's fourth goal of the season and his line with Thomas Ebbing and Brent Darnell continue to come on strong as of late.

In the third period the Spartans suffocated the trailing Buckeyes, once again allowing just 5 shots on goal. The Buckeyes got frustrated towards the end of the game and took two vicious cheap hits on Spartans' captain Michael Ferrantino. Both hits came with under 6 minutes to play and were charged with a 5 minute major penalty and game misconducts. After the second hit at 18:23 of the third, Brent Darnell utilized the wide open space on the 5-on-3 power play to blast home a one-timer from the right circle. The rest of the game was played without incident and the Spartans finally got to sing the fight song in the Munn locker room after earning a crucial 6 points on the weekend.

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Quick Takeaways

  • College Hockey News has now come out with advanced metrics for each college hockey game. It is an awesome new feature and Saturday the Spartans controlled the advanced metrics. They totaled 73 shot attempts to Ohio State's 45, giving the Spartans a dominating corsi of 61.8%.
  • This team is just different with Matt Berry out there, hopefully he can stay out of the doghouse down the stretch.
  • The defense had a great weekend as Saturday was a team shutout, not Hildebrand making amazing saves all night
  • A power play goal each night and 6 successful penalty kills makes for a successful special teams weekend
  • Michigan is the hottest team in the country right now and will be a tough opponent next Saturday. The Spartans are the last team to hold Michigan to under 4 goals (2-1 loss on December 29).
  • Somehow MSU won a game when scoring under 3 goals. That is only the second time that has happened this season in the 9 Spartans' wins.
Around the B1G
Michigan has officially played themselves into the national tournament as an at-large opponent, as they currently sit 12th in the Pairwise rankings. The Wolverines dispatched of Wisconsin this weekend, in Madison, 7-4 and 6-0. Minnesota finished 4th in the North Star College Cup  losing to national #1 Minnesota-State Mankato 4-2 Friday and 2-1 to Minnesota-Duluth Saturday. Penn State defeated Northern Michigan 5-4 Friday and tied 5-5 Saturday night.

Team Record Points
1. Michigan Wolverines 7-1-0 21
2. Penn State Nittany Lions 5-2-1 16
3. Michigan State Spartans 3-3-2-2 13
4. Minnesota Golden Gophers 2-2-2 8
5. Ohio State Buckeyes 2-6-0 6
6. Wisconsin Badgers 0-5-1 2

Next Up

The Spartans play just two games over the next two weekends, both against the Michigan Wolverines. On Saturday, January 31 the Spartans will play Michigan at Joe Louis Arena. The following Saturday is the game at Soldier Field between the two arch-rivals.