Plagiarism and not writing an original post is bad but after Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to Michigan Tech it feels like I could just cut and paste from the two previous losses to the Huskies this season. Once again Michigan State held a third period lead, this time 2-0 on the back of Jake Hildebrand and some timely goals. Once again the Spartans could not hold that lead and once again they lost the game on a goal late in the overtime period. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Michigan State put together a prototypical Tom Anastos era performance in the first two periods Tuesday afternoon. They were outshot but were able to hold Michigan Tech off by blocking shots frequently and relying on Jake Hildebrand when shots did get through. Matt DeBlouw staked the Spartans to a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game when a rebound from a JT Stenglein shot ht off DeBlouw's stick and went into the net. The Spartans were under siege the last part of the first period but held on to the lead and tied the Huskies in shots 9-9.
In the second period the Spartans were outshot 13-5, killed multiple penalties including over a minute of 5 on 3 and were still able to extend their lead to 2-0 with a Mackenzie MacEachern power play goal. The power play goal featured one of the few times all period that Michigan State had a consistent attack and they were able to hold the lead due to saves like this from Hildebrand.
Vine version of that diving Jake Hildebrand save earlier https://t.co/1Qr0ZTHVVx— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 29, 2015
The Spartans came out in the third period in a defensive shell, ready to just survive and advance by playing a boring third period. It worked for close to ten minutes until Michigan Tech got on the board with a somewhat controbersial goal. Alex Gilles scored on a rebound chance, and despite him running into Hildebrand to begin the play the goal was not overturned due to goaltender interference.
If MSU stays in a shell here they lose. Push the play. 8 minutes left leading 2-1— Jeremy Dewar (@Jeremy_Dewar) December 29, 2015
Yeah, so the Spartans didn't quite do what I said above. They had flashes of trying to play a full game but still played way too relaxed to close out a game. With less than two minutes to play Rhett Holland lost his stick behind the net, getting it stuck in the zamboni doors, and the Spartans played undisciplined in the confusion following that. They lost any semblance of a defensive system and Jake Lucchini tied the game for the Huskies. Michigan State avoided the no good, terrible shoot out in a TOURNAMENT, (thanks for the shootout to college hockey Anastos as commissioner), by surrendering a goal with one minute remaining in the five minute period. Brent Baltus scored on an absolute snipe of a shot when he was given too much time and space entering the zone and beat Hildebrand over his shoulder.
MTU's Brent Baltus with a rocket to beat MSU in OT pic.twitter.com/VnJF5Ea8vy— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 29, 2015
Looking back at the keys to success
- Jake Hildebrand- Hildebrand played his best game of the season and has returned to old form. It's sad to think he may never make an NCAA Tournament, barring a three day run in March for the Spartans this season.
- Get a 2nd line going- Didn't happen on the scoring sheet too much, but I did like the play of the 4th line made of JT Stenglein, Matt DeBlouw and Villiam Haag.
- Be Boring- Worked for 50 minutes.