It wasn't the ultimate goal coming into the weekend, but it came with a nice consolation prize. A night after losing to the Michigan Wolverines 5-3 at Munn Arena, the Spartans ruined the Wolverines' senior night Saturday, defeating Michigan 2-1 at Yost Ice Arena. The Spartans got a rebound performance from goaltender Jake Hildebrand in a game they were outclassed and took home 2nd place in the B1G standings and a bye to the semi-finals of next week's B1G Tournament.
Michigan outshot the Spartans 38-19 and surrendered only 10 shots on goal the last two periods. Luckily for the Spartans Jake Hildebrand allowed only a single shot from freshman defenseman Zach Werenski into the net behind him. The Spartans actually controlled play for the first ten minutes of the game and took a 1-0 lead when Michael Ferrantino got a lucky deflection on his shot past Zach Nagelvoort. 30 seconds into the third period Matt DeBlouw scored the game winning goal for the Spartans when he got behind the Wolverines defense and put a wrist shot past Nagelvoort.
That wasn't the play of the game though. No, the play of the game belonged to Jake Hildebrand when he committed highway robbery of one Tyler Motte, making a sliding glove save in the games final minutes to preserve the win.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Oh my god. Jake Hildebrand with save of the game, possibly year <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/B1GHockey?src=hash">#B1GHockey</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Spartans?src=hash">#Spartans</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MSU_Hockey">@MSU_Hockey</a> <a href="http://t.co/OHj8ZXV6C2">http://t.co/OHj8ZXV6C2</a></p>— Jashvina Shah (@icehockeystick) <a href="https://twitter.com/icehockeystick/status/576883250725019648">March 14, 2015</a></blockquote>
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That is a level of save I haven't seen since watching Jeff Lerg rob Brian Boyle of a goal in the 3rd period of the national championship game. I saw that save in person and it was somewhat fitting that I watched the Hildebrand save on my phone while working a Grand Rapids Griffins game that Lerg was in uniform for (back up goalie in Grand Rapids right now). The Spartans packed it in tight from there, clogging shooting lanes and making no effort at a counter-attack. That got under some Michigan fans' skin because no one ever packs it in the defensive zone when preserving a lead. The Spartans were the less talented team on Saturday night, but they found a style that works to their current roster and were able to get a key victory.
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Around the B1G
Minnesota won the B1G title when they defeated Penn State 6-2 Saturday night. The Gophers will be the other team receiving a bye to the semi-finals and will play the winner of Penn State and Ohio State Friday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Spartans will await the winner of Wisconsin and Michigan, the Badgers lost in a shootout and regulation last weekend against the Buckeyes.
Your celebration video
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