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Khodorenko Hat Trick Lifts Spartans over Penn State 4-2

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Michigan State gets it done at Munn, toppling Penn State to move into first in the Big Ten

Photo credit: @MSU_Hockey/Twitter https://twitter.com/MSU_Hockey/status/1220501276187860992/photo/4

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 19 Spartans (13-11-1, 9-5-1) defeated No. 9 Penn State (16-8-1, 8-6-1) 4-2 in a high stakes Big Ten matchup. It was a sold out crowd, one of Munn’s loudest of the year, and “a situation a lot of these guys haven’t been in” with a chance to control their own destiny moving forward, said coach Danton Cole. Forward Patrick Khodorenko tallied one goal in each period as the Spartan’s move out of a tie with the Nittany Lions and ahead of Ohio State into sole possession of first in the Big Ten.

The Spartans drew first blood with 1:37 left in the first period as Khodorenko fired a one-timer from the slot off of a Gianluca Esteves pass, his 12th this season and 50th of his career. The goal capped off an eventful first period in which the Spartan’s registered 15 shots to Penn State’s six.

Penn State would level the energy with 12 unanswered shots through the first 13:17 of the second. John Lethemon denied all 12. Coach Cole stated that “the guys rally behind him” when he is making saves like his 2-on-1 and breakaway stops in the second frame. The offense did just that, as Khodorenko buried his second of the game on a breakaway feed from defenseman Dennis Cesana giving MSU a 2-0 lead on their first shot of the period. A wrist shot from Penn State defenseman Cole Hults just over three minutes later pulled the Nittany Lions within one. The 2-1 score held through the end of the second period.

Spartan defenseman Cole Krygier scored the go-ahead goal 7:40 into the third with a highlight reel toe-drag into the slot before beating Penn State goaltender Peyton Jones. Khodorenko then netted his third of the night, earning a hat trick and giving the Spartans a 4-1 lead with a wrist-shot from the top of the left circle. Down by three, Penn State pulled their goaltender with almost six minutes left. The Nittany Lions scored with 2:38 to go in the third, but goal was called off for goaltender interference. They scored again with 0:21 remaining, this one staying on the board for a final score of 4-2.

Head coach Danton Cole’s message following the game was simple: “Let’s win on Saturday.” Michigan State and Penn State have split their last five series’ dating back to November of 2017. Game two puck drop is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow.

IN THE BIG TEN:

Wisconsin 6-4 Notre Dame

A Cole Caufield hat trick helped the Badgers take down the Irish, giving them 17 points as they still sit in last in the Big Ten.

Minnesota 6-3 Ohio State

The Golden Gophers defeated the Buckeyes 6-3 to move into fifth in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s loss holds them behind Michigan State, who jump into first.