Michigan State hockey split the weekend’s two-game series against No. 10 Ohio State, winning 3-2 in overtime on Saturday and falling 4-2 on Sunday. The matchup against the Buckeyes, now 1-3-0 overall, was Michigan State’s first conference test. The weekend’s results move the Spartans to 2-1-1 as they look toward the remainder of the calendar year.
In Saturday’s first leg, Michigan State narrowly edged out a 3-2 overtime victory. Nico Muller buried the winner 3:36 into the overtime period after kicking a Tommy Apap pass to his stick and finding the nearside post from the left circle. Muller’s tally was his first of the season after scoring three goals in 36 games as a freshman.
After a scoreless first frame, the Buckeyes’ Grant Gabriele opened the scoring 7:37 into the second. Michigan State answered with two before the end of the period, as freshman Charlie Combs scored his first in green and white on the power play under three minutes after Gabriele drew first blood. Junior Adam Goodsir found the net six minutes later, tucking a loose puck past Ohio State goaltender Tommy Nappier giving the Spartans a 2-1 lead and closing out a period in which Michigan State outshot the Buckeyes 20-6.
Charlie Combs’ first as a Spartan! pic.twitter.com/n0vlQdUZJo— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) November 29, 2020
Ohio State tied the game with 27 seconds left in regulation on an empty-net man advantage as Travis Treloar put a one-timer past Drew DeRidder to force OT.
Michigan State managed 45 shots in game one, doubling down on a 40-shot game against Arizona State the previous week. Despite a 44-shot effort on Sunday, Ohio State and goaltender Tommy Nappier responded to the Spartans’ offensive generation with a 42-save, 4-2 victory to close out the weekend in Columbus.
Ohio State’s Quinn Preston had the lone first-period goal, burying a backdoor rebound for his first of the year. The Spartans’ Mitch Mattson evened the score midway through the second, gliding through the center lane and beating Nappier stick-side off of a Kyle Haskins centering pass.
Mitchell Mattson set up perfectly by his linemates for his second goal of the season pic.twitter.com/vsKcWtrtjV— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) November 29, 2020
The Buckeyes retook the lead five minutes later, as Joe Dunlap beat DeRidder glove-side on a 2-on-1. Grant Gabriele scored his second of the weekend halfway through the final period to give Ohio State a 3-1 lead on the power play while Christian Krygier served an interference penalty. Michigan State showed life two minutes later, as first-year Combs got his second of the series and second of his Spartan career.
Charlie Combs’ second of the weekend pulls the Spartans within one! pic.twitter.com/iDwiz3Qhir— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) November 30, 2020
Within one goal, head coach Danton Cole pulled goaltender Drew DeRidder with 1:31 to go in the third period. Ohio State would go on to shut down the Spartan comeback attempt with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds to win 4-2.
The Spartans will host the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Dec. 3/4 at 8 p.m. both Thursday and Friday night. The Gophers are currently 4-0 and swept Ohio State, winning 4-1 and 2-0 in Minnesota.