The Michigan State Spartans were down in South Bend over the weekend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before taking a holiday break, and managed to split the weekend with overtime wins by each team in the games. Notre Dame got the shootout win after tying it up in regulation Saturday, while MSU got the three-on-three OT win Sunday after managing to tie it up themselves in regulation.
Michigan State came out swinging in the first period. It was just the second game this season the Spartans managed double-digit shots in the opening period. Tommy Apap struck home on one of them after forcing a turnover in Notre Dame’s defensive zone. Teammate Dennis Cesana took a shot off the backboards that Apap managed to turn into a rebound chance and convert the goal. After a review by the officials, the goal stood and it was 1-0 MSU through to intermission.
Here’s a look at Apap’s first of the year for a 1-0 Spartan lead pic.twitter.com/ggdfq69kgC— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) December 20, 2020
Notre Dame’s Graham Slaggert responded in kind in the second period when he threaded a pass through three MSU players to teammate Alex Steeves. Steeves just gave it a Happy Gilmore tap-tap-taperoo for the goal to tie it up 1-1.
Despite a five-minute penalty power play for Notre Dame and two other minor penalties in the third period, MSU’s penalty kill kept Notre Dame at bay to force three-on-three overtime. The Spartans penalty kill was called on yet again as Tommy Miller was called for a hooking penalty with 1:49 left in overtime, but the Spartans held strong and forced a shootout.
Notre Dame proceeded to convert on both of its first chances, but stopped MSU, giving the Fighting Irish the extra point in Big Ten standings for the opening game of the series.
Notre Dame ended the night with a 48-20 shots on goal advantage. Drew DeRidder made 19 saves in the third period and another seven more in overtime. Eight of the third-period shots came during Notre Dame’s three power plays. DeRidder also turned away four shots during the Irish’s 1:46 of power-play time in OT.
Danton Cole’s Post-Game Remarks
Whereas Saturday’s scoring action was a grind, Sunday’s was fast and frequent in comparison. Notre Dame’s Graham Slaggert scored first off a rebound chance just 1:13 into the game. Charlie Combs responded for MSU as the forward took advantage of a puck that deflected off his arm and trickled past the Fighting Irish’s goaltender to tie it up at 1-1.
Charlie Combs’ third of the year & we’re tied after one pic.twitter.com/zlOA6KyBN6— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) December 20, 2020
Despite pressure from Notre Dame in the second period, Mitch Lewandowski was the next to score. On an odd-man rush by the Spartans, the senior forward went five-hole with ND’s goaltender and struck home to move MSU into the lead 2-1.
After only allowing one goal on 31 shots during the first two periods, the Spartans couldn’t keep the Irish out of the net in the third. Notre Dame scored twice, both coming off of rebounds. Despite Notre Dame taking the lead 3-1, late game heroics by captain Tommy Apap tied it up for Michigan State. After winning a face-off in Notre Dame’s zone, Apap crashed the net in time to tip a shot from Josh Nodler right through the goaltenders legs with 22 seconds left in regulation to tie it up and force three-on-three overtime.
Then in overtime, fellow captain Tommy Miller came up with the below goal to give MSU three points in NCAA standings and an extra point in Big Ten standings. This one is one you want to put on repeat, folks!
MSU continued to show off its penalty killing prowess as it killed five total penalties, four in the first period alone. Yet again the Spartans incurred a five-minute major penalty, this one in the first period. Notre Dame finished with a 45-28 edge in shots on goal.
Highlights From Sunday’s Game
Danton Cole’s Post-Game Remarks
Drew Deridder’s Post-Game Remarks
Current Big Ten Standings
Michigan State currently stands in sixth place in the conference standings. Despite Arizona State “joining” the Big Ten this season, the independent’s games do not count in conference standings because...[collective shrug at nonsense].
The Spartans have just five points on the season after falling 2-3-1 thus far. The overall standings as the conference heads into break are thus:
- Minnesota, 24 points, 8-0-0
- Wisconsin, 16 points, 5-3-0
- Notre Dame, 12 points, 3-4-1
- Ohio State, 10 points, 3-5-0
- Michigan, 8 points, 3-5-0
- Michigan State, 5 points, 2-3-1
- Penn State, 3 points, 1-5-0
Michigan State returns to action Jan. 3 and 4, 2021 when it hosts Penn State at Munn Ice Arena.