MINNEAPOLIS, Min. - No. 19 Michigan State couldn’t contain the Gophers, as Minnesota found the back of the net four times, and leap out of a tie with Michigan State for third in the Big Ten into first place. Minnesota has won six straight games, dating back to January 11th in East Lansing, winning 2-0.
In an offensive shootout, with both Michigan State and Minnesota registering at least 46 shots, the Gophers found a way to beat goaltender John Lethemon. The Spartan’s didn’t have the same luck on the other end, as Minnesota goaltender Jared Moe denied 45 of 46 faced shots.
1:11 into the first period, Gopher forward Blake McLaughlin opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the hash marks, beating Lethemon’s blocker. The Spartans would go the power-play just 6:35 into the first, with forward Mitchell Lewandowski converting on the man-advantage and tying the game at 1-1 for the remainder of the first period.
4:35 into the second period, Minnesota took the lead 2-1 as forward Sampo Ranta tucked home a rebound that came off of Lethemon’s right pad. Gopher’s forward Scott Reedy scored the dagger with 1.9 seconds remaining in the second period. A tight-angle backhand through traffic that found the back of the net was ultimately the Spartan’s undoing.
An empty net goal by Reedy, his second of the game, sealed the first leg of the weekend matchup at 4-1. Minnesota’s three point night launches them into a tie for first with Ohio State at 31 points. Michigan State, still with 28 points, drop to fourth place behind Penn State in third. The Spartans and Gophers have 17 games played to the conference’s 19, giving them two games in hand.
Game 2 puck drop is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow in Minnesota.
IN THE BIG TEN:
Ohio State 2-2 Penn State
The Buckeyes game tying goal early in third period took the game all the way to a shootout, in which Ohio State grabbed the extra point out of the tie. Ohio State is tied with Minnesota who recently jumped into first place with 31 points. Penn State is now in third, just two points above Michigan State. Penn State and Ohio State have played 19 games.
Michigan 8-4 Wisconsin
The Wolverines scored eight goals in a victory over Wisconsin in Ann Arbor. The Badgers beat goaltender Strauss Mann four times but still suffered the loss. Michigan moves up to 24 points but remains in sixth place above only Wisconsin