Coming off a loss yesterday, the Michigan State Spartans came to play right from the start against the Penn State Nittany Lions. With MSU’s first goal almost right away the energy in Munn Ice Arena was electric. Jagger Joshua with his first goal of the season set the tone early for the Spartans.
Spartans score with 17:35 left in the 1st period!— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) January 4, 2021
Not too long after their first goal, the Spartans scored again with an impressive slap shot from Gianluca Esteves.
For the remainder of the first period the Spartans mostly maintained control of the puck and set the pace of the game. Penn State was not able to gain much traction or put too many real plays together on the offensive end.
Based off the end of period stats, PSU had more shots on goal, but mostly they were wasted opportunities. The Nittany Lions were impatient and did not wait enough for the right breakdowns of the defense.
Moving on to the second period, PSU scored its first goal with 13:40 left. After the Lions’ first point, the play got pretty chippy. First, Penn State was charged a five-minute major and PSU’s Clayton Phillips was ejected from the game. Not too long after Penn State challenged due to a hit straight to the head and Michigan State’s Charlie Combs was ejected and given a game misconduct. The Spartans got hit with the second five-minute major of the game, and their third in the last four games.
End of the 2nd period! MSU still leads 3-1! pic.twitter.com/OIZS890pPG— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) January 4, 2021
At the start of the third period, Penn State came out relentless with its shots and for the majority of the start of the period the Lions controlled the pace. But that eventually changed. The Spartans battled for their fourth goal from Brody Stevens with 5:45 left in the third. After that fourth goal you could see the team was more relaxed and comfortable even with Penn State pushing hard on the offensive end. Then with time winding down, the Spartans packed in one more goal to finish the game. Mitchell Lewandowski came through with his third goal of the season. The final score was 5-1 in Michigan State’s favor.
ANOTHER GOAL! Michigan State now leads 5-1 pic.twitter.com/92O1B5Vmuw— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) January 4, 2021
Speaking after the game, head coach Danton Cole was impressed with the game, thought his team earned the win tonight, and even mentioned that the Spartans could have capitalized on a few more shots. He mentioned he thinks there is a good hockey team in his room, and just wants to instill more confidence in his players. Consistency of effort is what they need, but sometimes it takes them a little bit to figure that out.
Coach Cole’s Full Remarks
Overall the Spartans played well and I was impressed with their connectivity and poise throughout most of the game.