Western Michigan jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after goals by freshman forward Max Sasson and sophomore forward Chad Hillebrand. That seemed to be enough as a power-play goal from Michigan State freshman defenseman David Gucciardi couldn’t get Michigan State any momentum.
David Gucciardi with his second goal of the season! On the power play too. MSU is 7-1-1 when scoring a power play goal.— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) December 30, 2021
Michigan State 1, Western Michigan 2 | 10:46 to play in the second period pic.twitter.com/CLhTlEyVxr
To his credit, the Broncos’ goaltender, Brandon Bussi, had an outstanding game. He stopped 27 of MSU’s 28 shots, and getting a primary assist in Sasson’s goal.
Coming in, Michigan State had been 7-1-1 when scoring a power-play goal and 6-1-1 when not allowing a power-play goal. The Spartans achieved a 100 percent in both metrics, but still came away with a loss, despite creating some chances late.
Senior goaltender Drew DeRidder was great in net, stopping 35 shots, while facing 37. It wasn’t enough to combat the lack of any MSU offense, however.
For the second game of the Great Lakes Invitational, Michigan State will take on No. 18/- Michigan Tech (10-7-1). The Huskies walked out of Yost Ice Arena with a 0-0 tie against No. 3/3 Michigan last night.
Despite Michigan Tech having an 85-76-4 edge in the overall rivalry, Michigan State is 23-8-1 in Great Lakes Invitational matchups. Both teams last met in the GLI in 2019 when the Spartans suffered a 4-2 loss in the semifinal.
Defensemen have been important for the Spartans’ offense recently. Nearly half of points in a series against Penn State earlier this month came from defensemen, with Dennis Censana leading the way. MSU’s lone goal of the night came from Gucciardi, a defenseman, against the Broncos.
This year’s Great Lakes Invitational has moved to a showcase format, so there will be no crowned champion. Michigan’s game against Western Michigan, originally scheduled for tonight, has been canceled due to health and welfare protocols within the Wolverines’ program.
Michigan State’s game against Michigan Tech will air on B1G+ tonight at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.