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Michigan State Hockey: Spartans survive scare against Penn State, win 4-3

Michigan State took a split from Penn State over the weekend.

Michigan State v Massachusetts-Lowell Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans were back on the ice this weekend at “Hockey Valley” to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. After losing the series opener on Friday night, 4-2, the Spartans defeated PSU on Saturday by a score of 4-3, improving the team’s overall record to 9-6-1.

Opening the scoring on Saturday night was sophomore forward Jeremy Davidson, putting the Spartans up 1-0 early in the first period. Penn State’s Chase McLane answered, tying the game at one, but before MSU went up with a Dennis Cesana goal, leaving four minutes left in the first period.

The Spartans didn’t dominate very much of the game, being outshot 53-29. The Nittany Lions weren’t very lucky, but PSU did gain some momentum. The turning point seemed to be a Penn State goal that tied the game at 2-2, after PSU’s Connor MacEachern (who scored on Friday night as well) put one in the back of the net.

The third period was home to multiple scoring chances for Penn State, but not enough that resulted in goals. A power-play goal by Mitchell Lewandowski four minutes into the period put the Spartans up 3-2. Several minutes later, Kristof Papp scored his first career goal, putting MSU up 4-2.

Penn State’s Carson Dyck answered for the Nittany Lions with some momentum of their own, scoring with 12 minutes left in the final period, and ultimately leading to several opportunities to score. PSU outshot Michigan State by a wide margin and won 60 percent of the faceoffs.

With just over two minutes left in the final period, Penn State pulled goaltender Oskar Autio. It was Michigan State sophomore goaltender Pierce Charleson who put on a show for the Spartans, however. Charleson faced 53 shots and stopped 94 percent of them, putting on his best performance of the year.

It’s nothing MSU hasn’t been used to. Senior goaltender Drew DeRidder made 88 of 92 saves against Wisconsin and had a strong performance in the first game against Penn State. He earned the night off in the Spartans’ second game against PSU.

After a suspenseful finish against Penn State, Michigan State’s next challenge is No. 8 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have been hot lately before losing 4-2 to Ohio State on Friday night. Notre Dame’s game against the Buckeyes on Saturday ended in a 5-1 win, however. Notre Dame took a rare two-game sweep of No. 3 Michigan two weeks ago.

The Dec. 10 game will be at 7:30 p.m. EST and the Dec. 11 game will be at 7:00 p.m. Both games will be available on NBCSN or the NBC Sports app.

Michigan State’s annual “Duel In the D” with Michigan at Little Caesars Arena will take place on Feb. 12. Tickets are available now.

Danton Cole’s Post-Game Remarks