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Michigan State hockey sweeps Long Island in weekend series

The Spartans outscored the Sharks 11-5 overall to move to 4-2-0 on the season.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Michigan State men’s ice hockey swept Long Island University this past weekend.

The Spartans had a fantastic offensive showing in the two-game series, netting 11 goals from seven different players against the Sharks.

Friday: 3-1 victory

The first of the two Spartan victories was a 3-1 win on Friday night.

Michigan State got things started for the first time this season, with junior center Nicolas Muller finding the back of the net less than a minute into the game for his first goal of the season.

The Spartan lead was short lived, however, as sophomore forward Isaiah Fox evened things up for the Sharks a few minutes later, concluding the scoring in the first period.

Michigan State got off to another quick start in the second, with sophomore defenseman David Gucciardi retaking the lead for the Spartans with his first goal of the season.

Following the theme of first-time goal scorers, freshman center Karsen Dorwart took things up a notch late in the second period, finding the back of the net for his first career goal as a Spartan. Dorwart’s goal, along with giving the team some insurance on the night, would be the final score of the night for either team.

After the game, Dorwart reflected on the chances he had throughout the team’s first four games, saying he felt good about finally managing to capitalize.

“I’ve had a lot of chances so it’s nice to finally finish one,” Dorwart said.

Dorwart also spoke about having the opportunity to play alongside his former USHL teammate in freshman forward Daniel Russell, saying he feels they have developed solid chemistry on the ice together.

“It makes things a lot easier, playing with (Russell),” Dorwart said. “I think we’re pretty good about finding each other. We’ve got good chemistry so it helped a lot playing together last year and we’re fortunate to play together this year.”

Saturday: 8-4 victory

Saturday proved to be an offensive explosion, with the Spartans and Sharks combining for 12 goals in Michigan State’s 8-4 victory.

The Spartans got off to an incredibly hot start, netting four goals in a dominant opening period. Senior forward Jagger Joshua opened things up with a power-play goal to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead just under four minutes into the game. The goal was Joshua’s first of the season.

Just two minutes later, sophomore center Jesse Tucker joined the fun, netting his first goal of the season off a deflection to give Michigan State a two-goal lead.

Fifth-year senior defenseman Cole Krygier capitalized on his opportunity to net his first goal of the season next, putting the Spartans up three goals in the opening period.

Michigan State’s fourth and final goal of the first period came from Gucciardi, as he sniped the puck past the LIU goalkeeper for his second goal in as many games against the Sharks.

Long Island would score the final goal of the period, with Fox getting the Sharks on the board for his second goal of the series.

The second period was nearly as high-scoring as the first, with the two teams combining for four goals in comparison to the five scored in the first.

The theme of the series for the Spartans was first time scorers, and junior defenseman Nash Nienhuis continued that theme with Michigan State’s first goal of the second period to give the Spartans a 5-1 lead.

Long Island would answer a few minutes later as freshman center Riley Wallack found the back of the net to give the Sharks their second goal of the game.

LIU’s third goal came courtesy of a familiar face in Munn Ice Arena. Former Spartan graduate center Adam Goodsir pulled the Sharks to within two with a goal for LIU.

When asked about playing against his former teammate, Joshua said he enjoyed the experience, even if it might have been weird seeing Goodsir not wearing Green and White.

“That was interesting,” Joshua said. “I played my last three years with him, so it was kind of interesting to see him in another team’s color.

“It was fun. It’s always good to compete against friends.”

The Spartans would net their second goal of the period, courtesy of Joshua, his second of the night. His score gave the Spartans a three-goal advantage, making it 6-3 in favor of MSU heading to the final frame.

Following the theme of the night, the third period featured no shortage of fireworks, with three combined goals between the two teams on their way to the 8-4 finish.

Long Island opened up the scoring in the period, with sophomore defenseman Spencer Cox netting the Sharks’ fourth goal of the night to cut the Spartan lead to two goals.

The score would remain 6-4 for the majority of the period until Joshua found the back of the net off a deflected shot by Dorwart to complete his hat trick. The hat trick was the first by a Spartan since Patrick Khodorenko achieved the feat against Penn State in 2020.

When talking about his first hat trick as a Spartan, Joshua said he felt good about finally capitalizing on his work this season.

“It’s always nice when the pucks are bouncing your way and you get rewarded for your hard work,” Joshua said. “It’s a pretty good feeling.”

The final score of the night came from Nienhuis, his second of the night, to ice the game in favor of the Spartans.

The eight-goal performance was the most scored by a Michigan State team since 2013 in an 8-2 victory over Princeton.

The Spartans outshot the Sharks 50-27 on the night, but when asked about the number of shots, head coach Adam Nightingale emphasized the team’s focus on quality over quantity.

“We don’t want to be a team that just chucks pucks to the net and I don’t feel that we are that way,” Nightingale said. “We’re interested in quality and sometimes quantity comes along with that and that was the case tonight.”

Nightingale expressed his approval of the team’s resiliency when the Sharks attempted a comeback, bringing the score to within two goals twice in the latter two periods.

“That’s a good sign,” Nightingale said of the way the team rallied to put the game out of reach after the comeback attempt. “Things aren’t always going to go your way in our sport… it’s how you respond to it.

“You’ve got to stick together and get back to who we are and just focus on the next shift.”

Michigan State will now head into Big Ten conference play, heading to South Bend, Indiana to face Notre Dame on Oct. 28. MSU is currently 4-2 on the 2022-2023 season.