Michigan State men’s ice hockey took a series split this past weekend against Bowling Green, moving to 1-1 on the young 2022-23 season.
MSU 2, BG 1 | FINAL | Russell with the PPG to win it for MSU in the final minutes. Spartans split the home-and-home pic.twitter.com/lUQGex07dB— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) October 9, 2022
Both games were a home-and-home matchup, meaning that the first was played at the newly-renovated Munn Ice Arena. The second was played at Bowling Green’s Slater Family Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The buzzword around MSU’s hockey program this season is “new.” The Spartans’ new head coach Adam Nightingale, along with his two associate and assistant coaches Jared DeMichiel and Mike Towns, are looking to turn around an abysmal team that has finished above last place in the Big Ten just once in the past five years.
Michigan State brings several fresh faces to the program, including a pair of freshman forwards, Tiernan Shoudy and Daniel Russell, who shined both in this series and in the exhibition game against Team USA’s development squad.
Friday versus Bowling Green
On Friday night’s matchup, Michigan State took a 3-1 loss.
For MSU, the bright side is that Russell scored his first collegiate goal. It was a missile sent to the net following a nice cross-ice pass from senior forward Jagger Joshua.
Here's a look at Russell's first collegiate goal that put Michigan State on the board. pic.twitter.com/qWruDO0b8p— Brad LaPlante (@bradlaplante) October 8, 2022
Unfortunately, not much else went right for Michigan State as turnovers plagued the Spartans for most of the game. Each time MSU seemed to gain some momentum, the puck immediately went back the other way.
Early in the second period, Bowling Green senior Alex Barber scored on a center-ice pass from sophomore Austen Swankler, who leads the Falcons now with five points on the season. BGSU sophomore defenseman Eric Parker beat out Michigan State fifth-year senior Cole Krygier for the puck. MSU completely missed Barber, who was crashing the net. The result was a puck that Michigan State goaltender Dylan St. Cyr couldn’t even see.
Michigan State put up its first goal 20 seconds into the third period with Russell’s first goal as a college athlete. But Bowling Green immediately responded after Michigan State freshman defenseman Matt Basgall turned it over in front of the net. BGSU sophomore forward Ryan O’Hara slammed it home for his second goal of the season.
St. Cyr played well, stopping 26 of 28 shots that he faced. Joshua also had a nice game, using his body well as a power-forward. Freshman forward Karsen Dorwart, along with Russell, look like they are both going to be very important pieces of this MSU team moving forward.
Saturday at Bowling Green
Things didn’t start well for Michigan State as the Falcons scored quickly. O’Hara scored the power-play goal, a tip in front of the net.
Michigan State tied things up at one goal apiece when Shoudy scored his first official collegiate goal early in the second period. The game-winner, and second of the night, was put in by Russell — an amazing wrist-shot for his second of the season.
Tiernan Shoudy. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/9Yq1K5doaP— Brad LaPlante (@bradlaplante) October 9, 2022
The Spartans dominated during the entire game. In fact, MSU out-shot Bowling Green 42-17 by the end of the game. To that same point, Bowling Green’s goaltenders were outstanding. BGSU sophomore Christian Stoever played most of the game, only allowing a single goal. He faced 40 shots and stopped 39 of them.
BGSU senior Zack Rose came into the game for nearly five minutes after Stoever ran into an MSU player. In those five minutes, Rose faced one shot and couldn’t stop it — the initial game-tying goal by Shoudy. Moments later, Stoever came back into the game.
MSU got lucky when Bowling Green senior Hunter Lellig was penalized, a five-minute major, for hitting from behind.
That penalty was assessed with 5:25 to go in the game, nearly killing Bowling Green’s chances of winning this game in regulation. The only chances BGSU had at winning were to kill of the penalty in regulation and send the game to overtime or score a short-handed goal. The way things were going, neither was likely.
Russell ended up scoring the game-winning goal and that’s all she wrote. That gave Nightingale his first career win as head coach at Michigan State.
Michigan State heads back to East Lansing with an opening-series record of 1-1. All three goals scored over the weekend were done by freshmen. In fact, half of the points MSU scored this weekend were by underclassman, most of whom are freshmen.
New players are contributing in spectacular ways.
This upcoming week, Michigan State will host UMass-Lowell for a two-game series on Thursday (Oct. 13) and Friday (Oct. 15). The River Hawks are 2-1 and are coming off of a series split against Miami (OH).
Last season, Michigan State played UMass-Lowell for two games on the road and took a loss-tie split, losing one game 4-0 and finishing in a 2-2 draw in the other. UMass-Lowell is also coming off of a season in which it lost to defending champion Denver in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.