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Michigan State men’s ice hockey sweeps No. 10 Ohio State

It was Michigan State’s first ranked sweep in three years, and the Spartans move into first place in the Big Ten.

Marvin Hall/The Only Colors

Michigan State men’s ice hockey swept No. 10 Ohio State on Thursday and Friday this week to improve to 8-3-1 overall this season, and 4-1-1 in Big Ten Conference play. With the sweep, MSU moves into first place in the Big Ten.

This week’s sweep is the first for Michigan State over a ranked team since sweeping No. 19 Wisconsin on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, 2019.

On Thursday, Michigan State took a 4-2 victory. On Friday, the Spartans earned a 4-3 victory.

Game 1: 4-2 victory

Michigan State took a 4-2 victory in the opening game of the series.

However, it was Ohio State that opened up the scoring when Tyler Duke put one past MSU senior goaltender Dylan St. Cyr. Michigan State answered with a power-play goal after OSU was called for too many men on the ice. In MSU’s first power-play opportunity, it silenced the nation’s best penalty kill unit.

Freshman center Karsen Dorwart put MSU ahead 2-1 in the second period with a spin-o-rama to beat OSU goaltender Jakub Dobes.

With nearly five minutes left in the second period, Jake Wise tied things up for the Buckeyes.

It was freshman Daniel Russell who put Michigan State back ahead 3-2 in the final frame. Ohio State almost scored several times, including when St. Cyr tried playing the puck after Dobes was pulled with 2:10 remaining. The Buckeyes used the additional skater to corner St. Cyr behind the net and it almost went in.

Ohio State challenged for MSU “covering the puck in the crease,” which is a reviewable play, new to the Big Ten’s 2022-2023 season. A successful challenge would’ve resulted in a penalty shot for Ohio State and potentially a minor penalty. The challenge failed and moments later, OSU gave up the empty-net goal.

The Spartans won 4-2 to take the first game of the series.

Game 2: 4-3 victory

In a completely different turn of events, Michigan State came out looking like the better team on Friday night.

To open the scoring, graduate left-wing Miroslav Mucha started a play alongside the boards behind the net. He escaped the scuffle and ended up in front of Dobes to knock the puck in, putting MSU up 1-0.

Ohio State tied the game 1-1 when Joe Dunlap deflected one in front of the net to beat St. Cyr. Senior center Nicolas Müller finished off the scoring in the first period with a pair of goals, one even strength and one on the power-play.

“Today, our line was really good,” Müller said after the game. “We hunted a lot of pucks and (Mucha) went at it and got a lucky bounce, and then good patience. The puck was bouncing good today.”

Travis Treloar brought Ohio State within one on a power-play goal during a Cole Krygier holding penalty. Michigan State increased its lead back to two goals when freshman left-wing Tiernan Shoudy beat Dobes on an assist from sophomore center Jesse Tucker.

The final period was tough for Michigan State. It wasn’t until shot No. 12 for Ohio State that Michigan State even registered one in the period. The final seven minutes were much better for the Spartans, though, as they pulled out a 4-3 victory.

“It was a really good weekend for us,” head coach Adam Nightingale said on Friday night. “I actually thought we were better today than we were yesterday. That’s kind of been our mantra; we want to get better as the season goes on.”

Nightingale also spoke to the team’s resilience when either calls don’t go the Spartans’ way or they get unlucky.

“I give a lot of credit to the guys for buying into that,” Nightingale said. “It’s human nature for when things don’t go well, you panic. When you play in a good league, there’s going to be momentum shifts in a game.

“I do think, like, (Mucha), he was a captain on a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament. He’s been there. Dylan St. Cyr has played on two winning programs that have a really good culture. And (Michael) Underwood, with Clarkson, who is a tournament team. I think having those guys and bringing that poise is contagious.”

Next weekend, Michigan State travels to take on highly-ranked Penn State. The Nittany Lions have wins against both Michigan and Minnesota. MSU will take on Miami (OH) in Oxford, Ohio the following weekend before returning home to face Minnesota at home on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.