The Michigan State Spartans men’s ice hockey team took a sweep to No. 12 Notre Dame at home over the weekend. It’s the sixth time in a row Michigan State has been swept, and the Spartans are still yet to win a game since the calendar turned to 2022.
This weekend’s series was important for MSU as senior forward Mitchell Lewandowski made his return. He had been out with injury since the Great Lakes Invitational. The Spartans are 1-14 without him in the lineup this season. That didn’t seem to change much this weekend, though.
Friday night’s game offered a spark for Michigan State. Good defense and a timely power play enabled the Spartans to take a 1-0 lead. Lewandowski had the primary assist in a one-timer by junior forward Erik Middendorf. It was only the ninth power-play goal that Notre Dame has surrendered all season.
Here’s Michigan State’s opening power play goal vs Notre Dame.— brad laplante (@bradlaplante) February 19, 2022
Unfortunately, that was all MSU would score, despite outshooting Notre Dame 37-22. The last time the Spartans outshot an opponent was against Ohio State in a 3-2 loss back in January.
Notre Dame capitalized on a power play of its own when freshman forward Hunter Strand put one past Michigan State sophomore goaltender Pierce Charleson. Strand made another impressive shot early in the third period, and a tip from sophomore forward Landon Slaggert gave the Fighting Irish the lead and, eventually, the 2-1 win.
Late in the game, MSU senior defenseman Cole Krygier and Notre Dame senior forward Graham Slaggert were each given minor penalties for fighting, along with a disqualification from this game and the next.
Saturday’s game tells a different story.
Freshman forward Justin Janicke put Notre Dame on the board nearly seven minutes into the first period as freshman David Gucciardi found himself out of position. That same line would net another goal late in the period, with graduate forward Jack Adams scoring on a quick two-on-one. Graduate defenseman Chase Blackmun gave the Fighting Irish another early goal in the second period to put Notre Dame up 3-0.
Michigan State’s hopes seemed over at that point, as the Spartans don’t contend well with high-scoring teams. A goal by sophomore forward Jeremy Davidson gave MSU life in the final period, but that life was destroyed when Notre Dame senior defenseman Spencer Stastney (who has killed Michigan State all season) scored a goal just 70 seconds later.
The goal from Jeremy Davidson that got MSU on the board. pic.twitter.com/WCKssUBAuk— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) February 20, 2022
With less than one minute left, Middendorf scored a power-play goal, but that was a wrap for Michigan State. The Spartans took a 4-2 loss, suffering the team’s sixth-straight sweep and extending its losing streak to 12 games in a row.
Next up for MSU is Penn State, as the Spartans look to wrap up this dreadful season. The only positive is that Penn State is on a losing streak of its own: five-straight to Minnesota, Notre Dame and Ohio State. PSU’s last victory came in a shoot-out against Ohio State three weeks ago. Its last victory in regulation was against Wisconsin a month ago.
Michigan State regresses to 11-20-1 and 5-17-0-1 in Big Ten play. Unless MSU sweeps Penn State, it will be the fourth time in five seasons that the Spartans finish the season in last place in the Big Ten.