EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Rather than celebrating on the ice at Munn Arena on Saturday afternoon, Michigan State’s hockey team spent some time reflecting on a few things.
For the second night in a row the Spartans were shut out by Notre Dame, 2-0, and as a result MSU has yet to score a goal in its last seven periods of play.
“It’s not easy scoring goals in the Big Ten,” said MSU coach Danton Cole. “I mean if you look at some of the games they’re tight like this weekend. It can be one bounce and things go in but you know what, you’ve got to keep shooting the puck.”
Notre Dame would be the one to get on the board first in Saturday’s series finale following Jagger Joshua’s major penalty for game misconduct. It sent the Fighting Irish to the power play just 4:41 into the game and Colin Theisen was able to find the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
“It’s definitely tough whenever you get a 5-minute,” said senior captain Tommy Apap. “It feels like we’ve had a lot of those this year, and it’s difficult to kill, but once we got out of it I thought we came back with some jump but we’re just struggling to score goals.”
The Spartans certainly had their chances. Michigan State outshot Notre Dame 15-11 in the second period, and with 34 seconds remaining, Theisen received a major penalty of his own for elbowing to give the Spartans a chance to tie the game, but they couldn’t solve Irish goalie Dylan St. Cyr.
In the third period, with 8:50 remaining in the game, the Irish would score their second and final goal of the game. It was another power play goal, but this time, freshman Landon Slaggert did the honors.
There were a few tears shed on the ice following the game, but it wasn’t because of the Spartans’ loss. MSU celebrated its eight seniors (Charlie Combs, Mitchell Lewandowski, Tommy Apap, Tommy Miller, Brody Stevens, Jake Smith, Austin Kamer and Gianluca Esteves) with a brief on-ice ceremony and Apap shared what he has loved the most about playing at MSU.
“Being a Spartan has been everything to me,” said Apap. “My Dad went here, and all of his family, and I grew up a Spartan. He almost brainwashed me into it and I’m so glad he did, honestly. It’s been an unbelievable experience since I’ve been here, from the first day we got on campus to now. “We’ve had our ups and our downs for sure. We’re struggling to score, and win games, but the season’s not over. It was senior night but we’re not done. We’re not quitting on the season.”
MSU still has three home games remaining on its regular season schedule and next weekend the Spartans will invite No. 5 Wisconsin to town for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday at Munn.