EAST LANSING, Mich. - Don’t be surprised if the Gophers’ hockey team doesn’t pause to reflect on Friday’s moment in Big Ten history.
The nation’s top-ranked team fell to Michigan State 3-2 in a shootout at Munn Ice Arena. After playing to a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime, the Spartans earned the extra point in the conference standings with the shootout victory, the first in Big Ten hockey history.
Big Ten victories in regulation or overtime are worth three points in the standings, shootout victories two points and shootout losses one point.
Outside of the league, however, the contest goes down as a draw.
MSU forward Michael Ferrantino, the first of nine shooters, scored the lone shootout goal. Gophers forwards Kyle Rau, Sam Warning and Taylor Cammarata all were stopped by Spartans goaltender Jake Hildebrand.
“We’re disappointed not to get the extra point, but we have our tie,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “Now we’ve got to come back and try to get the win tomorrow. If we do that, it’ll be a good weekend.”
Michigan State succeeded in clogging the neutral zone to prevent the Gophers from using their speed during an evenly played first period. Still, the Gophers (11-2-2, 2-0-0-1 Big Ten) took a 1-0 lead with 1:24 left in the first. Cammarata, who missed last weekend’s series with Wisconsin because of an undisclosed injury, took a long, cross-slot pass from defenseman Jake Bischoff and easily beat Hildebrand for his fourth goal of the season.
The Spartans (5-7-1, 1-0-0-0 Big Ten) tied the score 1:02 into the second period when Mackenzie MacEachern chipped a shot over goalie Adam Wilcox’s glove during a 2-on-2 rush that started when linemate Villiam Haag forced a turnover at the Gophers’ blue line.
The Gophers’ offensive attack intensified late in the second period and carried into the third because, in large part, of two power-play opportunities. The Gophers failed to score during the first man-advantage despite keeping the puck in the MSU end for the duration of the minor penalty on the Spartans’ Brock Krygier. The second power-play chance, however, ended 51 seconds into the third period when Justin Kloos’ shot caromed off a defender and rattled past Hildebrand for a 2-1 Gophers lead.
“We had to use our speed to get pucks deep,” said Kloos, who also assisted on Cammarata’s goal. “Michigan State wasn’t going to let us make a lot of plays in the neutral zone, but I think we used our speed pretty well.”
Cammarata played a role in another goal — the one six minutes into the third period that allowed the Spartans to tie the score 2-2. An MSU centering attempt glanced off Cammarata’s stick and deflected right to Haag, who shoveled the puck behind Wilcox.
Wilcox made 31 saves for the Gophers. Hildebrand stopped 44 shots for Michigan State.
The Gophers lost senior defenseman Jake Parenteau in the first period because of what Lucia called a lower-body injury. Parenteau, who was taken to a hospital for X-rays, will be replaced by Ben Marshall in this afternoon’s rematch.
“Fortunately we didn’t have to kill a lot of penalties because Jake’s one of the strongest defensive defensemen on the team,” Lucia said. “After that, we’ve got two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior.
“But they did a good job of getting to the puck and clearing it out of our own zone.”