EAST LANSING, MICH. – Different day, same result for the Gophers men’s hockey team, which arrived at Munn Ice Arena with a modest three-game winning streak and left it with their first sweep at the hands of Michigan State in 43 years.
Mitchell Lewandowski scored twice, Zach Osburn had four assists and the Spartans won 5-3 again Sunday, sweeping the Gophers for the first time since Feb. 6-7, 1976.
“It was not a good weekend for Gopher hockey. We played one period out of the six,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. “And I wish I could sit here with an answer, because we’re all completely blindsided after what we’ve just gone through. There just wasn’t a lot in our tank this weekend, no warning. Give them credit, and we go home.”
Since the creation of the Big Ten Conference for men’s hockey, the Spartans had been 2-14-4 against the Gophers going into this season, including 0-4 last season. But this season, the Spartans are 3-1 against the Gophers, having won the past three meetings.
The Spartans won 5-3 on Saturday, too, when the Gophers (9-10-4, 6-5-3 Big Ten) fell behind by three goals before a late comeback bid fell short.
Sunday, the Gophers tied it 2-2 on Rem Pitlick’s 12th goal of the season, coming 10 minutes, 27 seconds into the second period, but the Spartans (9-12-3, 5-7-2) reclaimed the lead 1:21 later on defenseman Cole Krygier’s first career goal, and Lewandowski made it a two-goal lead by scoring with 11.6 seconds left in the period.
That ended up being it for Mat Robson. He was replaced in the Gophers net by Eric Schierhorn to start the third period.
Jack Sadek got the Gophers within one at the 9:34 mark of the third period, but again the Spartans responded not long after, with Lewandowski scoring his second goal at the 11:12 mark.
“We were playing good hockey. We didn’t lose it, it just disappeared for a Saturday and a Sunday,” Motzko said. “My only consolation is how our guys had energy to play in the third. … We were trying to salvage something, but our guys were fighting to salvage the weekend, and that’s something we can build on. That’s all we can do right now. What we did for the first five periods, that’s not how we’ve been playing.”