Men’s hockey loses 4-3 to MSU

Minnesota out-shot the Spartans 43-23 but couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities.

by Dane Mizutani

No. 3 Minnesota (11-4-0, 8-2-0 WCHA) has made a recent habit of losing in the first game of a weekend series, and continued this trend Friday, falling 4-3 to Michigan State.

The Gophers outshot the Spartans 43-23, but were unable to fight back from a two-goal deficit in the third period and lost for the third consecutive Friday.

Nick Bjugstad continued his hot streak, adding two more goals to stretch his season total to 15, but it wasnâÄôt enough.

MSU (8-5-0, 4-4-0 CCHA) jumped out to an early lead on goals by Kevin Walrod and Brent Darnell, but Minnesota was able to respond.

Seth Helgeson and Bjugstad tallied goals 47 seconds apart to knot the score at 2-2 at the first intermission.

Neither team scored in the second period, but early in the third, Minnesota had a chance to take control of the game. Brock Shelgren took an interference penalty to put the Gophers on the power play barely a minute into the period.

Minnesota has boasted a fairly successful power play unit this season, but this chance was not what it envisioned.

Rather, Walrod scored his second goal of the game while shorthanded and momentum swung towards the Spartans.

Matt Berry made it 4-2 less than two minutes later seemingly putting the game out of reach.

Bjugstad scored his second goal of the game 13:02 into the third period to provide a glimmer of hope. This hope was nearly actualized as Kyle Rau found his sweet spot near the crease with Kent Patterson pulled to gain an extra attacker.

Rau had an open net as he controlled a rebound to the right of the crease, but goaltender Drew Palmisano robbed the Minnesota freshman with an acrobatic glove save to salvage a one-goal lead.

The Gophers would not get a better scoring opportunity and the Spartans walked away with the victory.

Minnesota will look to earn its third consecutive series split on Saturday at Munn Arena.