Defense reigned supreme this weekend in Lansing.
Friday, Miami University RedHawks lost 3-1 to Michigan State University (MSU) Spartans at Munn Ice Arena. Midway through the first period, the Spartans struck twine first on the powerplay. Michigan State bounced the puck around Miami’s zone before Mitchell Lewandowski found Jeremy Davidson at the back door for a tap-in.
Miami tied it up 11:36 into the second period. Streaking down the left side of the rink on a three-on-two, P.J. Fletcher sauced a backhand pass over an outstretched Spartan stick to Joe Casetti. Casetti corralled the pass and crashed to the net, cutting to his backhand before slinging a shot under the goalie’s armpit.
The game stayed even through the rest of the period and most of the third. Then, with just under four minutes left, the Spartans took advantage of a Miami defensive miscue and scored the winning goal.
A Spartan forward winded down the wall and froze sophomore goaltender Ludvig Persson with a deke. The Spartan spun around the net and found his teammate in the slot for an easy goal past the scrambling Persson.
MSU added an empty net goal with about 30 seconds remaining. Miami won the shot battle 29-28, took fewer penalties, and won 36-of-66 faceoffs conducted in the game. Persson finished with 25 saves in the game.
Saturday’s game was eerily similar.
Miami got on the board first.
Late in the first period, Senior forward Matt Barry stripped an MSU winger on the half-wall and cut around the faceoff circle. He fought off three Spartan defenders as he skated and slung a no-look pass over to Daschke. The captain caught the puck and fired it over the goalie’s blocker-arm shoulder.
The Spartans knotted it up early in the third period when Jeremy Davidson grabbed his own rebound and found the back of the net on his second chance.
Once again, the teams were tied 1-1 in the third period.
This time, the tie breaking goal was scored even later. With just 2:12 left in regulation, Erik Middendorf found a loose puck around the hash marks and drove it home for the win.
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Again, Miami led in shots, this time 36-24.
“You aren’t going to win many series scoring two goals on the weekend,” Head Coach Chris Bergeron said after Sunday’s game. “... so far through four games — with the exception of one — offense has been hard for us.”
The RedHawks next take the ice for their home opener, as cross-state rival Bowling Green visits Cady Arena Friday, Oct. 22, at 7:05 p.m.