The Michigan State Spartans (4-9-1) took on the Western Michigan Broncos (8-5-3) in the 52nd annual Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena.
The Spartans, ranked last in the Big Ten, have lost the last three games and look for redemption in their 43rd overall appearance in the GLI. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2013, when the Broncos swept the Spartans in a two-game series.
The Broncos are looking at a much better season as they have already matched the total amount of wins from last season, eight. They are tied for eight in the country in scoring with 3.44 goals per game.
The Spartans began to struggle during their first penalty kill of the night as Western’s Jade McMullen knocks one in past Minney. The Broncos take advantage of a second power play as center Sheldon Dries makes it two for the team.
If Michigan State wants to make a comeback, the first step is to simply stop getting penalties. Western has taken advantage of two of the three penalties thus far.
As the clock continued to run, the Spartans appear unable to stop receiving penalties. Western gets its third goal just three seconds into another power play as left wing Griffin Molino stick handles his way into the net. Every Bronco goal has resulted from a power play, and Michigan State can’t seem to stay out of trouble receiving penalties. The Spartans seemed a bit unfocused in their battle against the Broncos; there was more hitting and tripping than stickhandling.
The Spartans eventually connected the passes needed and Mason Appleton rips one in from a tough angle, going slightly above Bronco goaltender Ben Blacker’s head, giving the Spartans a tighter trail at 3-1. Things were finally looking up for the Spartans; they only needed two more goals to tie the game up. However, the penalties keep on coming for Michigan State.
Within just seconds into a power play due to Rhett Holland’s tripping call, Western gets its fourth and final goal. Michigan State is 60th, or last, in penalty kills, so it’s no mystery as to why they keep getting scored on when giving another team a power play.
It’s common to wonder what the game would look like if there hadn’t been as many penalties. Any chance at a regular 5-on-5 goal? From the looks of this game, it could have gone into overtime with a 0-0 score if both teams played clean the whole time. This has been a high penalty match as a total of 16 penalties have been given out; all of the goals coming from power plays.
Both teams had a total of 31 shots each on goal.
The Michigan State Spartans will face the Michigan Wolverines for a third place game tomorrow at 3:30 pm.