Spartans Blank Wolverines Icers, 2-0

On Tuesday, the No. 6 University of Michigan hockey team made the short journey to East Lansing, Mich., for a tilt with interstate rival Michigan State. As has been the case for most of the season, the Wolverines struggled out of the gates, and this time they were unable to make up for lost time as they struggled offensively in a 2-0 loss to the Spartans.

As has been the case for a large part of the season, the Wolverines struggled out of the gates on Tuesday. Despite what you see in the box score, the Spartans brought it to the Wolverines the first 20 minutes of play. Although the Wolverines were only outshot 15-14 in the period, the ice seemed to have a tilt towards the Wolverines end and net minder Noah Ruden.

"It was a game where we needed to play better defense. If we play well without the puck, we usually play better with the puck," said Michigan head coach Red Berenson after the game. "I can't tell you that we played well out of our zone. We had too many turnovers and we had too many penalties. And the penalties were costly."

On the Spartans first power play opportunity of the night, the home team jumped out to a 1-0 advantage. At 14:50, Colton Fretter put Michigan State on top while the Spartans skated with a five-on-three advantage. Fretter, netting his eighth goal of the season, beat Noah Ruden from inside the crease after the Wolverines goalie was unable to control the puck after a shot from the bottom of the right circle popped up into the air off the Michigan goalie.

"I saw the linesman called the one penalty," said Michigan captain Andrew Ebbett on the Spartans goal. "It's killed us lately taking penalties behind the play. Hunwick took that penalty and it put us down two men and then they scored the game winning goal."

Michigan State would continue to dominate the period, but Noah Ruden held strong in the net to keep the Wolverines within one at the intermission.

In the second period, it was continued sloppy play on special teams that cost the Wolverines as they fell behind 2-0. While on the penalty kill, Michigan State's Bryan Lerg split the Michigan defense and took a long pass from Jared Nightingal. Lerg coasted into the Michigan zone and crossed Ruden over to the backhand side before flipping the puck up into the open Michigan net.

After the shorthanded goal, the Spartans would give the Wolverines a second shot on the power play, but Michigan's woes with the extra skater continued as they were held off the board in there second period opportunities.

Neither team was able to light the scoring lamp in the third. Michigan State had an opportunity to build a three goal lead, but Noah Ruden made a pad save on a MSU breakaway to keep Michigan in the game. However, Michigan was never able to solve Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg and their frustration began to show.

With time winding down, Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson let his frustration get the best of him as he took a game disqualification for a hit in the final minute of play. As a result, the Wolverines start defenseman will be watching the Wolverines next game from in the stands.

Michigan returns to Ann Arbor for a Friday night tilt against the Bowling Green State University Falcons.

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