Spartans Come Back to Top Minnesota, 4-2


MINNEAPOLIS -- The Michigan State hockey team scored four unanswered goals to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeat Minnesota, 4-2, on Saturday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Taro Hirose scored and had two assists, including setting up both the tying and game-winning goals. Freshman goaltender Drew DeRidder made 28 saves to notch his first collegiate win.

Trailing 2-0 late in the second period, Hirose got the Spartans (5-7, 1-3 B1G) on the board with 1:57 to play. Patrick Khodorenko came out of the right corner with the puck and threw it toward the front of the net where Hirose corralled it and quickly slipped it under the pads of goaltender Eric Schierhorn.

Just 1:11 later, Hirose returned the favor, setting up Khodorenko for the tying goal. Hirose brought the puck into the Minnesota zone off the right boards and made his way toward the center, then dished it to Khodorenko back on the right side. Khodorenko immediately snapped the puck under the crossbar to make it 2-2.

The goal was Khodorenko's team-leading ninth of the season and pushed his scoring streak to four games.

"I felt good when we got the first one and that it could give us some momentum heading into the locker room," MSU head coach Danton Cole said. "Their line drives a lot on our team, obviously."

With the momentum on the Spartans' side, Cole's message was simple for the Spartans going into the final period.

"We weren't very good last night and we've been battling for a while here, but I told them 'let's go out and be excited and earn a win tonight,'" he said.

The eventual game-winning goal came at the 7:24 mark of the third, and again, was set up by Hirose. After being denied on a chance in front, Hirose regained control of the puck behind the net and sent it into the low slot where Brody Stevens one-timed it into the far corner of the net.

Exactly two minutes later, Tommy Apap scored his first the season – with assists from linemates Brennan Sanfordand Stevens – to make it 4-2. Apap followed up a shot by Sanford and didn't miss a nearly open net with the rebound.

DeRidder was solid down the stretch for the Spartans, making 16 saves in the final period.

"He was outstanding," Cole said. "He made some timely saves. He was really square and under control on his edges and he got some good whistles for us when we needed them."

Both of the Minnesota (4-6-1, 2-2 B1G) goals came off the stick of Tyler Sheehy and both came on the power play.

After a scoreless opening period in which the Spartans outshot the Gophers 7-3, Sheehy made it 1-0 just past the midway point of the middle period by putting home a rebound off a shot from the point.

Just over two minutes later, Sheehy got open for a brief second in the right circle but it was enough to wrist the puck through a crowd to make it 2-0 Minnesota.

MSU went 0-for-4 on the power play, while Minnesota was 2-for-4.

Michigan State will take on Michigan next weekend in a home-and-home series beginning on Friday at Munn Ice Arena.

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