June 15, 2024

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 07: Sam LaPorta #87 of the Detroit Lions is on the field with an injury during the second quarter in the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on January 07, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – No 8/8 Michigan State got a 31-save shutout from freshman netminder Trey Augustine and a two-goal effort from sophomore Joey Larson as the Spartans downed No. 20/19 Penn State at Pegula Ice Arena on Friday.  The Spartans (14-4-3, 8-1-2 B1G) moved within two points of league-leading Wisconsin, who took over first place last weekend with a sweep of Notre Dame and entertains Lindenwood in Madison this weekend.   Augustine, fresh off his gold-medal performance at the World Junior Championships, continued his stretch of making 28 saves or more in every Big Ten game so far this season.  He recorded his second career shutout as well (the first came in his B1G debut at Ohio State.) The Spartans scored two goals in each of the first two periods – Tanner Kelly and Reed Lebster had the first-period markers, with Lebster’s coming shorthanded.  Freshman Gavin O’Connell and Larson had his first of the game in the second period, and Larson tacked on a late power play goal in the third for the final 5-0 margin.  Liam Souliere made 35 saves for Penn State (10-8-3, 2-6-3 B1G) in the home loss.  The Nittany Lions were 0-for-4 on the power play, while MSU went 1-for-5 with a man advantage and also had the special teams goal on the Lebster shorthanded tally.  MSU and Penn State face off for the fourth and final time in the regular season on Saturday at 4:30 pm in a game that will air live on the Big Ten Network.

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STATISTICS OF NOTE

  • Trey Augustine made 31 saves to earn the shutout in the Spartan net.  Both of his shutouts this season have come in road games; his first was the B1G opener at Ohio State (Nov. 3).
  • Augustine has made 28 or more saves in every Big Ten game this season.
  • Joey Larson extended his team lead with his 12th and 13th goals of the season (third, B1G), matching the 13 he scored in his freshman season at Northern Michigan.  With 24 points, he ranks third in the Big Ten and is three points shy of his freshman year point total.
  • Larson had his second consecutive two-goal game, as he also potted two in the GLI final against Michigan Tech.  He also scored his B1G-best sixth power-play goal of the season.
  • Tanner Kelly’s first-period goal was his fifth of the season – establishing a new single-season career best for the junior.
  • Reed Lebster’s shorthanded marker was his fourth goal of the season, and second SHG of the year.  Lebster is also tied for the league lead with two shorthanded goals.
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  • MSU has a Big Ten-best six shorthanded goals on the season – which ranks second among Division I teams.
  • Gavin O’Connell scored his first goal since Nov. 11 with his second-period goal.  His last two goals came in that Nov. 11 win over Penn State at Munn.  Tonight’s was his ninth goal of the season.
  • Tommi Männistö had an assist in his first game back from World Juniors.
  • Artyom Levshunov was a +2 with an assist, his 20th point of the season in his 21st collegiate game.  He now has 15 assists on the season – tied with Isaac Howard for the team lead and the second-highest total in the Big Ten.
  • Nash Nienhuis picked up his 10th assist of the season on the Tanner Kelly goal.  He now has three consecutive double-digit assist seasons, and has a 6-10-16 scoring line – three points shy of matching his career-best 19 points as a junior.
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First Period:  The energy in the game was palpable from the drop of the puck – the teams came out hitting hard, which led to a PSU power play before the game was a minute old.  The Spartans got on the board before the five-minute mark, when Tanner Kelly tipped a shot by Nash Nienhiuis; Nienhuis took the pass from Tommi Männistö.  Later in the period and skating on the penalty kill, Reed Lebster scored his fourth goal of the season when he streaked up the right side, faked the pass, and brought it back to beat Souliere glove-sdei inside the right post.  MSU held a 17-9 edge in shots on net.

Second Period:   O’Connell got back on the scoresheet for MSU with his ninth goal of the season early in the second period.   The puck was tied up behind the net to Souliere’s right, and it was freed right onto the stick of O’Connell.  He walked out into the left circle and wristed home the goal to push the Spartan advantage to 3-0.  At 13:48, Joey Larson made it a second goal of the period for that line, as he and Savage passed back and forth after a faceoff win, went into the offensive zone, and Savage put it on net from the right circle.  Larson put back the rebound off Souliere to make it a 4-0 game.  MSU had a slight 14-13 edge in shots on net in the period.

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Third Period:    The teams skated through 17 minutes of scoreless action in the third period until Larson potted his second of the game with 2:27 remaining in regulation.  He ripped a power play goal from the left circle off a nice pass from Nicolas Müller, who picked up his 13th assist of the season on the play.  Each goalie made nine saves in the final frame.

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