By @MichaelCaples –
ANN ARBOR – John Lethemon picked a good time to record his first NCAA victory for Michigan State.
The Spartans’ freshman goaltender played 59:51 worth of shutout hockey Saturday night in Ann Arbor, guiding his team to a 4-1 victory over rival Michigan.
Rhett Holland, Zach Osburn, Taro Hirose and Mason Appleton scored for MSU in the final regular-season showdown between the two in-state Big Ten schools.
Lethemon made 23 saves on the evening, stopping all but the last. Michigan’s Griffin Luce notched his first career goal when he sent a shot from the blue line towards the MSU goal and the puck was deflected into the goal.
It’s the first time since 1989-90 that Michigan State won both its games at Yost Ice Arena against UM; MSU accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons from 1988-90.
Photos by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey
After a scoreless first period, Holland opened the scoring for the Spartans in the second, as he sent a shot through traffic and past UM goaltender Jack LaFontaine.
LaFontaine was injured later in the middle frame, with Zach Nagelvoort coming in to replace him.
Osburn increased the MSU lead at the 16:28 mark of the second, creating a turnover at the UM blue line and then scoring an unassisted goal with a quick shot past Nagelvoort.
Photos by Michael Caples/MiHockey
Hirose scored with 50 seconds remaining in the period, giving his Spartans another momentum boost heading into the third. The freshman forward scored a shorthanded goal after causing a scramble for the puck and having a two-zone breakaway as a result.
Appleton added to the MSU lead less than a minute into the third period, firing a wrist shot from the slot that fooled Nagelvoort.
The Spartans finish the season series with the Wolverines with a 2-1-2 official record, with UM winning two shootouts.