DETROIT, Mich. (WLNS) – A sold-out Little Ceasars Arena was treated to a slice of history on Saturday as No. 9 Michigan State’s Hockey team completed the sweep over rival No. 11 Michigan and won the ‘Duel in the D’ for the first time since 2016. Michigan State improves to 20-7-3 and 13-4-2 in Big Ten play, eclipsing a 20-win season for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Tanner Kelly opened the scoring for the Spartans in the first period after he pounced on a loose puck in the slot. In the second period, Michigan’s Dylan Duke would bury a rebound to make it a 1-1 game. Tiernan Shoudy and Karsen Dorwart would both add goals in the second for MSU to help the Spartans lead 3-1 going into the final frame. The Wolverine’s top line would turn up the heat late in the game with their top line. Gavin Brindley would make this a one-goal game. But like he has been all season, MSU Freshman netminder Trey Augustine was a brick wall, collecting 36 saves on the evening.
It’s been a roller coaster this year for Kelly in this rivalry. After letting his emotions get the best of him in the first game of the season series, he was benched for the second Michigan game and the following series against Minnesota.
“Tanner is a critical piece of our team, but I also made a promise to these guys that we’re going to hold you to a standard,” Adam Nightingale said. “That doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in forgiveness, but there are consequences for your actions. Tanner was out for a couple of games, and he did nothing but work. For me winning that was it was special, and it was special to see Tanner respond the right way when you’re held accountable and then get rewarded. That’s a pretty special moment for me as a coach.”
“It definitely helps the confidence seeing the puck go in the back of the net,” Tanner Kelly said. ” But I think all around tonight it was just a really good team effort. I mean my linemates, they’ve been unbelievable for me, Tommi [Männistö] and [Tiernan] Shoudy. They make the playing the game really easy for me.”
With the win on Saturday, MSU officially has secured home ice for at least some part in the Big Ten tournament.