MSU hockey beat Wisconsin 5-2 to win the program's first Big Ten title

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MADISON, Wis. — Behind Red Liebster's third-period tying goal and a 44-save performance by freshman Trey Augustine, Michigan State slid away with a 5-2 win over Wisconsin on Friday night to win the program's first Big Ten title. The title of the first conference in 23 years.

“I'm proud of our guys, and with this group, we played some really good teams,” MSU coach Adam Nightingale said. “When you talk about a regular season championship, we want to keep playing hockey, but the body of work with not having a night off in our conference, this is something they will have for the rest of their lives.”

After Liebster's goal made it 3-2 MSU with 7:10 remaining, senior forward Jeremy Davidson and sophomore forward Tiernan Shodi added empty-net goals to seal the win.

When the final horn sounded, the MSU bench quickly attacked Augustin behind the net he had been protecting all night. Augustine's save on a breakaway chance by the Badgers with 11 minutes to play kept the game in a stalemate before MSU took the lead four minutes later.

“That urgency and that mentality that we just needed to win one game and one period, it was 20 minutes and we were able to do it,” Davidson said. “We have achieved some huge accomplishments, but we still have a long season ahead of us and a lot of things we can do.”

MSU has officially locked up the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will bid a bye next week as it awaits its semifinal opponent at Munn Ice Arena.

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MSU plays Wisconsin again Saturday night with puck drop at 9 p.m. (ET).

Here's everything that happened, from our live updates:

19:13 – Freshman defenseman Daniel Latch fired a shot from the point through traffic past MSU goaltender Trey Augustine to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game.

14:32 – MSU settled down through the first five minutes after giving up an early goal, and as freshman defenseman Artyom Levshunov gained possession of the zone, he fired a shot that went past the glove of Wisconsin goaltender Kyle McClellan.

It's an uncharacteristic error from McClellan, who boasts a .932 save percentage and a 1.90 goals-against average.

11:11 – Wisconsin defenseman Anthony Kerr takes a fumble with MSU forward Tommy Manisto, leading to the first power play of the game.

With six seconds remaining on the power play, MSU forward Joey Larson fouls out and the Badgers win the power play as well.

13:11 – Both teams failed to capitalize on the power play as MSU defender Maxim Strbak and Wisconsin forward Simon Tassie exchanged some drives in front of the MSU net.

Wisconsin outscored the Spartans 12-4 in the first period.

1:49 – At center ice, two Wisconsin players collide, leading to graduate senior Reed Liebster picking up the loose puck, leading to a 2-on-1 break for the Spartans.

Lipster sent it to senior forward Jeremy Davidson, who slotted the ball one-time past McClellan to give MSU a 2-1 lead late in the first period.

19:20 – Sophomore forward Tiernan Schody screened Wisconsin forward Charlie Stramel in the Badgers' offensive zone, leading to a power play opportunity that could continue until the start of the second period.

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Augustine, after giving up a goal on the first shot of the game, kept MSU in it, making 18 saves, including big chances during Wisconsin's power play opportunities.

“We were chasing a little bit in that first period,” Augustine said. “For us to get out of there, there's not much we can ask for, and I was just doing my job out there to give the boys some confidence.”

MSU took advantage twice of Wisconsin turnovers in the first period while putting seven shots on net.

Entering the second period, MSU has 1:21 to kill on a Shoudy cross-check penalty.

MSU Goals: Levshunov (9) from Larsson (16); Shodi (9) at 5:28. Davidson (9) from Leibster (11) at 18:11.

3:10 – MSU and Wisconsin are back on the ice for the middle frame, and the Spartans are able to run out the remaining time in the Schody High School Tournament to get back to full strength.

MSU forward Isaac had a great chance moments later, but his shot went wide.

10:29 – Strbak hits a slam dunk on Wisconsin forward Mathieu de Sainte Vallée along the boards in the neutral zone.

After a lengthy review, Strbak was assessed a significant boarding penalty with no game misconduct. Wisconsin would go to a full five-minute play.

12:33 – Saint Vale, who took the brunt of Strbak's big penalty kick, get some revenge, turning a point from defender Ben Dexheimer past Augustin to tie the game at 2-2.

MSU would have just under three minutes left to kill on Strbak's main penalty for boarding.

15:57 – Strback's penalty is complete, and Saint Vale's equalizer is the only damage. Augustine makes four saves during the man advantage, and the Spartans get back to full strength

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MSU and Wisconsin would head into the final 20 minutes tied 2-2 on a St. Louis power-play goal. Phalle.

MSU is outgained by the Badgers 34-14 through two periods while being outscored in the faceoff circle 33-18.

2:27 – MSU and Wisconsin are back on the ice, both looking to break the deadlock in the final frame. MSU freshman forward Gavin O'Connell nearly made it happen on a 2-on-1 rush, but McClellan made the save.

5:25 – Wisconsin's Sawyer Scholl heads to the penalty box to hit MSU's Tanner Kelly after the whistle. The Spartans go to the man advantage looking to take the lead.

8:07 – MSU fires a few shots at McClellan, but its more dangerous chances are blocked as the Badgers manage to kill the young Scholl.

But Kehrer commits a slam dunk just seconds later and MSU gets back on the power play. Augustin makes a big save on Tassy midway through the power play to keep it level.

12:50 – Leapster jumped on a loose puck and gained the offensive zone, smashing home a shot before putting a shot between McClellan's legs, putting MSU just over seven minutes away from the Big Ten regular season title.

18:00 – MSU is two minutes away from beating Wisconsin in regulation. Augustine made 44 saves, Wisconsin pulled McClellan for an extra attacker and used a timeout.

Davidson scored an empty-net goal with less than two minutes left, his second goal of the night, and Shodi added a goal with 30 seconds to play to ice the game for the Spartans.

Contact Nathaniel Bott at [email protected] and follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @Nathaniel_Bott

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