OXFORD, Ohio Michigan State’s hockey team is one win away from a shocking trip to Detroit.
Matt DeBlouw and Matt Berry scored first period goals, Jake Hildebrand stopped 34 shots, and the 11th-seeded Spartans stunned No. 1 seed Miami (Ohio) 3-0 on Friday night in Game 1 of the second round of the CCHA Playoffs.
MSU (14-23-3) will go for the surprising sweep of the third-ranked RedHawks (22-10-5) at 7 p.m. today. The Spartans haven’t advanced to the CCHA semifinals in Detroit since 2007.
“It’s hard to feel too satisfied,” MSU coach Tom Anastos told the Spartan Radio Network. “I’m happy with it, but we know we have a big battle ahead of us.”
The Spartans, who finished in last place during the CCHA regular season, have won seven of their last 11 games. They won consecutive games for just the second time this season after upsetting No. 6 seed Alaska in three games to advance out of the first round.
Freshman goalie Hildebrand posted his second shutout, both coming in winning his last three starts.
“Jake was outstanding,” Anastos said. “He stood tall when we needed him, and that’s what you need out of your goaltending.”
Freshman DeBlouw put the Spartans ahead 8:04 into the game when he beat Miami goalie Ryan McKay, on a pass from the left side across the crease from junior Greg Wolfe. Defenseman Nickolas Gatt also added an assist, his first point of the season.
It was DeBlouw’s eighth goal of the season and second of the playoffs.
The Spartans made it a two-goal lead when sophomore Berry again beat McKay at the right post off a pass from freshman defenseman John Draeger at the point. Sophomore Tanner Sorenson added an assist.
Berry now has a point in each of MSU’s first four postseason games, two goals and three assists. It was his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Miami pulled McKay with about two minutes left in the third period for an extra skater, but MSU senior Kevin Walrod sealed it on an empty-net goal with 56.7 seconds to play.
“That’s a good team, and they compete about as hard as any team we’ve seen all season,” Anastos said. “I thought our compete level was good. We did maintain our poise all game, and I thought stayed with our game plan real well from start to finish.”