A winning streak will typically provide a team with some momentum, and against Michigan State, the Arizona Icecats found it Friday night. For nearly four minutes.
Thereafter, the Spartans dominated the opening game of the weekend series, skating to a 5-1 victory and snapping the Icecats' three-game winning streak.
"We didn't come out skating," said Arizona coach Leo Golembiewski. "We weren't sharp for the first 20 minutes of the game and didn't assert ourselves. You can't have that happen."
Arizona outshot the Spartans 56–48 but unlike last weekend's two victories over Saint Louis, in which Arizona scored 18 goals, the Icecats could not find the net. A big reason, had to do with the team's lack of production on the power play.
Throughout the third period, Arizona came up empty on multiple 5-on-3 power-play scenarios, something forward Jordan Schupan said was inexcusable.
"They were definitely a quick team, and they were all over the ice," he said. "But in the third period we had a couple of 5-on-3s and didn't score."
Michigan State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Already trailing 1-0, 3:43 into the game, Arizona goaltender Nick Boddy helped the Spartan cause by trying to chase down a loose puck behind the net. However, the puck bounced off the board behind the goal right to Michigan State's Ryan Hernandez, who scored an empty-net goal with an easy slap shot.
Golembiewski said he liked the effort he saw from Boddy.
"They got that goal where the puck bounced off the board and went directly to their guy, but I thought Boddy was as sharp as ever," Golembiewski said. "Bottom line though was the power play."
Arizona's Brandon Robinson scored a goal with six seconds left in the first period. Michigan State, meanwhile, added another goal less than two minutes into the second period.
According to Schupan, Arizona lacked the intensity it needs to play with a team like Michigan State.
"We definitely need more intensity," he said. "But we came back after losing 5-1 against Arizona State, and (tonight) is a whole new day."
According to Golembiewski, Arizona was without the services of junior forward Cody Morin and freshman defenseman Nick Bach because of academics, and Matt Conover out with an injury.
• What: Michigan State at Arizona
• When: 7:30 p.m.