Michigan State hockey's dream season comes to a crashing end

Duel In The D - Michigan State v Michigan
Duel In The D - Michigan State v Michigan / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

It doesn't get much better than Michigan vs. Michigan State hockey. It's exciting whenever the two sides battle it out in any sport, but it's even more thrilling when a trip to the national semifinals is on the line. That is exactly what happened Sunday night, as the Spartan hockey team took on the Wolverines for the sixth time this season with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.

Michigan State got off to a fast start against the Wolverines as freshman Gavin O'Connell got the Spartans on the board six minutes into the game. The officials reviewed the goal for a possible high stick, but the play stood on what was an extremely close call.

The Spartans continued to play well and took their one goal lead into the first intermission.

The second period was all Michigan, thanks in large part to a lot of penalties committed by the Spartans. Michigan was rewarded with an early goal themseleves, and the 1-1 score remained into the second intermission.

The third and final period is when the fireworks in this game went off. Michigan took a 2-1 lead roughly seven minutes into the period, but the Spartans responded in a hurry. Joey Larson capitalized on the Spartan power play to tie the game 2-2 halfway through the final period! The Spartan's jubilation however did not last long.

Michigan scored not one, but two goals in a 12-second span to take a commanding two goal lead late in the game. The Spartans kept the pressure up, and even pulled their goalie with four minutes left in the game, but MSU took a bad penalty with two and a half minutes to play which ended any chance at a comeback. Michigan scored a quick power play goal and won the game 5-2 and punched their ticket to the Frozen Four.

It would be extremely easy for Michigan State to hang their heads after this loss, and don't get me wrong, I'm upset, too. But the Spartans still had one of their best seasons in recent history. Michigan State won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championship this season, with both titles being the first since the Big Ten formed a hockey conference. MSU also won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2008 which is no small feat as well. The Spartans even went 4-2 against Michigan, which doesn't seem important now but is still noteworthy nonetheless.

So even though the season may not have ended how we all hoped, there is still a lot to look forward to. Hope has been restored in the program and all of Spartan nation once again is excited about hockey. I know we are all looking forward to next season now, and I would not be surprised to see the Spartans bak in the same position again next year.