SALT LAKE CITY – With lightning crackling through the sky not too far away, Michigan State struck for a 6-1 third quarter to open up a close game and give the Spartans a 12-7 victory over Brigham Young in the second Division I semifinal of the 2018 MCLA National Championships powered by Under Armour.
With the victory, Michigan State (17-1) will make its first-ever appearance in the national championship game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Chapman.
The Spartans brought a narrow, 4-3 lead into the half, but thanks to the play of Hunter Stephans, State’s FOGO, third-seeded Michigan State pulled away from the Cougars (16-4).
Stephans won the first six faceoffs to open the third quarter – and 16-of-23 overall – to give the Spartans a lopsided edge in possession time.
Trailing 10-4 heading into the final 15 minutes, BYU managed to trim the lead to 11-7 midway through the period, but the Spartans defense, led by goalie Kevin Boland (seven saves), closed the door.
Bennett Osterink was the Spartans big gun with three goals and two assists while Brett Braun chipped in with three goals and an assist. Stephans led all players with 11 ground balls.
Chandler Wescott and Chris Severson each deposited hat tricks for Brigham Young while Dalon Hampshire made 15 saves in the Cougars’ cage.