Michigan hockey rolls over Michigan State, 7-2, with seven goals from NHL first-rounders

Friday night’s matchup between Michigan hockey and Michigan State at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor wasn’t quite like an NHL team taking on its little brother — but the No. 3 Wolverines made the most of their high-level talent, with 10 points (including four goals) from their quartet of players taken in the top five in this year’s draft, for a 7-2 victory.

Matty Beniers, who went No. 2 overall to the Seattle Kraken in July, opened the scoring with two goals in the first period, assisted on both by Owen Power, the No. 1 overall pick (Buffalo Sabres), and Kent Johnson, the No. 5 overall pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Matty Beniers carries the puck in a game against Michigan State on Jan. 8, 2021.
Matty Beniers carries the puck in a game against Michigan State on Jan. 8, 2021.

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Cole Krygier got the Spartans back within one with a goal with 16 seconds remaining in the first, but the Wolverines came back with a third goal with 6:30 left in the second period, by Brendan Brisson, selected at No. 29 overall in 2020 by the Vegas Golden Knights. Then the Wolverines’ 2021 draft crew kicked in again, as freshman Luke Hughes, the 2021 No. 4 overall pick by the New Jersey Devils, scored about two minutes later.

MSU made it a two-goal game again when Mitchell Mattson scored a couple minutes into the third. Mattson also assisted on Krygier’s goal in the second. Thomas Bordeleau and Jacob Truscott each had a pair of assists for the Wolverines. Hughes added another point with an assist on Mackie Samoskevich’s power play goal in the third period, then scored his second goal of the night with about nine minutes left in the period. (Samoskevich was selected No. 24 overall in 2021, by the Florida Panthers.) Johnny Beecher, who was drafted No. 30 overall by the Boston Bruins in 2019, added a goal to go with an earlier assists with less than two minutes remaining to end the scoring for Michigan. Johnson assisted on Beecher’s goal.

It was a dose of revenge for the Wolverines, who lost 3-2 in the schools’ previous meeting, on Jan. 9 in East Lansing. Two other games, in February and March, were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The two teams meet again Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

Eric Portillo continued to build on the success he had last season as a freshman; the Swede goalie stopped 24 of the Spartans’ 26 shots. Michigan State goalie Pierce Charleson wasn’t as sharp, with just 22 saves on 29 shots faced.

This story was updated to reflect Brendan Brisson and Mackie Samoskevich's draft status.

Contact Ryan Ford at Follow him on Twitter @theford.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan hockey rolls over MSU 7-2, with 7 goals from NHL 1st-rounders