Spartans seek series victory against struggling Ferris State
The MSU hockey team will face off against another in-state rival, Ferris State University, this weekend in a home-and-home series. It marks the third time this season the Spartans will face another team in Michigan, after matching up against Lake Superior State University and Michigan Tech University.
Game one of the series will be played at 7:05 p.m. Nov. 10 at Munn Ice Arena. The match will include some festivities, as the team will be honoring the 1966 National Championship team. Eighteen players will be in attendance from the team and partake in a number of festivities during the weekend, head coach Tom Anastos said.
MSU will also be wearing special throwback jerseys from the team to commemorate them. The sweaters will be worn during Thursday night’s home game. Along with the jerseys, the national champions will be honored at the football game on Saturday against Rutgers University.
Looking forward to its opponent, the team will be facing a Ferris State team that started the season with a 2-8-1 record. Anastos said this series has always meant a little bit more because of its intensity.
“We’re going to play a Ferris State team that always plays Michigan State really tough, back forever,” Anastos said. “Back when I played, it was one of the go-to games on the schedule. We know they’ll be ready to play and eager to play.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Anastos said the Bulldogs have always looked at this series as a rivalry game, dating back to even his playing days.
“Their mindset, dating back to when I played here, they have the real mindset that this was a rivalry game for them,” Anastos said. “It was the big school, small school thing. … They’ve always approached this game back in the OCCHA days as a big series. They play hard.”
While freshman forward Patrick Khodorenko has not played against the Bulldogs yet, he said he knows what kind of game the in-state rival will bring. On his mind also will be to have a stronger showing at home after their loss to the Huskies, Khodorenko said.
“It’s huge for them, it’s a big rivalry for them,” Khodorenko said. “I think we just have to come out going hard. We had a tough loss against Michigan Tech at home and I think we’ll redeem ourselves with our first home game here (against Ferris State). Hopefully we have a good game against them in their home.”
The Spartans have also struggled early in the season, after dropping its first four games en route to a 2-5-0 record. As a result, freshman forward Taro Hirose said continuing the regular season and playing a team like Ferris State will be beneficial for them.
“It’s going to be a big game for them,” Hirose said. “For us, it’s going to be a big game for us, too. We have to be prepared for them to come with everything they have. It’s a big step, we have to keep progressing as a team and I think it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
After the first home game Thursday evening for MSU, the team will travel to Big Rapids, Mich. for game two of the series. That match is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Ewigleben Ice Arena to wrap up the home-and-home series.