Saturday, December 4, 2021

Hockey rivalry still exciting

November 6, 2000
MSU players congratulate their captain, Rustyn Dolyny (19), after he scored against Michigan on Saturday at Yost Ice Arena. The Spartans defeated U-M 1-0. —

ANN ARBOR - It’s big in football. It’s big in basketball. And it’s big in hockey.

The Michigan-MSU rivalry has perennially pitted two premier teams against each other, and Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena was no different.

The No. 6 Spartan hockey team stifled the top-ranked Wolverines’ potent offense and knocked off the No. 1 team in the nation 1-0 on its own ice.

“The Michigan game is always important,” MSU senior center Andrew Bogle said before the game. “It’s fun to play there when the crowd’s into it. It’s one of the few in-state rivalries with teams that are on this level.”

U-M leads the all-time series between the schools, 118-102-8. MSU’s first ever intercollegiate game, back in 1922, was against U-M, a 5-1 Wolverine win.

Not only was U-M the Spartans’ first opponent, they’ve been the most frequent competition for MSU the past 78 years. Saturday’s game was the 229th overall meeting between the teams.

Yost, the Wolverines’ home rink, has always been one of the loudest venues in the CCHA.

“I try to laugh because some of the stuff they say is so outrageous,” MSU sophomore goaltender Ryan Miller said. “If the people in the front row see you smiling, they know it’s not getting to you.

“To not hear the ‘It’s all your fault’ chant (after a Wolverine goal) is the best way to play.”

For MSU seniors like team captain Rustyn Dolyny, Saturday’s game marked the last time they would play at Yost in their careers.

“It would mean a lot to come out and win there,” the right wing said before the game. “I want to go out everywhere with a win, but it would be sweeter there.”

After Saturday’s win, the MSU seniors improved their mark to 8-3-2 overall against their archrivals and 2-2 in Ann Arbor in their careers. The group beat U-M all four times they played as freshmen.

The schools’ two longtime coaches have battled for in-state supremacy for the past 17 years. Ron Mason, in his 22nd year at MSU, holds a 38-28-5 edge over his adversary, U-M head coach Red Berenson, who’s in his 17th year at the school.

Michigan took the season series 2-1-1 from the Spartans last year, winning in East Lansing and Ann Arbor. MSU won once and tied once in two meetings at Joe Louis.

The next scheduled meeting is Jan. 27 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The Spartans won’t get a chance to host their rivals until the last game of the regular season, March 2 at Munn Ice Arena

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