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Icers start with Oct. 6 game

August 24, 2005
Then-senior center Ash Goldie chases down the puck in front of Miami (Ohio) goaltender Brandon Crawford-West on March 12 during the first round of the CCHA Playoffs at Munn Ice Arena. MSU swept the series 2-0 with a 2-1 win on March 11 and a 5-4 overtime victory on March 12 to advance to the CCHA Super Six Championship.

The 2005-06 MSU men's hockey schedule was released July 11, with the Spartans kicking off their season on Oct. 6 with the Green and White Game.

"Once again, the schedule has good balance this season," head coach Rick Comley said in a written statement. "We have a good mix of home and away events. It is important for the team to be on the road in the first half of the year."

In fact, the Spartans first five games of the season are on the road, with two exhibition games mixed in between. MSU will play Wayne State and North Dakota in the Lefty McFadden Invitational in Dayton, Ohio and then play an exhibition game against Western Ontario at home on Oct. 14, before going to Ann Arbor to play Michigan.

"I like (opening on the road)," senior defenseman and assistant captain Jared Nightingale said. "We have a lot to prove, and guys would like to (start) next weekend, and even though we don't play at home the first couple weeks, I don't think that will affect us."

The Spartans home opener is Nov. 4 against Northern Michigan, Comley's former team.

In the past, ever since the current MSU players can remember, the Spartans have been picked in the top two of the conference. This season, the players don't expect to be any higher than fourth, behind the Wildcats, Wolverines and Ohio State.

"Everyone has been coming here expecting to be at that level, one or two in the league," senior forward Colton Fretter said. "Hopefully, we realize that we have to turn things around and get back to that in seasons to come."

One change is the implementation of midweek games or games on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year. The Spartans have six midweek games on the schedule with four those coming on the road.

This year also marks a change in the CCHA playoff format. Last season, the No. 1-No. 6 seeds would host the No. 7-No. 12 seeds in three-game series, with the winners advancing to play at Joe Louis Arena at the Super Six in Detroit.

The highest remaining seeds were then re-seeded 1-6, and the two top teams got byes, with the other four teams playing to get to the semifinals and the winners of those games playing for the championship.

In the upcoming season, the No. 5-No. 8 seeds will host the No. 9-No. 12 seeds in the first round of the playoffs. The winners of those three game series will face the No. 1-No. 4 seeds, who will receive first-round byes.

The four winners of the second round series will then travel to Detroit to play for the CCHA Championship.

"You want to be in the top four always, and this makes it more definite because that bye is going to be big," junior forward and captain Drew Miller said. "At the end of the season, guys are beat up and tired; to have that bye will give a team more rest time."


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