Sunday, December 4, 2022

Preview: Michigan State prepares for Minnesota

January 19, 2019
Ohio State left wing Ryan O'Connel (24) falls over junior center Patrick Khodorenko (55) during the game against Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. The Spartans fell to the Buckeyes, 6-0.
Ohio State left wing Ryan O'Connel (24) falls over junior center Patrick Khodorenko (55) during the game against Ohio State University at Munn Ice Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. The Spartans fell to the Buckeyes, 6-0. —
Photo by Anntaninna Biondo | The State News

Who: Michigan State vs. Minnesota

When: 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19

Where:  Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI

TV/Streams: Big Ten Network

Radio: Spartan Sports Network

Michigan State (7-12-3, 3-7-2 Big Ten) looks to gain ground in the conference standings as a hot Minnesota squad (9-8-4, 6-3-3 Big Ten) comes to East Lansing for a two-game set beginning Saturday. 

Currently riding a three-game winning streak, the Gophers trail only Ohio State in the Big Ten standings. Their 21 conference points is eight better than MSU’s 13.  

Coach Danton Cole anticipates a Big Ten hockey matchup, as he discussed MSU’s preparation coming into the weekend.

“It's like every weekend in the Big 10," Cole said. "We can say the same five or six things about them. They have a lot of talent up front, they have good defense, their goalie's good, and they transition really fast. So, prep wise, it's kind of the same every week but, they'll bring some kind of confidence in here and it'll be a good test for us.”

The series will likely be very low-scoring, as Minnesota’s 2.86 goals per game ranks 6th in the conference, while MSU’s 2.82 average among Big Ten teams. Goals will be especially hard to come by for the Spartans, as the Golden Gophers allow only 2.48 goals per game, which is third-best in the Big Ten.

Goaltending

Freshman goaltender Drew DeRidder got the start at the front-end of the road trip to Penn State, allowing four goals in the loss. His junior counterpart John Lethemon also allowed four goals in the second game but was able to salvage the victory. 

Minnesota goaltender Mat Robson is allowing only 2.48 goals per contest, posing a challenge for a streaky Spartans’ offense.

Saturday Prediction

Scoring will be hard-fought on both sides of the ice, but Minnesota’s slight edge in goaltending and offensive production will be enough to outlast the Spartans.

Final Score

Minnesota 2, Michigan State 1

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