The Michigan State men’s hockey team will open the season Thursday night in a two game series versus Arizona State (0-2-0) at Munn Ice Arena.
While this is the first live game of the season for the Spartans, Arizona State has two games under their belt already.
Coming into last weekend, the Sun Devils entered the season ranked No. 15 in the USCHO poll. They now enter their meeting with MSU having dropped out of the rankings. Arizona State was systematically dismantled by a very good Michigan team, finding themselves outscored 11-1 in two not-so-competitive games.
Arizona State goaltender Evan DeBrouwer started against Michigan but was pulled after allowing six goals in 25 shots. Freshman goalie Cole Brady took over in the third period of the first game and allowed two more goals in an 8-1 defeat.
Brady got the nod to start the second game of the series. It also was a blowout, a 3-0 loss, but Brady racked up 44 saves to put the defeat in a semi-better fashion.
Michigan State head coach Danton Cole believes that what they will see on Thursday and Friday will be a much better Arizona State team than week one saw them to be.
“They are gonna be what they are gonna be, and that’s better than probably the results show this weekend and that’s kind of how we are preparing for it,” Cole said.
As for Michigan State, junior Drew DeRidder will be the starting goaltender Thursday night. He has made 21 career starts in his first two seasons with a 3.16 GAA and .905 save percentage.
“He’s worked hard. He’s looked really good,” Cole said.
Cole however would not commit to DeRidder being the long-term starting goalie. Perhaps depending on DeRidder’s performance Thursday, we could see another goalie start on Friday night.
“It can go either way and I don’t think you can make those long-term plans and decisions set in stone. I say it a lot players decide ice time and those two will,” Cole said.
Besides DeRidder, there are two other goaltenders on the roster, Pierce Charleson and Jon Mor, who are both freshmen. Cole specifically mentioned Charleson as the likely next man up should DeRidder sit out a game.
The Spartans and Sun Devils faced each other twice last season in East Lansing. Arizona State took the first game 4-3 and Michigan State took the second game 1-0 in overtime.
The puck will drop at 6 p.m. both Thursday and Friday. Thursday’s game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network.
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