Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Preview: MSU hockey to set season in motion versus Bowling Green

October 6, 2022
<p>The Spartans celebrate after scoring a point at Munn Ice Arena on Oct. 1, 2022. The Spartans lost to the USNTDP 4-3.</p>

The Spartans celebrate after scoring a point at Munn Ice Arena on Oct. 1, 2022. The Spartans lost to the USNTDP 4-3.

Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

Michigan State returns to Munn Ice Arena Friday to officially activate the 2022-23 season.

The Spartans will host Bowling Green and then travel to BGSU on Saturday to complete the home-and-home series.

Michigan State left the arena with a 4-3 loss to US National Team Development Program on Saturday night, a result new Head Coach Adam Nightingale was pleased with despite the exhibition loss.

“I thought throughout the game we improved,” Nightingale said. “The first period we started off as I expected with our hair on fire a little bit running around. I thought we were really good even in the second. I know we gave up a few goals, but I thought we really controlled the play and in the third that was the best period of the game for this group and we’re looking forward to building on it this weekend.”

MSU struggled from the start, trailing by one up until halfway through the second period when freshman forward Karsen Dorwart scored from the left of the net off a beautiful cross-ice pass from freshman forward Daniel Russell.

USNTDP went on to put three goals on the board in just over four minutes, closing up the second period 4-1. 

But Michigan State rallied in the third, securing two more Spartan goals. Freshman forward Tiernan Shoudy turned heads when he put up the second goal for MSU, assisted by graduate forward Justin Jallen and senior forward Nicolas Müller.

Junior forward Jeremy Davidson added Michigan State's third goal via the power play, but MSU couldn't get the fourth goal to tie it up.

Graduate transfer Dylan St. Cyr got the start in net, surrendering four goals on 23 shots through the first two period. Junior Pierce Charleson cleaned up the rest of the game, pitching a four-save third period shutout.

With 12 new faces on the roster, Saturday’s exhibition game was the first time a majority of the team had played a game together on the ice.

“It’s pretty helpful that we’ve been here since July,” graduate student forward Miroslav Mucha said. “We’ve spent quite some time together and got to know each other pretty good. Obviously, it’s a different feel but we’ve grown together pretty quick, and it has a family feel right now.”

Looking to BGSU

The last time the Spartans faced Bowling Green was October 2017, coincidentally also former Head Coach Danton Cole’s first season with the Spartans. A lot has changed since then.

After coming off of the 2021-22 season (15-19-3) BGSU played its first series last weekend at Northern Michigan, returning home 1-1.

A few falcons to look out for are sophomore forward Austen Swankler and junior forward Ethan Scardina. Both contributed to BGSU's six goals on Saturday night, resulting in a 6-4 victory over NMU.

Scardina scored alongside Swankler who put up two of the three goals on Sunday after falling to the Wildcats (4-3) in overtime.

Senior goaltender Zack Rose spent the entirety of Saturday's game in net, making 24 saves. Sophomore Christian Stoever stepped in on Sunday totaling 27 saves.

Nightingale said he relies on tapes from previous practices and games to prepare for those down the line. He planned to review the tape from last Saturday’s exhibition with the team late in the week as a tool to gear up for BGSU.

“I think a game tape is very valuable,” Nightingale said. “I think it’s our job as coaches to filter some of it out from playing the first game, some mistakes are gonna happen. There were some trends there, and one area I want us to do a better job in is supporting the puck. That’s certainly something that showed up on tape and we’ve gotta work harder away from the puck so we can maintain possession eventually trying to get to the inside and score.”

After a standup performance by a handful of newcomers, Nightingale has high expectations for those who stepped up and got on the board heading into the weekend.

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“I thought they did a lot of really good things,” Nightingale said. “Tiernan in particular plays a really smart game, he’s competitive and I thought he was really good on both sides of the puck. Then Russell and Karsen, they really seem to have some chemistry. I know it’s early, but they have a lot of energy. I thought it was a beautiful setup by all three of them when Shoudy put it down the wall and Russell pulled up and ripped it over to Karsen. It’s pretty encouraging to see young guys doing that in the first game.”

The puck’s set to drop at 7 p.m. on Friday.

“We’ve just got to play to our standard, play through identity and work hard on the ice,” Mucha said. “If you don’t work hard out there, the skill won’t take care of everything. You go out there and earn your walk and your bounces. So, there's definitely a work ethic."

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