Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Preview: MSU hockey looks for first Big Ten win in series versus Wisconsin

November 4, 2022
Freshman defender Aiden Gallacher (2) faces off against a Wisconsin player in the second period. The Badgers shut out the Spartans 4-0 at Munn Ice Arena on Mar. 5, 2021.
Freshman defender Aiden Gallacher (2) faces off against a Wisconsin player in the second period. The Badgers shut out the Spartans 4-0 at Munn Ice Arena on Mar. 5, 2021. —
Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Michigan State hockey returns to Munn Ice Arena this weekend for the first home conference series versus Wisconsin (2-6-0), following a 5-0 loss and 1-1 tie to Notre Dame. 

MSU struggled against the Fighting Irish Friday night, failing to put any points on the board. The closest shot at a goal came from freshman forward Karsen Dorwart, but the puck hit the post and ultimately missed the net.

Despite the loss, graduate transfer goaltender Dylan St. Cyr made a season-high 28 saves before topping it with 39 Saturday night against his former team.

“Looking back and watching the game … a lot of good teaching moments for our team as we continue to grow,” Nightingale said. “We need to do a better job defending away from the puck.”

The Spartans showed improvement in Saturday’s game, tying Notre Dame 1-1, thanks to a first period goal from senior forward Jagger Joshua, his fourth goal in three games. The game ended in a shootout and MSU walked away with the extra conference point.

“If this past weekend showed us anything, it’s that our team can battle through adversity and we answered back,” Joshua said. “It’s good to see all the guys not get too down about the first night and have some will the second night.”

Scouting the opponent

The Badgers have had a less than ideal start to the season as they’re 0-4 in the conference and last in Big Ten standings. Wisconsin has suffered losses to teams all inside the top 13: No. 9 Ohio State, No. 4 St. Cloud State and most recently, No. 13 Penn State.

Junior forward Mathieu De St. Phalle and sophomore defenseman Corson Ceulemans lead Wisconsin in points with five each, four assists and one goal respectively. De St. Phalle also lead in shots with 22. 

Wisconsin is currently 15-224 in goal-shot attempts with a .067 shot percentage. At the same time, MSU is 21-298 with a short percentage of .070.

Regarding power plays, Wisconsin is 3-26 with a .115 conversion rate, while MSU is 6-34 and .176.

“(Wisconsin is) a really good team, and I know the record, you can look at that, but they just went to Minnesota Duluth and swept them a couple of weeks ago,” Nightingale said. “Really proud program here so it'll be some good games.”

Wisconsin leads the all-time series with Michigan State 62-61-4, with the first game between the schools dating back to 1964.

MSU swept Wisconsin at home last November winning 3-2 and 5-2. In return, the Badgers swept the Spartans later that season in Madison, 5-2 and 3-2.

“They're going to be a good team, they’re always going to compete,” sophomore forward Jesse Tucker said. “Home ice advantage is a big thing, we gotta take what we can get here. Our fans are good, they treat us well, they’re loud, they create energy for us, which is huge. We just got to kind of build off of that.”

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. on Friday and 6 p.m. on Saturday with both games streaming on BTN+.

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