Now in the final week of the regular season, Michigan State hockey holds the same USCHO ranking as it did when it first entered the poll Nov. 14 – at No. 17.
Michigan State drops to No. 17 in USCHO poll after gaining one point versus Michigan
Over the weekend, MSU walked away from a gritty, intense series with archrival Michigan with only one point in Big Ten standings. But it was a point the team desperately needed, managing to stay in fourth place in the conference and tied at 31 points with Ohio State and Notre Dame.
The Spartans first fell to Michigan 4-2 at their home rink on Friday, despite battling back within one goal in the final period. Both teams met the next night for a rematch in the Duel in the D at Little Caesars Arena. After clawing to tie the game with five minutes left in regulation, Michigan State was less than a second away from adding another tie to its record.
That was until Michigan sophomore defenseman Luke Hughes fired the game-winning shot past graduate student goaltender Dylan St. Cyr with 0.6 left on the clock in overtime, sending the Spartans back to East Lansing with a gut-wrenching defeat.
Although MSU is still in fourth in the Big Ten after its series with the Wolverines, it no longer controls its own destiny for hosting its first ever conference tournament game. The Spartans and their fans will have to hope for losses from Ohio State, Notre Dame and Penn State.
MSU also stayed at No. 14 in the PairWise rankings, which play a key role in determining the 16-team NCAA tournament.
As for the rest of the Big Ten, Minnesota dropped one spot to No. 2 after splitting wins with Wisconsin. Michigan rose one slot to No. 4 after sweeping the Spartans. Penn State moved up one spot to No. 7 after an idle weekend. Ohio State tumbled to No. 10 after a loss and tie to Notre Dame, who re-entered the poll this week at No. 19.
Here's how the rest of the top twenty played out:
Michigan State has one last item to check off its regular season to-do list, as the Spartans travel to Madison to take on Wisconsin. It might not be an easy feat either as the Badgers defeated the Golden Gophers 3-1 last Saturday. Puck drop is set for Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.
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