The time has come. The moment so many fans have been anticipating since last season’s ending: hockey season.
The Michigan State Hockey season has rolled in quickly and with that comes what is said to be an unforgettable season for the team.
As the first face-off is imminent, the Spartans are set to take on a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) rival and one of Head Coach Adam Nightingale’s alma maters—Lake Superior State University.
“I think regardless of who we are playing, we always want to make sure it is about us,” Nightingale said. “We have so many other things to worry about than who we are playing, and we obviously respect every one of our opponents. They’re (Lake Superior State) well coached and also will be a really good challenge for us."
In addition to Nightingale, there is excitement for the players and what this game will bring to the table.
There were several months of preparation leading up to the season. Those months brought a load of preparation for the team and has brought circulating excite around campus for the season.
“Obviously we are thrilled to get going. It’s been a good few months of practicing and working out so we’re prepared and really excited to get going,” senior defenseman and captain Nash Nienhuis said.
Along with Nienhuis, sophomore forward and alternate captain, Karsen Dorwart is ready to see the competitiveness during the team's practices be put into their gameplay on the ice.
“We’re a lot deeper than last year and a lot more competitive,” Dorwart said. “We have a lot of new skilled guys and that just makes it more fun for all of us. Things get a little more intense out there. I think we have shown in practice that we are a pretty physical team, so I’m sure to carry that over to the game.”
With it being the first game of their season, the matchup between MSU and LSSU is set to show the skill and talent level of the team, and the recruited freshman, as well as older guys proving themselves yet again.
“We’re trying to establish our identity as a team,” Nightingale said. “We got a lot of new guys and we’ve used the time we’re given by the NCAA to do that. I thought it’s been a good few weeks here, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
With 36 games upcoming for the Spartans, they have to begin somewhere.
“They’re (Lake Superior State University) going to play hard like any other team in college hockey,” Nienhuis said. “We like to focus on us. We will watch a little bit about what each team does, but we like to approach every game the same.”
The Laker's last season ended with a record of 9-25-2, landing them in eighth place in the CCHA and they are looking to make improvements as their new season begins.
While LSSU took away a few key wins, specifically against the Michigan Tech Huskies, where the team came back from a 2-0 deficit, to defeat the Huskies in overtime 3-2, the team is hunting for a better record, yet of course, like every other hockey team, a spot and an opportunity to play in the postseason in March.
The puck drops for the Spartans on Saturday beginning their two-game series on Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. MSU will play its game on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. as well. The Spartans are looking at a sold-out crowd for both nights and are excited to see what this season produces for them.