Michigan State hockey is gearing up for its second home series of the 2023-2024 season this weekend.
In the third weekend of game play, the Spartans aim to take on the Golden Griffins of Canisius University. This weekend will be the first meeting between these two teams in program history.
After a series split at Air Force, where MSU lost following a near comeback in the third period of the first game, the team is looking to come home to Munn Ice Arena and keep up the momentum from game two last weekend.
“I think we had some critical mistakes that they really capitalized on,” sophomore forward Matt Basgall said. “They (Air Force) were a pretty talented team, so mistakes are going to end up in the back of your net sometimes. I think resetting after the first period helped.”
Sophomore forward Joey Larson was a huge contributor to MSU's success during the second game. Larson logged his first hat trick as a Spartan, and had a five point weekend to help the Spartans get back on track and give some high hopes for the upcoming games.
“Anytime you can do that (a hat trick) it just builds your confidence, and hopefully we can keep that moving forward,” Larson said.
With a growing team and a lot of young talent, MSU had to realize there are challenges that come with playing somewhere that isn’t home. Having learned that last weekend, the Spartans have to bring the solid gameplay they showed off against Lake Superior into the upcoming Canisius game.
“We have shown that we have a group of guys who can score,” head coach Adam Nightingale said. “You can’t rest on that though, and score your way back into games. That’s not a recipe for long term success.”
Every team not only has something to work on, but something to prove. Not having any exhibition games to show and build talent without counting is tough for teams, but that just makes the Spartans want to work even harder.
“Every team has to start the season with something to work on, and, without being able to play exhibition games, you have to work some of those out (in regular season play),” Nightingale said.
Canisius University started their season with an exhibition game against Niagara, where they took a dominating 5-2 win. However, as they moved into regular game play, the team was swept Oct. 13 and 14, with a score of 2-4 the first night and 1-4 the second night.
The Golden Griffins also rounded out their first night with a total of 27 penalty minutes, including a five minute major and a game misconduct. The second night, they kept the minutes to 12.
The Spartans take on Canisius on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. Both games will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
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