Saturday, March 2, 2024

Preview: MSU hockey gears up to take on Notre Dame after a hard working bye week

December 7, 2023
<p>MSU sophomore forward Tanner Kelly looks to shoot through a tangle of bodies in front of the net at Compton Family Ice Arena in Notre Dame, IN on Friday, March 3, 2023. MSU recorded 36 unsuccessful shots as they fell 1-0 to Notre Dame.</p>

MSU sophomore forward Tanner Kelly looks to shoot through a tangle of bodies in front of the net at Compton Family Ice Arena in Notre Dame, IN on Friday, March 3, 2023. MSU recorded 36 unsuccessful shots as they fell 1-0 to Notre Dame.

Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

Coming off of a bye week, the Spartan hockey team is ready to head back onto the ice and take on Notre Dame before the holiday break and hopefully add another home sweep onto its record.

Despite not playing this week, the team moved up one spot in the USCHO polls to No. 7 but stayed the same in the USA Hockey polls at No. 7.

The Spartans played on the road Thanksgiving weekend against Minnesota where they split the series with a shootout win night one and a devastating overtime loss on night two after fighting hard through the series.

“We have had a really good couple weeks of practice here,” head coach Adam Nightingale said during a press conference. “We took advantage of trying to get ahead in school and also pushing the guys, so we’re looking forward to playing this weekend.”

While the team had the weekend off of games, they did no less than usual.

“I’d say it feels harder than having a game ,” sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart said about the bye week. “I think we’re ready to go, super excited for the game this weekend. We’re fired up. We obviously push ourselves quite a bit, and I think we got a lot better during this break and we’re gonna use it to our advantage this week.”

With a weekend on the road and a weekend off, the team went to work in practice, training hard and putting in maximum effort for the upcoming series back at home in front of the Munn crowd.

“I think we just went to work, hard drills, a lot of competing,” sophomore forward Isaac Howard said. “A lot of battle drills, I think that's what our coach wanted, just to get a good week's work and try to emulate a game.”

As a Big Ten opponent, the Fighting Irish have had a stellar start to their season as said by Nightingale, explaining that their team has been well coached and they’re good for a reason.

“They’re very consistent,” Nightingale said. “If you look at college hockey coaches, I mean Jeff’s right at the top. His staff does an unbelievable job, and they’re good every year. Their ability to create offense I think they do a really good job with that. There’s a reason he’s been in this game for a long time and his team’s always seem to be at the top, so it’ll be a really good test for us.”

Notre Dame is coming off of a home weekend against the Michigan Wolverines where they split with a night one 6-1 win and a night two 2-1 loss.

The team overall is 8-6-2 and they are 4-2-2 in the Big Ten conference. Both of their tie games came from Penn State where they won night one of the series in a shootout and lost night two in a shootout. 

The Fighting Irish swept Ohio State and split with Minnesota and Michigan. They are currently ranked No. 20 in the USCHO polls and ranked third in the Big Ten. 

The teams take off for the series on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans will most definitely looking to sweep for the home crowd and keep their lead in the Big Ten conference.

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