Saturday, June 22, 2024

MSU hockey prepares for second rivalry series against Michigan Wolverines

February 8, 2024
<p>Michigan State defenseman No. 2 Patrick Geary prepares for a faceoff at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Michigan on Jan. 26, 2024. Michigan State secured a huge win to take a commanding lead of first in the Big Ten.</p>

Michigan State defenseman No. 2 Patrick Geary prepares for a faceoff at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Michigan on Jan. 26, 2024. Michigan State secured a huge win to take a commanding lead of first in the Big Ten.

The eager wait is over and the rivalry weekend is back. 

After just a few weeks since the last series between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines on the ice at Munn Ice Arena and Yost Ice Arena, the in-state rivalry is set for round two as the Spartans travel back to Ann Arbor as well as head to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit for the annual Duel in the D.

After the split weekend the Spartans had in South Bend, Ind. against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with a 4-1 loss on Friday and a 4-0 shutout win from freshman netminder Trey Augustine, the Spartans are coming into this series with the mindset to be positive and control their emotions.

“I think Friday obviously wasn’t our best game, and we had a really good response on Saturday,” sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart said. “So it’s something to be positive about. I think we look at the last time we played (Michigan), and like I said about last weekend, Friday wasn’t good, I think we were almost a little too amped up and I think we had a better response Saturday, just controlling our emotions a lot better, and everyone is super excited for this weekend.”

Michigan State is now looking for both a bounce back and a dominating series win against its rivals to fight back for the split just a few weeks ago, where the Spartans lost 7-1 on night one and had a 7-5 comeback win on night two. Michigan State is also looking to avenge its Duel in the D loss from last year where the Spartans lost in overtime with just .6 seconds left. For Dorwart, he's looking forward to this series, mainly because of the respect the two teams have for each other.  

“Just the respect aspect you have to have for your opponent regardless of the game," Dorwart said. "Obviously we don’t like those guys but you have to respect what they can do when you give them opportunities you know they're gonna finish."

With help from the special teams, the Spartans will have to hold strong on their especially good penalty kill, going up against the Wolverines’ number one power play in the country and keep them out of their net.

“The players have done a good job of trusting the coaches,” head coach Adam Nightingale said. “At the end of the day, if you want a good power play you need good players, and so I think we have good players and they have to follow the plan that the coaches put in place, and I think this year that special teams has been a strength.”

With just three weeks of games left in the regular season for the Spartan hockey team, and after having three splits in a row, Michigan State has a sense of where the team is now in the season and how the season will end up for the team with a bye week, a home series and two more away series. Nightingale said that the team may not be "playing their best hockey right now" but they are "moving towards that and getting better."

Dorwart agreed and said that the team needs to work on scoring for the future, as well as stopping goals. 

“This time of (the) year it’s really hard to score,” Dorwart said. “So just making sure we get to the inside, you don’t want to just get stuck on the perimeter. You’ve got to get in between the dots and get in front of the goalie. Also, it’s not all about scoring, so if you go out and you don’t let them score the entire night, that’s a pretty good game.”

The Wolverines are currently 7-7-2 in the Big Ten conference after completing their first sweep of the season (in-conference) against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

During the last meeting against the Spartans, the Wolverines played a dominating first game with a near shutout until MSU’s fifth year forward Nicolas Muller put one in the back of the net, but the Wolverines ran away with a 7-1 win. 

Last weekend, the Wolverines split with a dominating Wisconsin Badgers team after a 5-1 win and a 6-5 overtime loss with dominant performances from the team. 

The University of Michigan will now be playing Michigan State with sophomore forward Gavin Brindley for both games, the team's sophomore right winger who was out of the lineup for night two during the first rivalry weekend. 

The Spartans and the Wolverines will take the ice on Friday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Night one will be streamed on Big Ten Plus. The second game will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be played in the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich. The game will be streamed on Big Ten Network.

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