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MSU hockey to take on University of Michigan in regional finals of NCAA Championships

March 31, 2024

For the sixth time this season, the Michigan State Spartans will face off in men's hockey against their in-state rivals, the University of Michigan Wolverines. This time around, the incentive of the game to come is the deciding factor of who goes on to St. Paul, Minnesota to be one of the final four teams in the NCAA Championships, also known as the Frozen Four. 

After defeating the Western Michigan University Broncos in a thrilling overtime comeback game to skate away with a 5-4 win, the Spartans had to await who they would be playing on Sunday for the chance to head to one of the most important games of the season.

The Spartans have held their own against the Wolverines; after losing their first game of the season series with a score of 7-1, they went on to dominate the next three regular season games, two at Yost Ice Arena -- the first on Jan. 20 and the second on Feb. 9 -- and one at Little Caesars Arena, as well as the postseason Big Ten championship game where Michigan State was crowned Big Ten Tournament champions for the first time in program history. 

The last matchup between the rivals was in the Big Ten championship game, where an overtime decision between the two teams and a snipe from the blue line from freshman defenseman Patrick Geary won the game for the Spartans, giving them confidence going into the NCAA Championships. 

Michigan State started slowly in the first 40 minutes of the first round of the regional playoffs in the Frozen Four tournament, as the Spartans headed into the third period down 4-2. Then, with a goal from senior defenseman Nash Nienhuis and a game-tying goal from sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart, the Spartans and Broncos were forced to go into overtime. Some eight minutes in, senior forward Jeremy Davidson scored the game-winning goal, sending the Broncos home.

The Wolverines, in their game against the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, also had to climb out of a deficit and pulled off a 4-3 upset win against the No. 2 seed in the region and move on in the tournament. 

The Spartans and the Wolverines will face off at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri at 6:30 p.m. The Spartans are looking to take their four-game winning streak against the Wolverines and head to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. The game will be streamed on ESPNU.

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