Michigan State vs. Wisconsin preview: players to watch, predictions and more


Jeremy Davidson smiles during the pregame prior to a game against Umass-Lowell on Oct. 13, 2022./ Photo credit: Sarah Smith

Jacob Phillips, Hockey Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State returns to Munn Ice Arena this weekend to host the Wisconsin Badgers Friday and Saturday.

Last weekend’s series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish proved rough for the Spartans. Not only was it their first full-road series of the season, but it was also their first conference matchup.

Game one saw the Fighting Irish hand MSU its worst loss of the season, shutting out the Spartans 5-0 for the first time this year. 

Game two proved more hopeful for MSU. An early goal by Spartan left winger Jagger Joshua put the team in the lead. However, the Fighting Irish went on to tie the game 1-1. The game remained tied through regulation and a five-minute three-on-three overtime period.

Shootout goals from Spartan right-winger Tanner Kelly and center Karsen Dorwart gave MSU the 2-1 win. However, the game still goes in the record as a tie, putting the Spartans at 4-3-1 as they prepare to host the Badgers.

Wisconsin (2-6-0) is coming off o a series loss to Penn State (8-0-0). The Badgers took an early lead in the first after a goal from their captain Dominick Mersch. However, the Nittany Lions tied the score in the first period and later took the lead in the second for an eventual 2-1 win. The second game proved worse for Wisconsin as PSU shut out the Badgers for a 4-0 win.

This weekend will likely be the best chance MSU has to sweep a conference opponent as their offense matches up well against Wisconsin. The Spartans have outshot their opponents in all but the first game against Notre Dame and have the second-best Corsi percentage in college hockey at 60.4%. That means MSU is one of the best teams in terms of puck possessions this season. They’re also outshooting opponents on average 37.25 to 26.5 shots per game.

The Badgers haven’t been so lucky this year as they’re being outshot by an average of 8 shots per game. This coupled with a below-average penalty kill percentage, of 76.5%, means that Wisconsin could be in trouble if it can’t keep the puck out of the defensive zone.


Players to watch

Jagger Joshua, F, Michigan State: Joshua has had standout performances in two of MSU’s last three games. In the Spartans’ second game against Long Island, Joshua recorded his first hat trick at MSU, an impressive feat for his senior season. Joshua was also responsible for the Spartans’ only goal in regulation against Notre Dame. His positioning for rebound goals has been crucial and will likely be a key component of MSU’s offensive play.

Jared Moe, G, Wisconsin: The Badgers’ only wins this season came off a sweep at Minnesota-Duluth (4-4-0).  Moe put up 38 saves on 40 shots in game one of that series, and game two saw a shutout from Moe, who saved all 35 shots on goal. If the Badgers can win this weekend, Moe will have to put up more impressive performances.

Dylan St. Cyr, G, Michigan State: The score of the Notre Dame series doesn’t accurately reflect the effort put in by St. Cyr over the weekend. On Friday, he set a season-high 28 saves, which was then broken in game two with a new season high of 39 saves. While he has yet to shut out an opponent, his ability to move quickly in the crease is what keeps MSU in games that would otherwise be blowouts.


Impact staff predictions

Phillips, Hockey Beat Reporter: There isn’t a better time for MSU to sweep a conference opponent. The Notre Dame series highlighted some key weaknesses, but the Spartans match up well against the Badgers. They have a better penalty kill, they control the puck and play a faster offense. If Wisconsin pulls out a win, it’s because of Moe.

Jacob Stinson, Hockey Beat Reporter: Michigan State sweeps. Nothing I’ve seen out of Wisconsin gives me confidence in them. The forwards can’t defend, and the offense is inconsistent. Unless Moe can score for them too, don’t expect much out of the Badgers.

Ryan Radosevich, Hockey Beat Reporter: It’s going to be a split. Although MSU’s offensive playstyle will be hard for Wisconsin to game plan against, I see the Badgers winning a one-score game with a great performance from their goaltender  Moe.

Puck drop at Munn Ice Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday for game one and 6 p.m. for game two on Saturday.