Sunday afternoon was the last home game for senior Staci Burlingame in a Spartan uniform and it ended on a good note, defeating Northern Michigan 3-0.
Burlingame scored in Saturday’s contest against the Wildcats, but could not find the back of the net in her last home game.
“I was trying to score, but goals aren’t a big thing to me,” Burlingame said. “I’d rather have an assist than a goal. As long as we win the game that’s all that matters to me.”
Burlingame transferred to Michigan State in 2011 and was named assistant captain for this year’s hockey season. Players and coaches said they are going to miss her.
“I love playing with Staci,” said fellow captain Alex Kann. “If you haven’t noticed, she’s leading the team in assists right now. She always has her head up looking for players, she’s definitely not a selfish person.”
Head coach Jeff Wilson helped and watched Burlingame progress as a person, player and leader and said she is an asset to the team.
“She’s a leader,” Wilson said. “Not very vocal, but she’s a good leader on the ice by her performance. Her vision of the ice and patience with the puck is what we preach in the locker room and every time I conclude my statements with ‘do it like Staci does it’.”
Burlingame’s collegiate career will come to an end next weekend, but appreciates every moment she had at Michigan State University.
“The best part is being a Spartan, being able to put the jersey on everyday,” Burlingame said. “A lot of people don’t have the chance to continue playing hockey into college. Even though its just club, I’ve been honored just to keep playing and I love the team.”
Michigan State failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities, but shutout Northern Michigan and swept the weekend series. Although the Spartans won again, they still did not play their type of hockey.
“I think we did pretty good,” Kann said. “We definitely played better yesterday, but they had a different goalie, so our playing style was a little different. We just have to bury our rebounds.”
The Spartans offense performed well this weekend, but Wilson is not satisfied with his team’s offense.
“We just have to put the puck in the net,” Wilson said. “We’ve been fortunate to this point where we’re undefeated, but we haven’t done our best job offensively.”
-The Spartans out shot the Wildcats 51-8 on Sunday, pushing their weekend total to 107 shots.
David Defever is the host of Behind the Mask for Impact Sports
Photo: David Defever