The first weekend of the 2019 calendar year for Michigan State hockey was one of ups and downs. MSU squared off against a very talented and disciplined Ohio State team, whom they stole an impressive 8-7 overtime win from, yet also suffered a 6-0 beating the following night.
“Overall some good, positive steps for our guys,” MSU head coach Danton Cole told reporters about his team’s play against the division-leading Buckeyes.
Cole and his team will travel east to take on a 12-6-2 overall, No. 10/11 ranked Penn State group on Friday and Saturday night. This will be the first matchup of the season between these two programs.
“It’s going to be another real great test for us on the road with a really skilled offensive team,” Cole told reporters.
Rosters for both Michigan State and Penn State pose an offensive threat to each other. All three of the top point leaders in the NCAA will be present on the ice tonight including MSU’s Taro Hirose and PSU’s Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt.
With two goals and an assist during last Friday’s contest against Ohio State, Hirose passed both Penn State players in the race to lead the league in points, locking in at 31 on the season.
PSU and MSU find themselves stuck as the last two seeds in the Big Ten at the moment, but both teams nonetheless have many great characteristics such as speed, defense and chemistry that will make this a series worth watching.
“They do a good job at creating speed coming into the offensive zone,” Cole told reporters in his weekly presser. “Their defensemen are very involved, and they attack fast.”
Cole and company recognize Penn State’s enhanced ability to find the back of the net, with the Nittany Lions coming into the weekend averaging nearly five goals per game.
Penn State defeated the Spartans during the most recent meeting between the two last February by a score of 3-2.
A physical and defensively organized game will be the plan of attack this weekend for the Spartans.