After a troubling weekend stint in Massachusetts, the Spartans return home to East Lansing to face another daunting opponent, the No. 15 Ferris State Bulldogs.
Know Thy Enemy and Know Thyself
Michigan State is reeling, no one can dispute that, but then again so are the Bulldogs. Both teams are riding a three-game losing streak heading into this weekend’s contest, and both teams were swept last weekend, (MSU by BU and UMass-Lowell, Ferris by Michigan Tech).
The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 15 in the nation, have dominated this series as of late, winning the last four contests against Michigan State. Ferris sees this series against MSU as a huge rivalry. Their coach, Bob Daniels, is an MSU alum, and will likely come out with extra determination to turn their record around against an in-state rival.
Michigan State on the other hand needs to have success this series just as much as Ferris does. The key for the Spartans will be playing a high tempo, high octane game for a full 60 minutes, which is in direct contrast to Ferris’ slow defensive minded style.
By the Numbers
If you believe the numbers, it tells you this weekend may be interesting. Michigan State has the edge over Ferris State in goals per game (2.25 to 1.60), but Ferris has the edge in goals against per game (2.00 for FSU, 2.5 for MSU). That is where the statistical differences stop. Both teams are lacking on the powerplay (1-21 for both MSU and FSU) but are superb on the PK (both team’s have only yielded 2 goals on the PK). Throw in the fact that both teams have elite goaltenders in Jake Hildebrand (.912 Sv% 2.54 GAA) for the Spartans and CJ Motte (.943 Sv% 2.02 GAA) for the Bulldogs and you have got yourself a dogfight all weekend long.
This series will be a clash of two conflicting play styles, the fast attack style of Michigan State, and the slow, defensive minded trap style of Ferris State. That said though, whoever can capitalize on the golden opportunity and score at the right time will do well this weekend.
Return of the Draeger?
It was recently revealed in this week’s press conference by head coach Tom Anastos, that junior defenseman, John Draeger, is hopeful to start this weekend. Draeger missed the first two weekends of the Spartans’ season recovering from surgery. The Michigan State blueline would definitely get a boost of stability with Draeger back in the lineup.
Happy Birthday to Munn
Michigan State’s contest on Nov. 1 marks the 40th anniversary of the dedication of Munn Ice Arena. The rink was named in honor of former MSU football coach and athletic director Clarence “Biggie” Munn.
While the Spartans played their first official game in Munn on Oct. 23, the building was officially dedicated on Nov. 1, 1974 when the Spartans hosted Minnesota (the Spartans lost 4-3 in overtime).
Munn, a native of Minnesota, was instrumental in the establishment of D1 varsity hockey at Michigan State.
Jason Ruff is the host of Behind the Mask for Impact Sports
Photo: Brian Bobal/Impact Sports