Weekend Hockey Preview: Michigan

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With Tom Izzo and the basketball team falling to Michigan on Tuesday, it is now up to the Spartan hockey team to regain lost honor against MSU’s in-state rival.

Where: Joe Louis Arena. Detroit, Mich. (Friday)

Yost Ice Arena. Ann Arbor, Mich. (Saturday)

Dates and Times: Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7:35 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Detroit (Friday)

Radio: Spartan Sports Network (Friday/Saturday)

The Rundown

In terms of conference standings, things are pretty similar to when these two teams met up three weeks ago. Michigan State is still last in the Big Ten in nearly every major category. Michigan is still in fifth place in the conference after a home split against Ohio State. The Wolverines sit six points behind the Buckeyes, who play Minnesota this weekend, so a Michigan sweep might be enough to get them to the middle of the pack.

This game also marks the last meeting between the two schools at Joe Louis Arena, assuming they don’t meet again in the Big Ten tournament. The Spartans and Wolverines first started playing regular season games there in 1990. Since then, the annual “Duel in the D” has become a yearly hockey tradition in the state of Michigan. The Wolverines lead MSU in in the Duel in the D series 14-11-4, though the Spartans have won two straight.

Players to Watch

For Michigan, the player everyone has to keep an eye out for is sophomore Cooper Marody. Marody has been an offensive force as of late, netting four goals and two assists last weekend against Ohio State. If Marody can bring an offensive flair to his game consistently, then that might be just what Michigan needs for a late season run.

For the Spartans, Patrick Khodorenko has started to become a more noticeable presence on the ice. Khodorenko picked up two goals and an assist last weekend against Wisconsin, and an uptick in offensive production may be coming for the young freshman.

Prediction

This one is really hard to get a grasp on. No team is downright better than the other, and when you throw in the fact that it’s a rivalry game, then all bets are off. MSU has won the Duel in the D for the past two years and are the current holders of the “Iron D” trophy. The Spartans always seems to get up for this game, so I’ll give the Friday game to the Spartans with the Wolverines avenging their 3-0 home loss to the Spartans on Saturday.

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