Weekend Hockey Preview: Lake Superior State

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Weekend Hockey Preview: Lake Superior State

Photo: Siobhan Findlay/Impact

Photo: Siobhan Findlay/Impact

Photo: Siobhan Findlay/Impact

Photo: Siobhan Findlay/Impact

Jason Ruff

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The wait is over!

Hockey season is back, and that means Weekend Hockey Preview is ready to give you an inside look at every Michigan State hockey matchup this season. First up is Lake Superior State.

The Spartans take to the road to open up their 76th season. They will travel up north to Sault St. Marie, Michigan to face a Lakers squad that is celebrating their 50th season as a program. Michigan State went 2-1-0 in three meetings with Lake State last year, and a win or two on the road would be a tremendous start for the young Spartans.

Location: Taffy Abel Arena.  Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Dates and Times: Friday Oct. 14 (7:37 p.m.) Saturday Oct. 15 (6:07 p.m.)

TV: None

Web Stream: WCHA tv

Radio: Spartan Sports Network

Team Comparisons:

Both the Spartans and Lakers have yet to play a single game yet this year. Both teams tied their exhibition game so it’s hard to say who has an edge right now. Michigan State is one of the youngest teams in college hockey, boasting 15 underclassmen on the roster. Not to mention that Michigan State no longer has the services of all-american netminder Jake Hildebrand. So the goaltender position is up in the air, despite junior Ed Minney looking solid in the pre-season.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are bringing back a majority of their scoring, including their top three goalscorers as well as their starting goaltender. Junior netminder Gordon Defiel was an All-WCHA Third Team selection last year with a .926 save percentage and 2.47 goals against average.  It will be skilled youth against experience, an interesting matchup to say the least.

The Spartans lead the all time series 71-35-14.

Stats (based on 2015-16 season):

MSU:

GPG: 2.51 (37th in NCAA)

GAA: 3.35 (49th in NCAA)

PP: .156 (41st in NCAA)

PK: .864 (8th in NCAA)

LSSU:

GPG: 1.80 (59th in NCAA)

GAA: 2.56 (22nd in NCAA)

PP: .137 (49th in NCAA)

PK: .842 (17rth in NCAA)

Prediction:

While the Lakers bring back a fair portion of their roster, they did not do so well offensively last season. That being said, they did boast a top 25 defense led by Defiel. Any way you slice it, experience counts for something in this game.

Michigan State enters this series young and inexperienced, but skilled. They will face a team and home crowd that will be amped to play the Spartans as  this weekend is the first time MSU has traveled to the Soo since the demise of the CCHA.

I think that the Spartans will face two tough games, but if they play with the same skill and offensive prowess as they did in the preseason, they should be okay. Defiel will likely backstop the Lakers to a tie and shootout win, but the Spartans will also pick up a victory on the road and will start the season 1-0-1.