Spartans Soldier On to Minnesota

It was about this time last year that Michigan State turned the corner and started their ascent to the upper echelons of the Big Ten.

Currently, the Spartans continue to reel as they look to end their current losing streak which stretches back to December 12.

In times of trial it is easy for individuals to become disenchanted and start giving up.

This is NOT this team.

If Holland’s tweet is any indication, the Spartans are closing ranks and continuing to grind out the remainder of the season.

“We’re trying to keep focus on our team, and trying not to be distracted which isn’t always easy but I think generally speaking our guys have been able to do that,” Spartan coach Tom Anastos said.

Senior captain Michael Ferrantino may have put it best after the 6-3 loss to Michigan last weekend;

“No one’s jumping ship,” Ferrantino said.

Despite what some fans may think, the season is far from over. If Michigan State can win the Big Ten Tournament in St. Paul this March, they will earn an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. For the Spartans to have a chance at this though they need to be playing their best hockey in March, and that starts by simplifying their game.

“Your natural tendency when things aren’t going well, for many guys, is to try and do more,” Anastos said. “Trying to get back to basics and trying to simplify things is a place at least to start to try and grow a game.”

Sophomore forward Villiam Haag, who scored a goal in the 6-3 loss to Michigan, has historically had some success against the Golden Gophers. His five points (three goals, two assists) are tied for the team lead against Minnesota.

After a strong performance against the Wolverines, all signs point to him traveling with MSU to the Twin Cities.

“I’m just trying to get out there and play as hard as I can and use some skills that I have and do as best as I can,” Haag said.

When asked what specific challenge the Golden Gophers present to the Spartans, Haag was quick to mention their balance of skill.

“They have good defenders, good goal and a good offense that [can] use a lot of speed and skills,” Haag said. “So it’s just for us, maybe an opposite team to be able to shut down that or be on them all the time to not give them that space.”

Minnesota has not had the season the team and their fans have hoped for. The Golden Gophers currently sit with a 9-10-0 record, but have been on the upswing now that conference play has started with a 4-2-0 record in the Big Ten.

The last time the Spartans traveled to Mariucci Ice Arena, they earned a marquis win over Minnesota. To date the Spartans are to only Big Ten team to beat the Gophers in Minnesota.

If Michigan State can walk away from this weekend with a similar result, it would be a much needed momentum swing to help turn their season around.

“We’ve created the hole that we’re in and it’s up to us to dig our way out,” Anastos said.

 

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