Hockey Weekend Preview: Ohio State

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This weekend Michigan State will travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State. The Spartans will look to snap an eight game losing streak against the Buckeyes and begin the second half of the Big Ten season on a high note. The Buckeyes meanwhile are on the upswing, with plenty of time left for them to make a run at the regular season championship.

Location: Value City Arena / Columbus, Ohio

Dates & Times: Friday Jan. 29 (6:30 p.m. EST)  TV: BTN    Radio: Spartan Sports Network

 Saturday Jan. 30 (7:00 p.m. EST) TV: N/A  Radio: Spartan Sports Network


TEAM COMPARISONS

Michigan State (1-7-0 B1G, 5-17-2 OVR): The Spartans right now are in the midst of a historic rut, they have lost their last eight games and have yet to win in the year 2016. They are coming off of an exhibition win over the USNTDP U-18’s. The overtime victory might be enough to give MSU the confidence boost it needs to have success on the road this weekend.

Tom Anastos made it clear that his team is the playing underdog role this season. While he doesn’t necessarily prefer to be in that position, he certainly realizes that the Spartans have the opportunity to play spoiler to a lot of teams down the stretch. The goal of Michigan State this year is to play their best hockey in March and go into the Big Ten tournament with confidence. A successful road series against OSU would go along way toward achieving that goal.

Ohio State (2-4-2 B1G, 7-13-2 OVR): The Buckeyes are a team that is on the upswing, ever since sweeping their christmas tournament they have become a solid hockey team and a tough opponent to play against. Ohio State is 1-2-1 over the past two games but are coming off an emphatic win over Penn State. Simply put, the Buckeyes are dangerous and pose a threat to every team in this conference.

While their conference record isn’t anything noteworthy, there is plenty of time left for OSU to place themselves into the championship conversation. After hosting MSU the Buckeyes will have two series against Minnesota and Penn State, two teams that are ahead of them in the standings. The Scarlet and Grey will be looking towards this weekend to pick up a home split and gain even more momentum heading into the second half of the Big Ten season.

OFFENSE

Goals Per Game

MSU: 2.42    OSU: 3.32

Power Play

MSU:14/95 (.147)  OSU: 21/91 (.231)

Leading Scorers

MSU: Michael Ferrantino (Sr. 5-12-17)          OSU: Nick Schilkey (Jr. 12-10-22)

MSU: Mackenzie Maceachern (Jr. 8-9-17)    OSU: David Gust (Jr .6-16-20)

MSU: Mason Appleton (Fr. 4-13-17)              OSU: Mason Jobst (Fr. 6-14-20)

DEFENSE

Goals Against Per Game

MSU: 3.62                                                       OSU: 3.18

Penalty Kill

MSU: 74/88 (.841)                                           OSU: 71/85 (.835)

Goaltenders

MSU: Jake Hildebrand (Sr. 22 gp.894 Sv%, 3.39 GAA)  

OSU: Christian Frey (Jr. 11gp .929 Sv% 2.27 GAA)

Prediction: Michigan State will ride their momentum into Columbus after their overtime win. They will not have any trouble netting the first goal but the fact that they have yet to win a true road game makes me think that Ohio State will take advantage of any Spartan mistakes to even the game up in the late stages. The losing streak will end, but MSU will remain winless in 2016.

0-1-1 (Shootout win for Michigan State)