Three takeaways from Michigan State’s weekend series against Notre Dame

Danton+Cole%2FPhoto%3A+MSU+Athletic+Communications+

Matthew Mitchell Photography

Danton Cole/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Kyle Hatty, Hockey Beat Reporter

  1. Michigan State has a goalie who will keep the Spartans in every game

Senior goalie John Lehemon has emerged as not only a reliable player every night for Michigan State, but one of the better goalies in the nation. Lethemon has already received individual honors this season such as third place in the national player of the week, first place in the Big Ten players of the week, and he currently leads the Big Ten in save percentage. Lethemon has gone against some of the most potent offenses in the country and has not had a bad game yet this season, despite seeing close to 40 shots each night. When he is in net, Michigan State can compete with anyone.

  1. The Spartans will go as far as their special teams take them

The Spartans have shown what kind of team they are going to be this year. They are not a team like Penn State where they will win games 6-5. They’ll play a strong defensive game where the score will be 2-1. They won’t generate as many opportunities, but they will capitalize on them. That means they will have to make the most of their power plays and be very strong on the penalty kill—especially with how good their conference opponents’ power plays will be.

  1. Michigan State has entered the national conversation

As of Monday, Michigan State is nationally ranked for the first time in almost a decade. The Spartans checked in at No. 20 in the USCHO poll and seem to be trending upwards. A team that began the year hoping to finish top four in the conference should now be aiming for a conference title and a spot in the NCAA tournament. Michigan State has the fifth toughest schedule in college hockey and have competed with, if not beat some of the best teams in the nation.

Contact Kyle Hatty at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @KyleHattyIN.