The Michigan State hockey team has played four games so far this season and it already has a strong case to be ranked in the top 20 in the poll. The Spartans earned five receiving votes in the Nov. 30 USCHO.com poll, but they deserve much more despite a 2-1-1 record.
The Spartans have played two series so far; two games each against Arizona State and No. 10 Ohio State. The Sun Devils just finished up their weekend series where they swept one of the hottest teams in hockey in No. 14 Wisconsin, in Madison.
The Spartans earned a win and a tie against Arizona State in their first series of the year and the Spartans were arguably the better team all weekend, allowing only one goal in 125 minutes of play.
The Spartans’ second series was one where they further proved they are deserving of a top-20 ranking. Despite the split, MSU looked like the better team for most of the weekend despite dropping game two. The Spartans outshot the Buckeyes both games and dominated the faceoff circle all weekend.
The Spartans have proven during this small sample size that they are a top-20 team in the country—allowing just 1.75 goals per game so far which ranks No. 8 in the country. They are playing the same strong defense they played last season, but this season’s team is generating more offense—surpassing 40 shots in numerous games so far, including tonight in the loss.
With all things considered, the Spartans simply deserve to be ranked.
Kyle Hatty is a hockey beat reporter for WDBM Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleHattyIN.