PREVIEW: Michigan State Hockey looking ahead to a “really good challenge” at Air Force

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Emily Martin

After sweeping Lake Superior State in their home opening series, No. 8 Michigan State Hockey travels to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force. This series will mark the first time in 50 years that the Spartans will travel to Colorado to face Air Force.

“Air Force always plays hard,” head coach Adam Nightingale said. “Well coached, well conditioned team, so it will be a really good challenge for us.”

Michigan State got off to a strong start, with 5- 2 and 4-2 victories over Lake Superior State last weekend. The Spartans had eight different goal scorers between the two games. Freshman Artyom Levshunov led the team with 12 shots on net and picked up his first collegiate goal in the second game. 

5th year forward Nico Müller, was named Big Ten Second Star of the week after his performance in the series. Müller had a goal and three assists between the two games and now ranks second in Big Ten scoring leaders. 

Transfer Red Savage also had an impressive debut in the Green and White. The junior had a pair of goals, one in each game, and picked up an assist, as well as dominated on the circle, winning 20 of 31 faceoffs (64.5%). 

While MSU had a strong opening weekend, the team still has a lot to focus on; however, although an opening weekend sweep is exciting, the team is only looking forward.

“There’s obviously a lot of positives from this weekend, but I think we still have a lot to prove,” alternate captain Karsen Dorwart said. “For us, it’s just playing our game more consistently.”

Looking at Air Force, the Falcons split their opening weekend series against Lindenwood. They took the first game 4-1 and then fell the second night with a 4-3 overtime loss. Junior forward Austin Schwartz had three goals in the series, and senior defender Luke Rowe had five assists and a team high four blocked shots. Rowe was named the AHA Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. 

The Spartans own a 7-1-0 record against the Falcons. When these two teams last faced each other in Colorado Springs during the 1973-74 season, the Spartans came out with a sweep. The Falcons only win came from the last meeting in 2021-22, where the teams split the series. 

With the season just getting started, MSU looks to continue their development as a young team and continue coming together as a cohesive unit. 

“We still have a lot to work on to keep growing our game, especially when you have a lot of new players and young players,” Nightingale said. “You see them grow from one game to the next.”

The series will be played Thursday and Friday, both at 9 pm ET/ 7 pm MT. 

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