PREVIEW: Michigan State hockey prepares for yet another tough opponent in Minnesota. “There’s no nights off in our league.”

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After a historic sweep of No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 7 Michigan State hockey heads on the road to face off against No. 8 Minnesota.

Minnesota owns a favorable advantage in the series history, posting a 134-50-16 record. However, the Spartans are off to a better start this year than the Golden Gophers, who are 6-4-2 on the season and 2-3-1 in Big Ten play.

For the first time this season, Nightingale felt like the team had succeeded in their goal to play the full 60 minutes against the Badgers. The Spartans continue to grow and put their best foot forward in such a big series, a pattern they will look to continue as they dive deeper into Big Ten play. Michigan State currently sits at the top of the conference with 16 points. However, standings in this conference change constantly, and the team continues to focus on themselves and their game.

“It’s nice for sure that people are excited and we appreciate it, but we just gotta stay grounded,” head coach Adam Nightingale said. “We are trying to stay disciplined with control of things we can control, that’s your effort and your attitude and having a great day and we just try to stack as many of those days together and keep heading in the right direction.”

The Spartans had no shortage of highlights in their series against the Badgers. The second line of Nico Müller, Jeremy Davidson, and Reed Lebster had a productive weekend with a combined seven points. Müller tallied a goal and an assist on night one and another assist on night two. Davidson had a goal in each game and Lebster had two assists on night one. The fourth line of Tanner Kelly, Tommi Männistö, and Tiernan Shoudy had another productive weekend. Kelly had the game-winning goal on Friday against the Badgers. Männistö and Shoudy each had an assist in the series. The trio has played well together, especially since the start of Big Ten play.

“I think we just got a little bit more chemistry and got used to playing with each other,” Shoudy said. “We are kind of just figuring out how we play and it’s been going well so far.”

Freshman goaltender Trey Augustine was named the Big Ten first star of the week for his 60-save performance over the weekend. He leads the conference with 389 saves and averaging 29.92 saves per game. As the youngest D1 goaltender, Augustine has already made a great start for himself, tied for first in the nation with nine wins.

The Golden Gophers, similar to Michigan State, have a lot of youth and are still continuing to develop with one of the youngest rosters in college hockey. The nine sophomore skaters on the team have been the top producers, with a total of 17 goals. The two top-producing sophomores, Brody Lamb and Jimmy Snuggerud are tied for second for the team lead in points with 10. Snuggerud also leads the team with eight goals.

Minnesota holds a 14-game winning streak against the Spartans, but heading into this series the Spartans will look to continue their dominance in Big Ten play. They are one of four teams that are still undefeated in the conference, with a 5-0-1 record.

“We have to continue to focus on us and continue to focus on getting better and go out there and play our best hockey,” Nightingale said. “There’s no nights off in our league.”

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