PREVIEW: Michigan State suits up for final home series of the season versus Ohio State

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Emily Martin

Things are heating up for the Michigan State hockey team as the end of the season is nearing, and tournament seeds are on the line for postseason matchplay.

The Spartans are coming off of a bye week after securing a monumental sweep against the University of Michigan the week prior. In the first game of the most recent matchup, Michigan State took on the Wolverines in Ann Arbor at Yost Ice Arena, dominating with a score of 5-1, and again the next night for the annual Duel in the D tournament at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, home ice of the Detroit Red Wings. There, the Spartans completed the weekend sweep 3-2 and also broke the Duel in the D attendance record with 18,410 spectators.

The team has worked tirelessly throughout the entire season and even leading up to it, so the bye week was much earned and very valuable to the players and coaching staff. “We had a bye week this week, it gave us the opportunity to work on some stuff the past week and a half… and for some guys to get healthy,” head coach Adam Nightingale said.

This week, Michigan State will take on Ohio State for its last home series of the regular season. Puck drop is set for 7 pm Friday and 6 pm Saturday. Saturday night, Munn will celebrate the senior Spartans and their accomplishments during their time at MSU.

Leading up to this performance, the Spartans jumped to No. 4 in the USCHO rankings and maintained their No. 1 seed in the Big Ten conference as well, despite not having any scheduled competition this past week.

To add to the impressive list of historical performances and accomplishments for MSU this season, its new No. 4 seat in the rankings is the highest ranking they have gained since 2007 when the team reached No. 3. MSU’s achievements have been speaking volumes, and have shown that the Spartans are relentless.

Coach Nightingale has come into this program with a lot of goals and aspirations and has not failed to prove his methods. Nightingale has taken a very humble approach to each season and transitions that onto the players as well.

“I’ve told them for a year and a half, and the message has been the same: They’re not worried about who we’re playing, we respect who we’re playing, but it’s all about us and playing our best,” Nightingale said. “I’m not worried about standings, rankings, or anything like that, we want things that have substance- and the substance is getting better and playing your best.”

The team is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to return to the ice this weekend to take on the Buckeyes, and fans are feeling the energy as well.

There are eyes on multiple teams this week though, as everyone is fighting for their spot in the Big Ten Tournament. MSU needs at minimum to split the weekend against OSU, but are ideally working towards another sweep. This would keep the Spartans at the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Conference, giving them a home-ice advantage in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. This could come at the expense of the other two Big Ten matchups happening the same weekend. Only time will tell the outcomes and advancements in store for the conference teams.

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