MSU hosts College Hockey Showcase

"This year I think this event becomes more of a Big Ten mentality, more then CCHA/WCHA" -- MSU coach Rick Comley says, as his team prepares for this weekend's college hockey showcase.

East Lansing- The tough schedule for the MSU skaters continues, as two top-10 teams invade Munn Ice Arena for this weekend's college hockey showcase.

The Wisconsin Badgers come in with a 9-1-2 overall record, ranked second in the nation. What makes them so good? Well, for one thing they play a very controlled brand of hockey that starts with defense. The Badgers have not given up more then two goals to their opponents thus far this year.

"They are a very solid team, well coached, even though they don't score a lot, they have very talented players." said coach Comley as he looked forward to Friday night's game against the Badgers.

The transition game will be big for both teams. The team that does the better job and not getting caught shorthanded could determine who wins this series. The team that best makes the transition from solid defense into scoring chances on offense will likely come out the winner of this matchup.

The seventh-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers come to Munn this Saturday Night sporting a 6-3-3 overall record. Be prepared for speed and a lot of scoring when this team hits the ice, led by freshmen forward Phil Kessel.

"No one has better talent then Minnesota, not Michigan, not anybody" says coach Comley about the offensive firepower of the Gophers.

After last week's disappointing series with Western Michigan, what a statement it would make for State if they could come out with two victories. While I would not call these next two games "must-wins" for the Green-and-White -championships are not won in November - they are great opportunities for the Spartans to get back on track.

MSU has shown the ability to rise to the occastion when tested by high caliber programs, just ask Cornell, Michigan and North Dakota.

Look for Munn Ice Arena to add a two-fold benefit for the Spartans. One the racous home ice crowd will be into this one from start to finish and its size. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin play on a Olympic size rinks. The smaller ice surface of Munn could cause problems for the visitors.

A huge factor will be the Michigan State penalty killing unit, which is letting opponents score about 75% of the time. It must improve in order for the Spartans to have any shot at winning just one of the contests, never mind sweeping the series.

All that said, MSU can sneak under the radar a little bit, as much more attention has been surrounding the other teams. MSU has thrived playing the underdog role in the past. When the Spartan skaters feel like their backs are against the wall, that is when they have proven to be the most dangerous.

Prediction:
Friday Night: Michigan State 2-1 over Wisconsin
Saturday Night: Minnesota and MSU tie 5-5
"Until next time hockey fans, remember to always light the lamp."


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