Spartans Looking Toward Next Hockey Opponent

Michigan State Hockey is looking forward to it's next opponent, and this weekend will provide all the answers to those questions as GSN examines various scenarios.

OKEMOS,MI-The MSU hockey team is gearing up for several possible scenarios, and preparing for several teams, as they enjoy a first round bye this weekend.

Who MSU's next opponent will be could almost be decided by a flip of a coin.

Why? becasue the CCHA has changed it's playoff format to reseed teams after each round, therefore MSU likely won't know their next opponent until Sunday.

We can however, take an educated guess about who the Spartans will play.

If for instance, Nebraska-Omaha beats Bowling Green, and Lake Superior State beats Western Michigan, then MSU's likely opponent will be Ferris State.

That's because LSSU likely will play Michigan, and UNO would play Northern Michigan. Then again, if Ohio State wins, then MSU will play the winner of Notre Dame and Alaska-Fairbanks.

In fact, if UNO wins and LSSU loses, MSU will likely play either Ohio State or the AFU-ND winner.

If Western Michigan upsets LSSU, and Bowling Green upsets UNO, then MSU will likely play Western Michigan.

In all scenarios, this likely makes MSU's first round opponent more difficult than previously thought, with the likely opponent coming from a pool of Ferris State, Ohio State, Alaska-Fairbanks, Notre Dame, and Western Michigan.

At this point the probability of LSSU beating Western is high, as LSSU won the seasons previous four games by the scores of 10-0, 3-1, 6-1, and 4-0. A whopping 23-2 goal advantage.

Nebraska-Omaha was actually beaten twice by Bowling Green by the scores of 7-3 and 4-3, so an upset of UNO is not out of the question.

So the key series to key an eye on is Ferris State and Ohio State, and who wins from these two teams. This could push UAF or Notre Dame toward MSU if FSU wins, or MSU would play the Bucks if OSU wins.

If you think this sounds a little like Abbott and Costello's "Who's On First" skit, you are not alone.

As it stands now, if UNO and LSSU win their series as the favorites, MSU would get Ferris State.

Ferris State has beaten MSU by the score of 2-1 on January 24th and tied MSU 2-2 on November 8th.

If Western Michigan sneaks in past LSSU, they also have a 1-0-1 record versus MSU this year, tying the spartans 3-3 on November 18th, and beating the Spartans on November 19th by the score of 5-3. However, Western really struggles with LSSU, and I don't see them getting past the first round unless they play like they did the final two games of the year.

Against Ohio State this year, MSU lost to the Bucks on November 15th by the score of 3-2, but won a rematch in Columbus by the score of 4-3 played on February 9th.

Against Alaska-Fairbanks they tied 4-4 on December 9th, and beat AFU by the score of 3-0 the following day. Both games being played in Alaska.

Against Notre Dame they won a home and away series against the Irish. On February 3rd they beat ND by the count of 3-2 in South Bend. The next night in East Lansing, MSU won again by the score of 2-1.

So it should be an interesting weekend in the CCHA to decide who will play where, so stay tuned.

In other hockey news, former Spartan hockey star Kevin Miller will receive the 'Distinguished Spartan Alumni Award' at the hockey banquet on March 7th.

Kevin played fourteen years in the NHL and represented his country six times at various competitions.

Known for his aggressive hard-nosed play, Kevin was the Spartans Assistant captain during which time the Spartans went 105-25-4 when he was here playing for Ron Mason.

Stay tuned for more GSN hockey updates.

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