Spartan Hockey Gears Up For 2008-09 Season

Great Lakes Invitiational once again highlight of Spartans season as team prepares to make bid for yet another Frozen Four appearance

EAST LANSING -- As always, the Michigan State hockey team faces a daunting schedule next season.

More that one-third of their games will be against teams who made last season's NCAA Tournament.

The toughest stretch on the slate appears to be from mid-November to the end of December. The Spartans will play at least seven games (maybe eight) against five teams who made the Tournament last year.

Those games begin with the Spartans facing one of the CCHA's best in home series against Miami, and ends with the annual Great Lakes Tournament, where they will face perennial power North Dakota and a potential matchup with archrival Michigan. In between are games at Wisconsin, at Minnesota and at Michigan, with a home game against the Wolverines as well.

"We really think that our schedule prepares us to meet our expectations—which is to be in the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season," Spartan head coach Rick Comley said. "This will be a challenging schedule for a young team."

The season begins with a home exhibition against Western Ontario on Oct. 6 and ends on Feb. 28 with a home game against Notre Dame, the upstart team that knocked MSU out of the NCAA Tournament in last season's Western Regional finals.

The CCHA Playoff Championship is scheduled for March 20-21. The NCAA Tournament begins the last weekend in March and the Frozen Four will be played at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. from April 10-12.

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