This weekend, the Michigan State Spartans begin regular season play with a non-conference road series against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
The Minutemen opened their regular season this past weekend with a pair of losses to Boston University and Massachusetts-Lowell respectively. After this weekend the Spartans will welcome both Lowell and Boston into Munn Arena on the 25-26, so this weekend will help provide the Spartans with a measuring stick for next weekend. Without further ado lets meet this weekends opponent, The Minutemen of Amherst.
Time/Location: 7 PM both Friday and Saturday at Mullins Arena in Amherst, MA
Radio: Spartan Sports Network
Know Your Opponent
- Founded in 1863 and has an enrollment of 24,646. Famous alumni include Rick Pitino, Victor Cruz of the New York Giants, Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and LA Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick
- Coach John Micheletto is in his 2nd season at Amherst and is in the midst of a rebuilding project. The Minutemen went 12-19-3 last season and saw 3 players depart the program this summer after being asked not to return. This included goaltender Kevin Boyle who was in net for 8 of the teams' 12 wins last season.
- Last season they averaged 2.74 Goals per game (31st in NCAA) and 32 shots per game
- In the preseason coaches poll the Minutemen were picked to finish 10th out of 11 teams in Hockey East.
What To Look For This weekend presents a good chance for a young team to go on the road and gel while playing an opponent they have a chance to get victories against. Both of these teams struggled to score last season and will need to see these numbers improve to move up the rankings. The Minutemen never led last weekend in either game and junior goalie Steve Mastalerz started in net both nights. The edge in net goes to the Spartans whether Jake Hildebrand or Will Yanakeff plays. Special teams could decide who wins each night as both teams struggle to score in even play and MSU needs to play better on the power play than they did in their 4-1 exhibition win over Western Ontario.
We don't know much about this MSU team so far and how the young players will react to a road game out of conference. Hope for a sweep and expect a split series coming home for a tough opening weekend at Munn.