This weekend the Spartans for the 2nd week in a row will host an old friend from their days in the WCHA, this time with North Dakota visiting Munn Arena for the first time since 1980. North Dakota, newly dubbed the Fighting Hawks after a vote for a new nickname, have spent some time as the top ranked team in the country this season and come to town sporting a 10-2-2 record. The Spartans will need the best weekend of hockey they have played all season if they want to avoid a sweep on home ice, and they definitely need to tighten up defensively after a weekend surrendering 9 goals to the Michigan Tech Huskies.
North Dakota is in their first season under head coach Brad Berry, after Dave Hakstol left Grand Forks this past summer to become the bench boss of the Philadelphia Flyers. North Dakota was coming off of a season where they lost in the national semi-final to Boston University. North Dakota lost three of their top scorers from last season and came into the year with limited experience in the net, but that has not stopped the team from getting off to a great start in Barry's first season.
|Michigan State Spartans||Stats Match-Up (National Rank)||#5 North Dakota|
|3.36 (14)||Goals Scored/Game||3.43 (12)|
|3.09 (44)||Goals Against/Game||2.21 (12)|
|9-of-51 17.65% (33)||Power Play Percentage||9-of-55 16.36% (38)|
|38-of-42 90.5% (8)||Penalty Kill Percentage||41-of-53 77.4% (49)|
Jake Hildebrand (Sr)
4-5-1 2.83 GAA, .904 save %
Matt Hrynkiw (Jr)
9-2-1 2.11 GAA, .911 save %
Friday Nov. 27 7:00 PM
Sunday Nov.29 3:00 PM
|Streaming||BTNPlus on BTN2Go|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network|
3 Keys to Spartan Success
- Jake Hildebrand rise to the occasion- Hildebrand has been subject to a slightly slow start each season at Michigan State, but the senior goaltender was really fighting the puck this last series against Michigan Tech. He was beat multiple times on point shots, and surrender weak side goals that he does not give up when he is on his game. If the Spartans are going to upset North Dakota this weekend they will need Hildebrand to be at his All-American level.
- Power Play- North Dakota has one of the worst penalty kills in the country, operating at below an 80% kill rate. North Dakota currently has the 2nd best Corsi For percentage (60%) in the country at even strength so they are extremely good at possessing the puck. The Spartans likely will not be winning puck possession at 5-on-5 so when they are given opportunities with the man advantage it is vital that they take advantage.
- Watch the stretch play- Boston College was able to victimize the Spartans defense with long stretch plays and North Dakota has the ability to do the same. Last Sunday the Spartans went with a lineup featuring just 5 defenseman so they need to be on their game this weekend to help Hildebrand. With the offense being more aggressive (with great results) the defenseman need to refocus on their primary responsibility and not stress forcing things to make offense happen.