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Michigan State Hockey: Spartans gain grad transfer Nate McDonald from Cornell

McDonald will add some much-needed versatility to MSU’s defense.

2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championships - East Regional Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans hockey program has gained a goaltender, Nate McDonald, via the transfer portal.

In a tweet posted on Monday night, McDonald said, “I will always cherish my time at Cornell” and went on to say “I’m excited to be grad transferring to (Michigan State hockey).”

McDonald will likely back up Michigan State’s Pierce Charleson, who is expected to be the new starting netminder in Drew DeRidder’s absence. Although it could turn out to be a fight for playing time. At Cornell, McDonald didn’t start any regular season games until the 2021-2022 stanza. Last year, he started nine games, in which he was 7-1-1 in those contests.

The 6-foot-2 goaltender was a part of a three-goalie rotation at Cornell last season. Ian Shane held the most minutes in net with 979.5, Joe Howe had 443 minutes, while McDonald was just ahead of him at 504.5 minutes. Cornell went 18-10-4 on the season.

During the 2021-2022 season, McDonald averaged 2.38 goals against and had a save percentage of .904.

MSU’s standout goaltender, DeRidder, will be missed next season as he spends it with North Dakota. He’ll leave East Lansing standing in fifth all-time among MSU goalies in save percentage, at .916.

Charleson, who will be a junior in 2022-2023, was 3-8 on the year, but it wasn’t necessarily his fault. He made a career-high 54 saves at home against Minnesota in January after facing 60 shots.

Last week, Michigan State added defenseman Michael Underwood from the transfer portal. MSU will still need more defensemen to make for losing Christian Krygier, Cole Krygier, and Dennis Cesana. The team also recently added forwards Gavin Best and Justin Jallen.

For a full timeline on MSU hockey players coming and going, click here to find our full Spartans hockey coverage.