By: Mike Kociolek
Once again Michigan State hockey coach Rick Comley has the answers for final half of the season. With all of pressure from last years CCHA Tournament win and being one game away from the frozen four birth, the start to this years season was shaky to say the least. But once again, Comley has used the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) to get his team ready for the final push of the season.
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Since beating Harvard and demolishing the Wolverines en route to the GLI championship, the Spartans have shown several key ingredients that should prove to make for some good hockey down the stretch.
Going into the number nine ranked Miami of Ohio, the Spartansâ€™ road trips have been less than successful, and with Justin Abdelkader gone to fulfill duties for the nationâ€™s junior team, coach Comley needed a big weekend.
After dropping the first game and being down to a Redhawks team that was virtually unbeatable when taking a lead into the third period, the team stepped up. A four goal effort in the third period led by two Tim Crowder goals gave the Spartans what they already knew they could do; come from behind on the road against a top ranked program.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After that brutal road series the Spartans were on home ice once again where the only thing easier for the Spartans to get than wins was a hot dog at the concession stand. The two games against Alaska â€“ Fairbanks were all but must wins to keep their hopes for a CCHA title alive.
Before settling for a 2-2 tie, sophomore Tim Kennedy gave the Spartans the game winningÂ overtime goal and left a sour taste in the mouths of the Nanooks. A post game scuffle showed that while the team may be younger than years past they are tough enough to stand up against any team in the nation and defend each other and home ice.
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From here on out, the Spartans need to do what they have done in seasons past; step up and play solid hockey for the rest of the season. Since the beginning of the GLI the hockey team is 6-1, and with only four road games to play before the post season, Rick Comley has his men playing with the confidence, toughness, and passion for a late post season run.
Donâ€™t be surprised fans if the Spartans can pull off another CCHA Tournament win, and be what most critics thought they should and could do at the end of the season; be in St.Louis for the frozen four!