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Michigan State Hockey Enters Nation's Top 5, Leads Big Ten

The Spartans are a Top 5 team on the ice, and are closing in on their first regular season Big Ten championship in over two decades...

While Michigan State's men's ice hockey team was idle this past weekend, it was still an eventful one for the Spartans.

Ranked No. 6 the last week, Michigan State is now tied with North Dakota as the No. 4 team in the country in the latest USCHO rankings, trailing No. 1 Boston College, No. 2 Boston University and No. 3 Denver. The Spartans are the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten, followed by No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 8 Minnesota and No. 17 Michigan.

Currently in first place in the Big Ten Conference standings, there's no doubt head coach Adam Nightingale's squad was keeping a close on second-place Wisconsin over the weekend. The Badgers lost two games to last-place Ohio State, the first coming in overtime. With those results, Wisconsin picked up only one point out of a possible six in the series against the Buckeyes.

Michigan State (46 league points) currently has a seven-point lead on Wisconsin (39) in the Big Ten standings, with both programs having two series remaining. The Spartans will host Ohio State this weekend, while the Badgers travel to Penn State. If Michigan State beats the Buckeyes twice in regulation, it will clinch it's first Big Ten regular season championship since 2001, regardless of what Wisconsin does against the Nittany Lions.

If MSU is unable to clinch the league title this coming weekend, the Big Ten champion will be decided the following weekend when the Spartans travel to Madison for a final two-game series against the Badgers.

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