Written by Matt Moss
The Michigan State Spartans hockey team will host a very important series February 17 and February 18 at Munn as they play the Miami (of Ohio) University Redhawks, the no. 1 team in the CCHA with a 17-4-2 record.
The Spartans are 3-1-2 in their last six games and 11-7-6 on the season. MSU lost to Ferris State at home on the January 24 and tied both games in a series with University of Michigan on January 27 and 28. The last three games for the Spartans have all been wins, as they defeated Notre Dame in a home-and-home series and downed Ohio State in Columbus, 4-3. The Redhawks traveled to Columbus for a game against the Buckeyes before heading to East Lansing. Miami beat Ohio State 6-3.
The games between February 17 and 18 are the first and only two regular season games between MSU and Miami. The Spartans are going to have to stop some of the key players for Miami. Miami sophomore forward, Nathan Davis has 15 goals and 12 assists on the season and will be key for the Redhawksâ€™ success. Good play by teammate and senior forward Andy Greene, who has 8 goals and 17 assists on the season, will also be essential for a Miami victory.
Spartan hockey has been criticized in the past years for not being as good of a team since Rick Comley took over for Ron Mason. However, there really is nothing to complain about as far as the team goes. The team could use more student support in the student section â€œSlap Shot.â€
In the last three wins for MSU, senior forward David Booth has been the hottest player for the team, scoring 2 goals and 2 assists.
The goalie situation for the series will most likely involve MSU freshman goaltender Jeff Lerg, who has started in the Spartans last six games. For Miami, the goaltending situation is a little different as head coach Enrico Blasi has been switching off from freshman Jeff Zatkoff and sophomore Charlie Effinger. Each of the goalies started a game in their past three series against Western Michigan, Ferris State and Alaska-Fairbanks. Effinger went 2-1 after losing to Alaska-Fairbanks and Zatkoff went 3-0.
These next match-ups will be the Spartans last regular season home games, as their seniors will be honored for their college careers.