|Michigan State (9-15-7) vs #12 Michigan (16-10-4)|
|3/7/14 at Yost Ice Arena - 3/8/14 at Munn Ice Arena|
|7:00pm ET (Comcast 900) - 7:00pm ET (FSD)|
Michigan survived a must win series against Ohio State, improving to 12th in the RPI and getting some breathing room but the Wolverines aren't out of the woods yet. A sweep of the Spartans could move Michigan back into a comfortable position in the rankings; a loss would have a catastrophic impact on the Wolverines at-large chances.
It's been a forgettable season for Michigan State. The Spartans have 1 regulation win this season against a team above 40 in the RPI and it came against Michigan in the GLI; they rank bottom 50 in 5-on-5 offense and power play and have the 48th ranked penalty kill. The season is all but over for the Spartans, but they still have a chance to play spoiler.
|Team Offense||Power Play|
|2.10 GPG, 54th NCAA||16-of-127, 12.60% - 55th NCAA|
The expectations coming into the year were high for this group of forwards, returning production from a year before and bringing in three talented freshman. Things didn't go as planned as the Spartans lost Matt Berry early in the year and the rest of the group underperformed. Tom Anastos needed big years from Tanner Sorenson, Matt DeBlouw and Brent Darnell after combining for 33 goals in 2012, but this season have managed just 4.
The freshman trio of Cox, Haag and MacEachern carried the team in the first half, but when the freshman cooled down the upperclassmen never broke out of their slumps and the Spartan goal scoring ground to a halt.
These teams have played 3 times this season so we know what to expect from the Spartans, a hard forecheck and pucks on net from any area of the ice. The Wolverines have done a better job protecting the puck in recent weeks but they still have had problems with turnovers; a high scoring game is not the kind of game Michigan wants to be in, they have to control the puck and keep an inept Michigan State offense from forcing turnovers in Michigan's zone and limit opportunities in transition to slow the Spartans down.
Mac Bennett isn't expected to play this weekend. The pairings should look similar to last week's with Downing, Clare and De Jong on the left; Serville, Chiasson/Sinelli and Lohan on the right.