B1G Ten Hockey Tournament Preview: #5 Michigan State

USA TODAY Sports

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Michigan State is a two dimensional team. Like Penn State, the Spartans just aren’t very good at either dimension. Despite having a stud goalkeeper in Jake Hildebrand, the Spartans allow 2.95 goals against per game. That type of defense is not going to cut the proverbial mustard of the course of a season. Still, Hildebrand’s ability to spin a gem makes Michigan State a scary team in a one-loss elimination format.

The Spartans don’t have the type offense that can overcome three goals against per game. Senior Matt Wolfe leads the team with 12 goals and 18 assists. Matt Berry is on the only other Spartan with ten goals or more. The goal scoring is well dispersed among the rest of the roster, but in conference play they only managed 2.1 goals per game, matching Penn State (a severe problem).

Because their offense couldn’t close the deal so often, Michigan State led the league with six conference ties. This actually worked in their favor, because they won four of the six shootouts in which they were involved, mostly due to Hildebrand’s ability to shut down opposing shooters. Unfortunately for Sparty fans, shootout ability will no longer work to their team’s advantage. They’re going to have to find a way to score some goals to advance in this tournament.

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