Michigan Wolverines Hockey Weekend Preview: Michigan State
Michigan State head coach Danton Cole and Michigan head coach Mel Pearson were both hired over a two-week span in April of 2017.
Each mentor has had a positive affect on their respective programs, albeit in different ways. After suffering through an early feeling-out period in 2017-18, Pearson’s Wolverines went on a second-half tear that landed them in the 2018 Frozen Four. Cole’s progress has been more incremental.
The two traditional in-state rivals meet in a two-game weekend series starting tonight at Yost Ice Arena tied for fourth place in the Big Ten standings, with Michigan owning a game in hand.
The finale of the weekend series will take place in the annual “Duel in the D” game played Saturday night at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.
Michigan is 115-65-7 in games played within the Detroit city limits all-time in games played at five different venues, dating all the way back to their first year of varsity competition in the early 1920s. The Wolverines have graced the ice on Belle Isle (in their inaugural varsity season of varsity competition in 1922-23), Olympia Stadium, Joe Louis Arena, outdoors at Comerica Park, and Little Caesar’s Arena.
Michigan Player to Watch
Junior Forward Will Lockwood
Lockwood has taken up a large portion of the slack created when leading goal scorer sophomore forward Josh Norris went down with a season-ending injury. Lockwood will look to rebound from a goal-less game in his last outing against Minnesota. Prior to that, Lockwood had a five-game goal scoring streak.
Michigan State Player to Watch
Junior Forward Taro Hirose
Hirose is the main cog in the Spartan’s potent “KHL” line which has dominated Michigan State offensive efforts this season. Hirose leads all NCAA scorers with 46 points and is Michigan State’s leading goal scorer with 15 markers.
Other Big Ten Weekend Action
Minnesota at #18 Penn State (Fri/Sat)
Notre Dame idle
#3 Ohio State at Wisconsin (Fri/Sat)
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