Dec 9, 2011

Spartans look to down Wolverines at Yost

By Sean Gagnier
After stumbling out of the gates this season the Spartans have caught their stride and haven't looked back, they have soared to No. 14 in the nation after going 8-1-1 over the past 10 games.

With the new regime of Tom Anastos in place Michigan State has adopted the montra, "100 percent, 100 percent of the time" and it has worked. After losing to Lake Superior State University earlier in the season, the Spartans have steadily climbed in the rankings and boast a 10-5-1 (6-4) record.

Although the Spartans sit in sixth place in the conference, they still have 18 conference games left to play and the upcoming home-and-home series with Michigan looms large.

The Wolverines have not maintained their power from last year, after winning the CCHA they currently sit in eighth place with a 8-8-2 (4-6) record, but any game between these two rivals tends to come down to the last period and tends to remain close.

Coach Anastos has preached that this game is more than just another on the schedule, saying there's something more to it than that.

"They say all games count the same," Anastos said. "True, but some games mean a little more."

The rivalry is strong with many of the players on the Spartans team, with captain Torey Krug saying that he lives for games like these against Michigan.

"You go to Michigan State to beat teams like Michigan,” Krug said. “You know, if you don’t have that hatred for Michigan, then I don’t think you’re a true Spartan. It’s just that confidence thing."

Over the past 11 years the two teams have played to an even 21-21-10 series record, while each game tends to be a tight battle. The two met in The Big Chill at the Big House and the Wolverines soundly beat the Spartans 5-0, but both teams broke even on the season with a 2-2 record.

The two teams are heading in different directions of late, with the Spartans having ripped off eight wins in their last ten games and the Wolverines having just one win since Nov. 5. Despite their trends, the two teams are close in their goals per game with Michigan State averaging 3.2 to Michigan's three.

Michigan State will head to Yost Ice Arena on Friday and hopes to continue their streak of late, the game will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit and Saturday's game between the two at Munn Ice Arena will be covered on Big Ten Network.

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