College Hockey Series of the Week: No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 15 Michigan State

Story posted February 10, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

Just 49 miles and zero points in the standings separate two in-state rivals when Michigan takes a drive to East Lansing to take on Michigan State.

The Wolverines have battled back from sixth in the Big Ten standings and now sit in a four-way tie for second with Ohio State, Penn State and the aforementioned Spartans.

Winners of five straight, the maize and blue have been rolling over the competition as of late, led by Adam Fantilli and Luke Hughes.

The phenomenal freshman Fantilli has 45 points in 24 games, leading the nation. Hughes is second amongst defensemen with 32 points, and both Fantilli and Hughes are Hobey Baker Finalists.

Players like Fantilli and Hughes are some of the main reasons why the Wolverines average over four goals per game on the season, a rate that is second-best in the nation.

Along with elite depth scoring, the Wolverines have steady netminder play from Erik Portillo.

The Buffalo Sabres prospect has 17 wins on the season with a .908 save percentage and 3.08 goals against average.

While those numbers aren’t top tier in the realm of college hockey, they are enough to get the job done for Brendan Naurato and his squad.

For the opposition, the Spartans have made a massive turnaround from last season thanks to new head coach Adam Nightingale.

Even with the new coach, the Spartans still like to play a gritty style of hockey, averaging under three goals per game.

The green and white are led by four players with 20 or more points and leading that charge is senior forward Nicolas Muller with 25.

The main key to success for Michigan State this season has been the emergence of goaltender Dylan St. Cyr.

The Quinnipiac and Notre Dame transfer has a .917 save percentage and a 2.74 goals against average with 14 wins.

The last time these two teams hit the ice, Michigan State took game one by a score of 2-1 and Michigan took the second game by the same score.

Special teams will play a big factor in this series, as the Wolverines have one of the most lethal power plays in the nation sitting at 24.6 percent, while Michigan State has a penalty kill hovering around the 80 percent mark.

Both teams only scored one power play goal in the last series, both coming in game two, and whoever has the upper hand on special teams will have a massive boost in this tightly contested series.

With both teams deadlocked at 30 points apiece in the standings, this in-state rivalry will only get more heated once the puck is dropped at Little Caesar's Arena.

Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email