Hockey Preview: Michigan State

Audio/Story posted February 23, 2017 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff


Travis Sutton, Will Desautelle and Brian McLaughlin preview Penn State's upcoming matchup against Michigan State.

Penn State had a golden opportunity to solidify their place in the tournament with Minnesota coming in to town. At least a split with the Big Ten leading Golden Gophers would have greatly helped their resume.

The Nittany Lions had a chance to win on Saturday as they led by one with less than a minute to go, but were unable to capitalize as they lost in overtime. Penn State will probably still make the tournament, but opportunities that they had last weekend do not come around very often.

Their upcoming schedule is pretty easy as Penn State travel to lowly Michigan State, who rank at the bottom of the Big Ten. The Spartans have one of the worst winning percentages in college hockey as they have only won six games this season.

Michigan State has one of the worst offenses in the Big Ten as they have only scored 69 goals in 28 games. Their defense isn’t much better as they have given up 106 goals and their goaltending has not been great.

Penn State can exploit the weaknesses in the Michigan State defense as the Nittany Lion attack is one of the most dynamic in the Big Ten. Though they were unable to win against Minnesota, the Nittany Lions were able to score three goals in each of the games on the weekend.

David Goodwin has been red hot for the Nittany Lions as he has had at least a point in each of his past eight games. While he is not really that much of a scorer, his 22 assists are second on the team and he is an adequate setup man.

Denis Smirnov took full advantage of Goodwin this past weekend as he scored two goals in the game on Saturday and had three assists on Friday. He leads the Nittany Lions in points and Smirnov is playing his best hockey for a Nittany Lion team trying to make the tournament.

Andrew Sturtz leads the team in goals with 18, but his production over the weekend was not the greatest as he only scored once over the weekend. His production needs to increase as the Nittany Lions need him to score goals in order to make the tournament.

Currently, the Nittany Lions rank 11th in the PairWise rankings, meaning they are probably in the tournament, but can’t make any mistakes. Penn State has to avoid bad losses the rest of the way and a loss this weekend would definitely fall in that category.

Michigan State currently ranks 50th in the PairWise and have not been a good team at all this season. They are currently last in the Big Ten standings and have only won two games in conference play.

With the losses against Minnesota, Penn State are now fourth in the Big Ten, falling a point behind Ohio State. The Nittany Lions need to sweep the Spartans because finishing fourth in the Big Ten will not look well for the tournament committee.

Penn State has their backs against the wall and are in need of a winning streak to end the season. The streak will start this weekend as the Nittany Lions will sweep the Spartans handily.

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

Joe Esquivel-Murphy's photo

Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a senior from Bay Head, NJ, majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. He has done play-by-play and beat writes for almost all the sports from CommRadio.  His two talk shows, Murph’s Lounge and Road to Russia, covered various different topics as the later previewed the qualification process to the World Cup with the former discussing relevant sports events. Joe also had an internship for Shore Sports Network (an affiliate of Town Square Media) before his junior year. To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Will Desautelle

Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Spanish

Will Desautelle is a senior from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish and a certificate in sports journalism. Will is a contributor for Centre County Report and is a staff writer for, covering Penn State men’s hockey and women’s and men’s volleyball. He also covered Super Bowl LIV in Miami for CommRadio and is one of the station’s editors. This past summer, Will interned at ABC-7/WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. and covered the Little League World Series as a beat writer for Little League International. Will has also completed internships with State College Magazine, the State College Spikes and Additionally, he is a member of the Penn State Men’s Club Volleyball team, which finished first place at nationals in 2019, and is a member of the THON Communications Committee. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @wdesautelle.

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Brian McLaughlin

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Brian McLaughlin is a Senior in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and one of two student General Managers for CommRadio. He is a Play-by-Play voice for many Penn State sports for CommRadio. Recently he has worked as a Play by Play broadcaster for the Y-D Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Previously, he has also worked as a Play by Play Broadcaster for the Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League. He has also interned with the Altoona Curve, the Double-A Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. To contact him please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Travis Sutton

Junior / Telecommunications

Travis Sutton is the director of the production department he oversees and helps create productions elements for varying live sports broadcasts. He also directs the installation of these and other elements into station software. Travis aspires to work in production for a major sports network or national sports league. To contact, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)