Penn State at Michigan State Series Preview

Story posted February 13, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Kyle Cannillo

Coming off their first sweep of Big Ten play, the Nittany Lions head to East Lansing to take on Michigan State this weekend. This is a huge series for Penn State, as it looks to build off its three-game winning streak and continue to climb the Big Ten and PairWise Rankings en route to another late season surge into the NCAA tournament. Host Andre Magaro alongside analysts Jake Starr, Jordan Mansberger and Derek Heid talk about what to look for heading into this weekend series: 

For the first time this season, the Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to East Lansing, Michigan to take on the Michigan State Spartans.

The previous series between these two Big Ten foes were most certainly entertaining. In their last meeting, Michigan State pulled off the upset, a loss that sent Penn State spiralling into a four-game losing streak.

Now, just five weeks later, Penn State hopes to revenge it's worse loss on their resume and sweep a struggling Spartan team.

Michigan State is lead by Taro Hirose, who many are calling the best player in college hockey. There is no question he is taking the NCAA by storm.

In 30 games this season, Hirose has recorded a NCAA best 47 points and has separated himself from the rest of the pack. He leads the NCAA’s most productive line, which includes junior forwards Patrick Khodorenko and Mitchell Lewandowski. But despite the lethal top line, Michigan State’s supporting cast is relatively subpar. In other words, production out of the H-K-L triple threat is vital to any Spartan success.

Michigan State’s most glaring weakness lies in their defense. Similar to Penn State, Michigan State’s defense has quite frankly been atrocious. They are tied for eighth in the NCAA with 104 goals against. In addition, Michigan State finds themselves bottom 10 in penalty kill in the NCAA. The Spartans dropped both games to the Michigan Wolverines this past weekend.

Michigan State’s struggling defense is music to Penn State’s ears.

Not only does Penn State comfortably hold the NCAA’s most powerful offense, but its powerplay has been lethal of late. With powerplay goals in each of their blowout wins vs Minnesota, Penn State is getting hot at the right time. In each of the last three games, goaltender Peyton Jones has not surrendered more than two goals. The last time they went three straight games without giving up more than two goals was all the way back in October.

Break out performances by Nate Sucese have steered Penn State in the right direction. In his last four games, Sucese recorded seven points. This passed weekend against Minnesota, Sucese played tremendous including two beautiful wrist shots and four total points. His skating ability has reached another level from the beginning of the season, and his ability to create chaos in the offensive zone has not gone unnoticed. He has 27 points in 28 games this season and is on pace to snap his career high.

 

 

Kyle Cannillo is a freshman at Penn State studying broadcast journalism. To contact please email kcannillo1@gmail.com.