MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.– This weekend, Minnesota (1-0) will face Michigan State in a much anticipated matchup between two CCLA teams who are both ranked in the top-20 in preseason polls. No. 17 Minnesota is coming off a 21-1 win over Minnesota State–Mankato while No. 13 Michigan State will be opening their season with a pair of games on the road. The Spartans are making their first trip to Minnesota and will open their season against the Gophers for a second consecutive year. They will then face Minn–Duluth the following day.
Michigan State last played Minnesota on February 24, 2017–the Spartans’ 2017 season opener. During that game, Minnesota scored the first two goals, taking a 2-0 lead after the first quarter of play. The Spartans then responded with a scoring streak, outscoring Minnesota 10-2 and built a 10-4 lead four minutes into the final quarter. Minnesota then charged back into the game by scoring five straight goals throughout the final ten minutes, though their comeback fell short with a last second save by Michigan State’s Kevin Boland. The Spartans took the first win between the conference foes with the score, 10-9.
The Spartans finished 2017 with an overall 11-5 record, winning their sixth consecutive CCLA Championship and a bid into the MCLA tournament as the No. 16 seed. They were then knocked out in the first round by the No. 1 seed BYU with a final score, 10-8.
This season, Michigan State brings back nine All–CCLA award winners from 2017, including CCLA Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-American Patrick Donovan. They also have Honorable Mention All-Americans in sophomore defenseman Andrew Clay and attackman Bennet Osterink. Osterink led all Spartans in all offensive categories as a freshman last year, recording 50 goals and 25 assists. In addition, attackmen Brett Braun and Charlie Pistner return, keeping their starting attack unit intact. Their defensive core has also remained intact with the return of Donovan, Clay, Bennett Dipzinski, Tom Smith, and Boland in net.
The Gopher–Spartan game will be played in the newly built Eastern Carver County Athletic Center in Chaska, Minn. Faceoff is set for 3:00 p.m.