Friday, February 6, 2015

Michigan State vs. No. 14 Michigan Preview (Soldier Field)

                                   Photo Credit: Alex McDougall/M-Live

Michigan State vs. No. 14 Michigan

When/Where: Saturday, 7 p.m., Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.

TV: Big Ten Network

For the fourth time in series history, the Michigan State Spartans (10-11-2, 4-3-2-2 Big Ten) and the Michigan Wolverines (15-8-0, 7-2-0 Big Ten) will collide in an outdoor game, but this time around it will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., on Saturday.

Michigan coach Red Berenson relishes the opportunity to play outdoors.

"Every place we've played is special and unique and this is going to be really good," Berenson said. "For me, I played most of my hockey as a kid outdoors and for these kids, they play hockey indoors and it is a treat [for them] to play outdoors. As long as the fans will keep coming, the players will enjoy it."

Coach Tom Anastos also embraces bringing Michigan State to the elements of the Windy City.

"It's cool being part of the event, but what is most important is taking everything in tonight and then tomorrow, it will be business as usual," Anastos said. "We know we're playing a really good opponent and with us coming off a win and [Michigan] coming off a loss, we will have to match that intensity for 60 minutes."

Players To Watch For:

Michigan's Zach Hyman comes into the game with 19 points (Nine goals and 10 assists) in the last eight games.

Michigan State forward Matt Berry leads the way in points with 16 (eight goals, eight assists) and will be counted on for the most part for offensive production.

Key Stats:

Over the last 11 games, the Wolverines have led the country since Nov. 29 with a 42.1 percent (16-for-28) conversion rate on the man advantage.

Sophomore goaltender Zach Nagelvoort is 5-2-0 in Big Ten competition and leads the conference with a 1.87 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.

Over the last nine games, the Spartans have thwarted off 23-of-26 opponent power plays, while going 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) on the man advantage.

All-Time Series:

The Wolverines lead the all-time series 149-128-19. Both teams are 1-1-1 outdoors and in the last edition in the 2013 consolation game at the Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., the Spartans won 3-0.

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.