Spartans Draw Notre Dame in B1G Quarterfinals
Michigan State has finished fifth in the Big Ten hockey standings
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State has finished fifth in the Big Ten hockey standings and will head to Notre Dame for a best-of-three quarterfinal series next weekend (March 3-5).
The teams will meet on Friday at 7 pm, with game two slated for 4:30 pm on Saturday. Should a game three be necessary, it will be played on Sunday at 6 pm. All games in this series will air live on FS2.
The Spartans (16-16-2, 10-12-2 Big Ten) had to be scoreboard watchers in the final weekend of the regular season as the team in the seven-team league with a bye; MSU could have finished anywhere from fourth to sixth pending the weekend results. It came down to the final game of the weekend for the playoff matchups to be set in the ultra-competitive Big Ten, which boasts five top-20 teams and six of the seven squads among the top 20 in the Pairwise Rankings.
The Spartans finished in a tie for fifth place with 34 points, the third-most it has ever compiled in a Big Ten season; MSU is tied with Penn State, but wins the tiebreaker for the No. 5 seed in the tournament thanks to a 2-1-1 record against the Nittany Lions this season.
MSU is the No. 5 seed, its third time as the No. 5 (2014, 2016) and the second-highest seeding in the 10 years of the B1G postseason. MSU was the No. 2 seed in 2015 and lost to Michigan in the semifinals.
MSU and Notre Dame have met just once in the Big Ten postseason, in 2019 when Notre Dame was the No. 2 seed and MSU the No. 7; the Irish won the series by 1-0 and 2-0 scores to end the Spartans’ season.
Michigan (38 points) will host No. 7 seed Wisconsin, while Penn State will head to No. 3 seed Ohio State (36 points). Notre Dame (35 points) edged out MSU and Penn State by a single point for the final home ice spot. In all, second place and fifth/sixth place were separated by just four points. Minnesota won the Big Ten for the sixth time in ten years with 57 points, and will be idle until the semifinals, when they will host the lowest remaining seed.
In the first weekend of the Big Ten season in October, the Fighting Irish posted a 5-0 win in the Friday game before MSU forced a 1-1 deadlock and won the shootout in the final game of the weekend. Notre Dame visited Munn Ice Arena on Feb. 3-4, and the Spartans earned 3-0 and 3-2 wins over the Irish to compile a 2-1-1 record in the series this season.
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