The Spartans lead the all-time series 82-26-8, which includes a split in East Lansing earlier this year. MSU leads the series in Columbus 35-15-5. Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings in Columbus though. The two teams split the series last year in Columbus.
MSU won 3-0 in the first meeting this year as Drew Palmisano got the shutout. The next night though Ohio State used three unanswered goals in the final period to break a 2-2 tie and pull out a 5-2 win. Ohio State has been struggling lately though going 0-4-4 in their last eight games, falling out of first place in the CCHA, and falling down the Pairwise out of a #1 seed position.
There is still a lot of hockey to be played, but both MSU and Ohio State should be desperate for points this weekend. Michigan State needs to try to climb its way back up the CCHA standings, and Ohio State wants to try to remain in the CCHA championship talk.
This should be a tight series on both ends of the ice, and given how both teams really are at a crossroads in their respective seasons, it should be a lot of fun to see which team simply wants it more. That, in the end, could be the difference.
Ohio State appears to like to fire a lot of rubber on net, so both Spartan goaltenders will need to be sharp. OSU is 5th in the CCHA in offense (MSU is 2nd), 4th in Defense (MSU is 7th). Ohio State is in the middle of the CCHA pack in penalties per a game, so it'd be great to see the power play build off of last weekend's effort and get rolling. Ohio State's power play is ranked 3rd in the CCHA, so the Spartans PK unit will need a strong bounce back performance this weekend.
Ohio State's power play was 1 for 13 in the first meeting. MSU wasn't much better going 1 for 10 on the weekend.
Ohio State has actually been outscored in first periods this season (22-23), and the figures show they get stronger in the second period and third period, as the Buckeyes hold scoring advantages in both periods. MSU has outscored teams in each period, but the first period has the biggest spread (+6), so the opening 20 minutes could be very important - especially on the road.
Ohio State's scoring does appear to be a concern in their recent eight game stretch. A least in a consistent sense.
The defense as well:
They also lost all four shoot-outs they played in, which tends to make it feel like you've lost the game.
So the points are there for the taking. It's up to the team to hit the ice with everything they have for 60 minutes.