Michigan State hockey falters in opener vs. No

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Maryland came out of the gate firing, trading blows early with the nation's No. 1 ranked team early. The Spartans haven't won an outright Big Ten championship since 2009 and last shared the title in 2012. "I told the guys in the locker room after the game that if we score six goals on a weekend, that's enough to win two games if we defend well".

"Players that weren't even on our scouting reports were hitting big shots for them", Cowan said. "One of those things on our list is a Big Ten championship and we started off to good start, grew as a team and now it's time to go after that next thing on the list".

Chris Holtmann appears to have Ohio State on the upswing, and knocking off top-ranked Michigan State would be a signature win in his first year as coach.

IU comes into the game at 7-9 on the season and 0-3 in conference play after a two-game road trip that saw losses to both Ohio State and Penn State.

Both teams have had a player take their game to the next level over their last five games.

"I think we can become a little bit fooled - If we can't, I think fans can be - of these four games (but) take nothing away from us", Izzo said. Its interior defense is the best in the country and its 3-point defense has improved.

And so, when team leader Miles Bridges discovered the team had only seven turnovers with about seven minutes to play Thursday, he got fired up. While MSU hasn't played great competition in recent weeks, the Spartans still have a great balance of offense and defense for the Terps to deal with. The ball ended up with Flaherty, who was well guarded and took a hard 3-pointer that missed.

Michigan State broke a 29-all tie with 15 unanswered points.

Bears stay spotless in MVC • Alize Johnson grabbed 20 rebounds to go along with his 24 points in a 62-55 win over Northern Iowa in Springfield, Mo. Maryland will put together a decent run late, but this one will be all Michigan State. Cekovsky and Fernando again started at power forward and center January 4 - as they did against Penn State - but the results were different against the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. Martin controlled the puck and skated with it into the Michigan State zone. "He just made plays".

Michigan State's goal is to remain ahead of those teams by the end of February. "They're playing all type of different ways", Cowan said.

"They just kept grinding us from there", Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said. However, the Terrapins are still adjusting to season-ending injuries to forwards Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender.

Since their lone loss to Duke in early November, the Spartans have rattled off 15 consecutive victories with a talented and deep roster.

"It's a rivalry game because it's Purdue, but it could be the Sisters of the Poor walking in here tomorrow and it wouldn't matter", Moren said. "Every team's going to give us their best shot".

Over at Value City Arena on Sunday, the Michigan State Spartans and the Ohio State Buckeyes will be matching up on the college basketball court.

In the Spartans' 91-61 win against the Terrapins Thursday night, Ward was once again efficient with his shooting, taking eight shots and connecting on six of them.

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