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Hockey City Classic Preview

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The Wolverines and Spartans face off outdoors in Chicago's Hockey City Classic

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Who: Michigan vs Michigan State

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago

When: 7:00CT. BTN


About Last Week

Sometimes, a team's entire outlook can change with just one game.

Winners of seven straight, the #1 ranked offense in the country received a crash course in trap hockey facing a wall of defenders across the blue line that disconnected their zone entry and sent the vaunted Wolverine offense home with one goal, while an underwhelming but opportunistic Spartan offense won the game by taking advantage of Michigan's mistakes and getting a 29 save performance from Jake Hildebrand.

The Wolverines now find themselves in an uncomfortable position with Penn State two points behind in Big Ten standings, Michigan State five points behind and an upcoming road trip to Minnesota next week. This is as close to "Must Win" territory as you're going to get.

Three Keys

  1. Puck Possession
  2. Limit Mistakes
  3. Score First

Outlook

This matchup isn't trending Michigan's way right now. The Spartan's slower, trapping style works very well against a speed team like Michigan.  Add in 40 degree temperatures and soft ice, this isn't going to be a a skating competition. Goaltending is going to be the difference for whichever team comes away with a win.