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Michigan State Hockey: World Junior post-quarterfinals update

How are the Spartans doing?

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© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

As the quarterfinals of the tournament finish today, let’s check out how our Michigan State hockey stars have fared so far.

Happy New Year, everyone. The holidays are over and most of us our getting back to our regularly scheduled agendas this week. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, four Michigan State hockey players have been in Sweden this holiday break participating in the World Junior Hockey Championships. The preliminary round has concluded and by the time this article goes up, the quarterfinal matches will have mostly concluded.

Let’s check in on how our Spartan contingent is fairing in Sweden.

Trey Augustine, Goaltender, Team USA

Trey Augustine started in two of the four preliminary round games for Team USA and he’s looked really sharp. Boasting a 1.5 goals against average (GAA) and a .952 save percentage, he has been Team USA’s best goaltender, in my opinion. It will be interesting to see moving forward to the medal round how Team USA handles the goaltending split. The other goalie, Boston College’s Jacob Fowler, has preformed well also. He has a 2.88 GAA and a .872 save percentage.

Augustine did not get the start today in the quarterfinals against Latvia. The U.S. did win 7-2 so we could potentially see him get another game in the semis but that’s not for sure.

Isaac Howard, Forward, Team USA

Simply put, Isaac Howard has been on fire in Sweden. Through the prelims he was second on the team in goals with five. He also had the shootout-winning goal against Czechnia in Game 2. Isaac has also added an assist. He’s been playing great hockey while overseas. The chemistry he’s formed with line mates Frank Nazar and Gavin Brindley has been extremely evident. They have been Team USA’s best performing line so far, point wise.

In the quarterfinal matchup today against Latvia, Isaac did not score. He did set up one U.S. goal on the power play that was scored by captain Rutger McGroatry. The goal was set up with a beautiful pass from the left circle.

Tommi Männistö, Forward, Team Finland

Finnish-phenom Tommi Männistö has been playing well for Team Finland. They have also advanced to the quarterfinals and played Slovakia today. Tommi had scored two goals in the preliminary round and has had some clutch play as well. Tommi added a goal today in Finland’s 4-3 overtime win against Slovakia. That gives him three for the tournament so far.

Maxim Štrbák, Defenseman, Team Slovakia

Our lone defensive player at the tournament has preformed very well also. Maxim Štrbák tallied a goal and five assists in the tournament and was named one of the three best by the Slovakia Hockey Federation. Unfortunately he had the task of going against friend and teammate Tommi Männistö in the quarterfinals. This game was one of the better games of the tournament so far with Finland winning in overtime. Shout out to Maxim for his solid play overall. Losing in the quarterfinals in overtime is very heartbreaking.

What’s next?

As the tournament winds down, our players will be heading back to East Lansing to rejoin the Spartans. Michigan State hockey has a game scheduled against the US National Development Team scheduled for Friday at Munn. Most likely, none of the juniors’ players will be back in the lineup for that.

Those still alive in the tournament will be back in action Thursday.

Thursday’s semifinal matches will likely feature the Spartans competing against each other. If the results in the Sweden/Switzerland game hold (Sweden up 2-1 after two periods), the semifinal matches will be as followed.

Team USA is currently would take on Finland in the second matchup (1:30 p.m. EST) while Czechnia and Sweden will play in the first match (9:00 a.m. EST). Czechnia upset tournament favorite, Canada in the quarterfinals this morning.

Big Ten play will resume next week as MSU will travel to take on Penn State on Jan. 12-13. Hopefully our full compliment of players will be back and ready to go by then. Later this month, MSU will have a few big time matches against Michigan and Minnesota.

Exciting times are ahead in East Lansing for Adam Nightingale and the Spartans.

Dad, die hard MSU (and Detroit sports) fan, and writer for Spartan Shadows. Certified knower of Ball (and puck). MSU Content Creator since 2022. Central Michigan Alum!

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