Michigan State hockey

© MATTHEW DAE SMITH/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Adam Nightingale and the resurgence of Michigan State hockey

Adam Nightingale was hired to turn the Michigan State hockey program around and he’s off to a running start.

When is the last time anyone has been excited to hear about what Michigan State hockey is doing? The magical run of that 2007 National Championship team is a distant memory. Recruiting had fallen flat.

Something had to give.

With the renovation of Munn Arena nearly complete, Michigan State is once again the talk around college hockey. It certainly has been a while. I, for one, can’t remember being this excited about a coaching hire like Adam Nightingale. The excitement was there with Danton Cole, but that excitement quickly faded after the losses piled up. This included embarrassing blowout losses to arch-rival Michigan.

Michigan State was in the cellar where they had been for the final few years of Tom Anastos. Spartan hockey fans have been patient — maybe a bit too patient — waiting on results.

In came Nightingale. Vowing to return Spartan hockey to national prominence, he got right to work. He hit the recruiting trail hard. In Nightingale’s first season, by god, the results are there.

I know, I know, small sample size but when is the last time we saw this team compete? In the last two seasons combined, the Spartans won 11 total games. Through 12 games this season, the Spartans have eight in the win column, including a four-game win streak and a recent sweep of 10th-ranked Ohio State. They also sit atop the conference with a respectable 4-1-1 record.

We will certainly find out what Nightingale’s team is made of in the next few series, starting with a two-game set at No. 6 Penn State this weekend followed by a visit to Miami (OH) next weekend.

Can the Spartans compete with the big boys (i.e. Minnesota, Michigan)? The jury is still out on Nightingale. Can he turn this program around? Only time will tell. But as of now, he’s got this team on the right track.

If he can get his team to compete and finish strong, the sky’s the limit.

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