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The Battle of Michigan: A Recap of the 2024 B1G Hockey Championships


Courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics


The B1G Conference is probably the most recognized conference in the NCAA. Each season for each sport the conference offers, thousands of fans show up or tune in to support their favorite teams and athletes. That being said, the B1G conference is one of the most competitive conferences for college hockey. The conference includes powerhouse schools such as Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. This year’s B1G Hockey Championship was definitely one to remember. The teams in the finals were the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, two teams with a deep rivalry that goes way back.


Courtesy of Junfu Han/ USA Today


The rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State’s hockey rivalry goes back 102 years, to when Michigan State was still Michigan Agricultural College and tickets were 25 cents. Their first game played against each other was on January 11th, 1922. Michigan started the rivalry off, dominating the game and winning 5-1. This game sparked a winning streak that the Wolverines had against the Spartans that lasted over 30 years. However, Michigan State did not let the rivalry be completely one-sided, as they dominated Michigan during the 1970s and 1980s. Ever since, the two teams have traded wins back and forth, and two weeks ago they got to compete for the coveted title in a cut-throat hockey conference.


Courtesy of Michigan State Athletics


Going into the B1G Championships, the Michigan State Spartans were tied for the fourth spot in the nation, and were the first team from the B1G Conference in the national rankings. Michigan State led the conference in points during the regular season. The team had an average of about 4 goals per game, 36 shots on goal per game, and 250 assists for the whole team through the whole season. During the B1G semifinal game, the Spartans put up a hard effort against Ohio State. Sophomore standout Daniel Russell opened up the scoring for the Saprtans, scoring his 11th goal of the season, with an assist from fellow sophomore Issac Howard. Senior and captain Nash Nienhuis scored the game winning goal early into the final period with an assist from Tanner Kelly. Goalie Trey Augustine was such a force in the net that the Spartans won the game and advanced to the finals. Being the team to host the finals, Michigan State went into the finals prepared to keep up their dominant streak and have the home-team advantage over their rivals.


Courtesy of Hannah Torres/The Michigan Daily


Going into the B1G Championships, the Michigan Wolverines were ranked 17th in the nation. However, their stats were very close to their rivals. The Wolverines also had around 4 goals per game, 35 shots per game, and 283 assists for the whole team for the whole season. The Wolverines have the comeback spirit and fought their way past Minnesota. Like the Michigan State - Ohio State game, this game was also very close. Sophomore Kienan Draper opened up the scoring for the Wolverines with an assist from fellow sophomore Seamus Casey. Late in the second period, sophomore Gavin Brindley scored the game winning goal for the Wolverines with assists from graduate senior Marshall Warren and junior Ethan Edwards, propelling the Wolverines into their fifth B1G Conference final. Going into the finals Michigan was excited to play their rivals. “They hate us and we hate them,” said sophomore Rutger McGroarty. “It’s going to be a hostile environment in there, and we’re really looking forward to it.”


Courtesy of sportingnews.com


Now, the actual B1G final game was something in and of itself. The game was super close with both teams being motivated to come out on top. As the reigning B1G champions, Michigan wanted to reclaim the crown. Michigan State wanted to win their first postseason title since 2006. 


During the first period, sophomore Frank Nazar III opened up scoring for the Wolverines less than a minute into the game. He was assisted by his teammates Josh Eernisse and Marshall Warren. A few minutes later, Michigan State got the power play, which allowed Tanner Kelly to score for the Spartans, tying the game 1-1. 


Courtesy of Michigan State Athletics


As the championship moved onto the second period, the fast paced play continued, with a total of five goals being exchanged between both teams. Daniel Russell opened up the scoring by finishing off a pair of rebounds. The Wolverines answered to that when junior Dylan Duke went to the front of the net and whacked in his own rebound shot. At the end of the second period, Marshall Warren scored with a “highlight reel goal” that was assisted by senior Philippe Lapointe and freshman Nick Moldenhauer, giving the Wolverines a 3-2 lead. However, the Spartans scored twice, giving Michigan State a 4-3 lead at the end of the period.


Courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics


The third period saw the Spartans fighting to keep their lead and the Wolverines fighting to score. After a very close period, Frank Nazar III scored his second goal of the game- a deflection in front of the net- to tie up the game with just under three minutes left. At the end of regulation the game was tied 4-4, which meant that it was to go into overtime.


Courtesy of Matthew Dae Smith/The Lansing Journal


During overtime, both teams played with an electrifying and intense energy. Then, with 13:47 left in the period, Michigan State freshman Patrick Geary cemented his name in the Spartan history books by scoring the game winning goal. He was assisted by his teammate Reed Lebster. The goal gave the Spartans not only their first postseason victory since 2006, but their first ever B1G Hockey Championship win. 


The 2024 B1G Hockey Championship was definitely one to remember. Both teams’ rosters have top tier talent and the historic rivalry added extra spice to the game. Now both teams will move on to the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament, where they will battle again to win the biggest prize in college hockey.


Edited by Giana Robertacio

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