The last time the No. 8 Michigan hockey team saw No. 6 Michigan State, it was skating off a sheet of ice in front of more than 70,000 fans in the middle of a football stadium. At the time, both teams were playing their first game of the season and neither quite knew what to expect from the other.

Paul Wong
Michigan could use some scoring help from freshman Michael Woodford on Saturday.<br><br>DAVID KATZ/Daily

“This game brings out a whole new level of play in both teams,” assistant coach Billy Powers said. “At the “Cold War,” people saw the emotion and the energy they expect when these teams play, but didn”t see the talent. I think the game will be much less sloppy and will be more disciplined with the same emotional high as in East Lansing.”

While Saturday”s game will not be a record-breaking event, it may be even more important for both teams. By winning 3-2 over Ferris State, the Spartans moved ahead of the Wolverines by two points in the CCHA standings. A Michigan win would create a tie for first place, with the Wolverines holding the potential tiebreaker.

“There is obviously a lot more at stake this time around,” associate head coach Mel Pearson said. “We are getting down to the last part of the season. We have played a lot more games now, so we know a lot more about our team and what their guys are capable of.”

On the town: What do 26 college-aged bachelors do with their Friday night off?

If they are members of the Michigan hockey team, they go see Jerry Bruckheimer”s new movie “BlackHawk Down.”

“The rest of the guys wanted to see some girlie movie, but I stepped in and said “No, we are going to see “BlackHawk Down,”” and no one put up a fight,” freshman Michael Woodford said.

Sporting green: Michigan”s elder statesman, Kevin O”Malley, drove home the importance of Saturday”s game to Michigan players off the ice.

Former Michigan center Mike Comrie who centers a line between two Michigan State alumni in Shawn Horcoff and Anson Carter on the Edmonton Oilers called to tell his former classmate, O”Malley, that he has to wear a Michigan State shirt if the team loses. Since Comrie joined the Oilers in midseason last year, Michigan has not beaten Michigan State.

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