The Michigan hockey team has spent the last few years chasing Michigan State. How times have changed.

The Spartan have started the season on the rocks, as this past weekend the Spartans were swept by Ohio State for the first time since November of 1972. The losses dropped Michigan State to 3-3-0 in the CCHA.

Last season with superstar goaltender Ryan Miller, who’ll be starting for the first time as a Buffalo Sabre today, Michigan State started out the season as the No. 1 team in the nation. Now, with freshman Justin Tobe and sophomore Justin Migliaccio sharing time in net, the Spartans have lost to Niagara at home and were blown out by Northern Michigan 10-4 in new coach Rick Comley’s first trip to Marquette after 26 years as the head coach for the Wildcats.

The Wolverines have been waiting to see how the Spartans are playing, despite the fact that Michigan will not be playing Michigan State until at least the Great Lakes Invitational at the end of December.

Milan Gajic, whose brother Nenad joined the Spartans this year, talks with his brother twice a week and has a theory about the situation.

“Miller was pretty much their entire team last year,” Gajic said.

Comley is trying to change the Spartans’ system to resemble the one he used at Northern Michigan. But Michigan coach Red Berenson has full confidence that Comley will turn the Spartans around. After all, the Wolverines started 5-5-2 last season with 11 freshman and advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four.

“I’ve said from day one Rick Comley will do a great job over there,” Berenson said. “But obviously there’s this transition period.”

Of course, Michigan has to worry about the Fighting Irish first.

“I’m not worried about Michigan State right now,” Berenson said.

Back in the groove: Jason Ryznar has been spending a lot of time in street clothes watching the team practice this season. The sophomore forward had a first-degree separation of his right shoulder in the season opener against Niagara. Then, in his first game back against Alaska-Fairbanks, he suffered a third-degree separation to his left shoulder.

But the Alaskan returned to ice Saturday and looks like he’s getting healthy. After Berenson decided to keep Ryznar out Friday, he returned Saturday and picked up an assist on Gajic’s goal in the first period. While Ryznar will not be 100 percent for the next week or two, it’s not going to phase him.

“You have to play like you normally play before you had an injury,” Ryznar said. “You can’t be hesitant at all, or else you won’t be the player you were before.”

The freshman and sophomore defender Brandon Rodgers were kept out of practice because of sore knees from collisions last week. Both are expected to return to the ice today.

Cammalleri scores: Former Michigan forward Mike Cammalleri has made an impact in the NHL, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Michigan’s leading scorer last season scored his first goal with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night to break a tie in the second period, helping the Kings down the Edmonton Oilers 4-1.

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