Feb. 2, 1998

Spartan Hockey Takes Three points vs. No. 5 Miami

Prepares to visit Ohio State, Miami

Dates  Feb. 6-7
Sites  OSU Ice Rink, Columbus, Ohio/Goggin Ice Arena, Oxford, Ohio
Times  7 p.m. 

The Week — Michigan State skates into February with an eight-game unbeaten streak following a tie and a decisive victory over No. 5 Miami last weekend. The Spartans (22-3-4 overall, 14-3-3 CCHA) were ranked No. 1 in the nation last week and stand second in the CCHA, two points behind Michigan with one less game played. Friday Michigan State travels to the OSU Ice Rink (1,400) to meet the streaking Buckeyes (16-10-1, 13-9-0), who have won seven straight. Saturday the Spartans face Miami (17-6-3, 12-6-3) for the third time in four games at Goggin Ice Arena (2,200).

The Coaches — Head coach Ron Mason (St. Lawrence ’64) is in his 19th year at Michigan State and his 32nd as a head coach in college hockey. He is the all-time winningest college hockey coach with 797 career victories as he comes ever closer to becoming ther first coach to reach the 800-victory plateau. His records stand at 797-346-62 overall and 508-236-48 at Michigan State. Mason made his record 17th NCAA tournament appearance last year.

Miami head coach Mark Mazzoleni (Michigan State ’80) played for Mason for one year at MSU. He holds a school record of 72-55-14 (four years) and a career mark of 210-107-24 (10 years).

Ohio State’s John Markell (Bowling Green ’79) also played college hockey for Mason and with MSU assistant coach Tom Newton. Markell’s four-year school and career records stand at 40-61-4.

The Buckeyes — Ohio State has won seven games in a row, including a sweep at Western Michigan last weekend. Hugo Boisvert is the offensive star, leading the CCHA in league scoring and standing second overall with 15-23-38. In goal, freshman Jeff Maund (12-5-0, 2.64, .911) has been impressive.

The RedHawks — Miami brings what is now a group of familiar faces after last weekend’s series to Saturday’s meeting. Dan Boyle (12-23-35) and Tim Leahy (9-22-31) lead the offense which still leads the CCHA in scoring. Leading goal scorer Alex Kim (14-7-21) may return this weekend for the RedHawks. Senior Trevor Prior (14-3-1, 2.64, .907) has been the No. 1 goaltender.

The Series:

vs. the Buckeyes — MSU leads, 61-9-4, and 25-7-3 in Columbus. This marks MSU’s final trip to the OSU Ice Rink, where the Spartans have won their last eight games (the Spartans lost at the Columbus Fairgrounds last year). MSU won, 2-1, at OSU Nov. 21.

vs. the RedHawks — MSU leads, 45-12-4, and 20-4-1 in Oxford. Michigan State is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings. MSU won in its last trip to Goggin Ice Arena, 7-3, and has won the last five meetings in Oxford.

Miami Recap — Michigan State took away three of a possible four points in a heavily anticipated weekend series against the No. 5 Miami RedHawks. Friday the Spartans had to come from behind to overcome a first-period Miami goal and 40 saves from Trevor Prior. Sean Berens converted in the third period to give MSU a 1-1 tie. Offense came much more easily Saturday for MSU, as the first of seven goals was scored at 0:25 of the first. Six different Spartans scored goals and 10 had at least a point as Chad Alban earned his 11th career shutout, 7-0.

If you use just one MSU note this week, perhaps this should be it

Comparing Chad — Senior goaltender Chad Alban, who allowed just one goal in two games to the CCHA’s highest scoring team last weekend, is having one of the best seasons ever by a college goaltender. How Alban’s 1997-98 numbers stack up against the only goaltender ever to win the Hobey Baker Award, Minnesota’s Robb Stauber (1987-88):

                                  GP     W-L-T    WIN %   MIN    GA    GAA    SV    SV%   SO
 CHAD ALBAN (1997-98)            26    20-2-4   .846 1562:41    41   1.57    479   .921   5
 Robb Stauber, Minn. (1987-88)   44   34-10-0   .773    2621   119   2.72   1243   .913   5

Did You Know?

Sir Shutout — Alban posted his fifth shutout of the season Saturday night, setting a Michigan State single-season record he previously shared with Joe Selinger (1958-59). It also gave him 11 career shutouts (an MSU record he already owned) and nine career CCHA shutouts, setting a league record he previously shared with Michigan’s Marty Turco.

One-game winless streak — Friday night’s tie marked the seventh game Michigan State has not won this year. In every case, the Spartans responded with a win the next time out, meaning that they have not had a winless streak longer than one game.

Road warriors — Michigan State boasts a 12-1-0 record away from Munn Ice Arena this year (11-0-0 in the continental United States).

Summit meetings — Michigan State is in the midst of a stretch of very important CCHA games. Five of MSU’s next six opponents are in the top five in the league. A “home-and-Joe” series with first-place Michigan — featuring one game at Munn and the next at Joe Louis Arena — looms Feb. 20-21.

Powerless — Michigan State has not allowed a power-play goal in its last six games (an 0-for-23 stretch). Opponents are 1-for-31 (3.2%) in the last eight games.

Students turned teachers — Head coach Ron Mason matches strategy with a pair of his former players this weekend. Ohio State’s John Markell played for Mason and with current MSU assistant coach Tom Newton at Bowling Green. Miami’s Mark Mazzoleni played for Mason at Michigan State.

Six pack — The Spartans have scored six or more goals in five of their last eight games after reaching six goals just once in the first 21 games.

Two few — Just five times through 29 games has Michigan State allowed more than two goals in a game. The Spartans are giving up just 1.62 goals per game, which is 0.65 better than the school record, set in 1984-85.

Crazy Eights — The Spartans carry an eight-game unbeaten streak into Friday night’s game. Michigan State has had two other eight-game unbeaten streaks already this season and lost in the ninth game both times.

Against the best — Michigan State is 5-0-1 against ranked opponents this season.

Top five — Each of Michigan State’s top five goal scorers had a goal Saturday night.

Did You Know?

Amazing Alban — Senior goaltender Chad Alban won his 54th career CCHA game Saturday, tying him with Jason Muzzatti for the most CCHA wins by an MSU goaltender. Some other Alban tidbits:

• ranks among NCAA leaders in goals-against average (1.57), save percentage (.921) and winning percentage (.846) (new rankings to be released Tuesday)

• called by Ron Mason the greatest puck-handling and decision-making goaltender he has ever coached or ever will coach, he touches the puck over 30 times per game (not counting saves)

• leads the CCHA in GAA and save percentage in both league and overall games

• just six wins shy of Jason Muzzatti’s MSU career record (83)

• ranks among MSU career leaders in GAA (1st, 2.57), shutouts (1st, 11), save percentage (5th, .893), games played (2nd, 118) and saves (6th, 2,416)

Follow the leader — Senior defenseman and three-year team captain Tyler Harlton leads the CCHA with a +27 plus/minus rating. Saturday night, Michigan State improved to 25-2 all-time when Harlton has a point (7-0 this year).

Approaching 800 —Head coach Ron Mason is just three victories shy of becoming the first college coach to record 800 in his career.

Super Sean — Senior center Sean Berens has a nine-game point-scoring streak, equalling his career high. He has 14-4-18 totals in that time. Berens stands tied for second nationally with nine power-play goals.

In the clutch, get the sensation — Sixteen of junior center Mike York’s 20 goals have come when Michigan State is trailing, the game is tied, or MSU has a one-goal lead.

Shooting stars — Michigan State outshoots its opponents by an average of 11.4 shots per game (31.6-20.2).

Comebackers — Michigan State salvaged a tie Friday night after trailing 1-0 after two periods. MSU is 1-1-2 when trailing after two this year, meaning that three out of the four time they have been behind in the second intermission, the Spartans have come back to at least tie the game.

100 Grand — Munn Ice Arena has welcomed over 100,000 fans in 1997-98, the 17th consecutive season MSU has that attendance mark.

NEW: AUDIO UPDATES — A new way for media and fans to hear from MSU hockey players and coaches is available at www.msuspartans.com. A several-minute sound clip will be updated four times a week, featuring a player of the game within an hour of each game, a player or coach by 2:30 p.m. Monday and Hobey Baker candidate Chad Alban by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

1997-98 Multi-Point Games (57) 
Mike York (11; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Rustyn Dolyny (8; MR: 1/31vs. MIA)
Sean Berens (8; MR: 1/16 vs. UAF)
Kevin O’Keefe (6; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Bryan Adams (6; MR: 11/15 vs. Mank.)
Shawn Horcoff (5; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Andrew Bogle (3; 1/24 vs. LSSU)
Mike Weaver (2; 1/31 vs. MIA)
Jeff Kozakowski (2; MR: 1/17 vs. FSU)
Chris Bogas (2; MR: 11/22 vs. BG)
Brad Hodgins (1; 1/10 vs. NMU)
Tyler Harlton (1; 12/6 vs. BG)
Damon Whitten (1; 11/22 vs. BG)
John Nail (1; 10/31 vs. ND)
1997-98 Multi-Goal Games (17) 
Sean Berens (5; MR: 1/10 vs. NMU)
Mike York (4; MR: 1/17 vs. FSU)
Shawn Horcoff (2; 1/31 vs. MIA)
Rustyn Dolyny (2; MR: 1/17 vs. FSU)
Kevin O’Keefe (2; MR: 10/28 vs. FSU)
Mike Weaver (1; 12/28 vs. Mich.)
Chris Bogas (1; 11/22 vs. BG)
Current Point-Scoring Streaks (two games or more)
9 games: Sean Berens (14-4-18)
2 games: Brad Hodgins (0-2-2)
Upcoming Milestones
800 career wins: Ron Mason has 797
150 games played: Sean Berens has 148
50 career points: Bryan Adams has 48

ON THE AIR

Television Michigan State games will appear at least 23 times on television this season, often coast-to-coast. Five Spartan regular-season games are featured as the CCHA Game of the Week on FOX Sports Net. MSU also will be televised locally for the 21st consecutive season, as Media One broadcasts 12 home games.

Radio All Spartan games can be heard on WVFN-AM 730, with Scott Moore calling the action. Volunteer assistant coach Willie Mitchell provides color commentary. That broadcast is available by calling TEAMLINE at (800) 846-4700 (code #5300) and using a Visa or Master-Card. All Michigan State radio broadcasts can also be heard live on the Internet, free of charge, at http://drew. audionet.com/acsn/hockey

Coach’s Shows Head coach Ron Mason’s radio show is hosted by long-time Munn Arena public address announcer Jerry Marshall at Reno’s East Sports Bar in East Lansing. The show runs from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and is on WILS-AM 1320. Coach Mason’s TV show is on the air Sundays at noon on Ch. 53. It is hosted by Tim Staudt.

WWW The team home page is: http://www.msuspartans. com. This release, other MSU information and features are updated daily. The 1997-98 media guide is currently available on the site.

QUOTING COACH MASON

On the Miami series: “As good as Saturday night was, for three periods Friday night we were as good as it gets, we just couldn’t get the puck past Trevor Prior. But after looking at the way Friday night’s game went, I’ll take the three points. We are still in position to finish first, and that’s all you can ask.”

On the upcoming weekend: “Friday night we will be going to that small rink at Ohio State, where it’s what I call ping-pong hockey. The puck is bouncing all over the place and it will be physical. “Then we have to go to Miami the next night. They will be ready for us, especially after Saturday night’s game.”

 SPARTANS IN THE CCHA
1997-98 Standings
Team                   (Overall)      League  Pts
1. Michigan            (22-6-1)      16-4-1   33
2. MICHIGAN STATE      (22-3-4)      14-3-3   31
3. Miami               (17-6-3)      12-6-3   27
4. Northern Michigan   (14-10-4)     12-8-3   27
5. Ohio State          (16-10-1)     13-9-0   26
6. Lake Superior       (12-11-4)      9-9-4   22
7. Ferris State        (11-13-3)      8-9-3   19
7. Notre Dame          (13-13-3)     8-10-3   19
9. Alaska Fairbanks     (9-17-2)     6-16-1   13
10. Western Michigan    (5-22-2)     4-15-1    9
11. Bowling Green       (5-21-2)     3-15-2    8
LAST WEEK’S POLLS
U.S. College Hockey Online (1/27)
1. MICHIGAN STATE (17)      278
2. North Dakota (9)         262
3. Boston University        226
4. New Hampshire (4)        220
5. Miami                    170
6. Wisconsin                120
7. Michigan                 112
8. Boston College            94
9. St. Cloud                 85
10. Yale                     54
OTHERS: Colgate 10, Northeastern 8, Colorado College 6, Clarkson 3,
Cornell 2.
USA Today/Amer. Hockey Mag. (1/27)
1. MICHIGAN STATE (6)      95
2. North Dakota (2)        82
3. New Hampshire (1)       81
4. Boston University (1)   75
5. Miami                   51
6. Boston College          40
7. Wisconsin               35
8. St. Cloud               31
9. Yale                    29
10. Michigan               24
OTHERS: Northeastern 6, PRINCETON 1.
MSU WEEK-BY-WEEK IN THE POLLS
       USCHO   USA Today   WMEB   WMPL
10/6    3      -           -      -
10/13   2      -           -      -
10/20   2      2           2      -
10/27   2      -           2      -
11/3    4      6           4      4
11/10   3      3           4      3
11/17   1      1           1      1 
11/24   1      1           1      1   
12/1    1      1           1      1
12/8    2      2           2      2
12/15   2      2           2      -
12/30   2      2           -      -
1/6     3      2           -      3
1/13    2      1           -      2
1/20    2      2           -      2
1/27    1      1           -      1