Spartans in NCAA Tourney
* 1958-59 (NCAA Finals, 17-5-1) *
In a campaign in which Michigan State had no league affiliations other than with the Big Ten Conference, the Spartans enjoyed one of their finest seasons in history. MSU went into the NCAA tournament at Troy, N.Y., as the Big Ten champ (5-2-1), and was pitted against Boston College in the semifinals. A 4-3 victory over BC put the Spartans into the finals against a strong North Dakota club and head coach Amo Bessone's icers bowed, 4-3 in overtime, in the championship game. Goalie Joe Selinger and wing Bill MacKenzie were first-team NCAA all-star choices, while Ed Pollesel and Tom Mustonen were second-team selections.
* 1965-66 (NCAA CHAMPIONS, 16-13-0) *
Probably the most colorful of all MSU hockey units was the 1965-66 Spartan team. The club lost three weeks of preseason practice when its home facility, Demonstration Hall, was under repair. Near mid-season, the Spartans had a 4-9 record, but ended up winning 12 of their last 16 games. During that stretch, the Spartans dumped arch rival Michigan four times and then topped defending champ Michigan Tech, 4-3, to reach the NCAA semifinals. MSU won its first national hockey crown by dropping Boston University, 2-1, in the semis and Clarkson, 6-1, in the finals at Minnesota's Williams Arena. Goaltender Gaye Cooley was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and Don Heaphy, Mike Coppo and Brian McAndrew were first-team all-tournament selections. Bob Brawley and Tom Mikkola were second-team picks. Though the team finished in sixth place in the WCHA (9-11), Spartan coach Amo Bessone was named national Coach of the Year.
* 1966-67 (Third place, 15-15-1) *
MSU wound up in fifth place in the WCHA standings with an 8-11-1 league record, but again proved to be a postseason surprise. In the conference playoffs, the Spartans disposed of Michigan, 4-2, and Michigan Tech, 2-1 in overtime, to advance to the NCAA semifinals in Syracuse, N.Y. Boston University shattered MSU's hopes for a second straight national title in the semifinal game by downing the Spartans, 4-2. MSU routed league foe North Dakota, 6-1, in the consolation game to claim third place. Tom Mikkola was the only Spartan named to the all-tournament team.
* 1981-82 (NCAA Regionals, 25-14-2) *
Following an impressive performance at the CCHA playoffs, where they defeated Michigan Tech in the semifinals and Notre Dame in the finals, the Spartans were tabbed to play at New Hampshire in their first NCAA tournament appearance in 15 years. The two teams played a tight 3-2 contest in the opener with New Hampshire claiming the win. MSU ran out of steam the next night, dropping a 6-2 decision to the Wildcats. It was the only time all season that the Spartans had lost two games in a row.
* 1982-83 (NCAA Regionals, 30-11-1) *
Despite capturing its second-consecutive CCHA postseason championship and posting 30 wins, the NCAA selection committee seeded the Spartans No. 4 in the West and sent them on the road to face Harvard. In the opening game of the series, MSU twice had two-goal advantages, but was unable to hold them as Harvard skated to a 6-5 triumph. In the final game, Harvard raced out to a quick 2-0 advantage only to see the Spartans knot the game and keep their hopes alive. Both teams went on to score one more goal to give the Crimson a 9-8 edge in the total-goals series.
* 1983-84 (Fourth place, 34-12-0) *
Michigan State rolled over Boston College in the first round of the NCAA playoffs, taking the two-game total-goals series, 13-8. The sweep of BC gave the Spartans a nine-game winning streak and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Final Four in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Spartans, the CCHA playoff champions, faced rival Bowling Green, the CCHA regular-season champion, in the opening round of play. MSU dropped a hard-fought contest to BGSU, 2-1, which went on to defeat Minnesota-Duluth for the national championship. The Spartans were edged in the consolation game by North Dakota in overtime. Lyle Phair was named to the tournament's all-star team for his two-goal, two-assist tournament performance.
* 1984-85 (NCAA Regionals, 38-6-0) *
Michigan State entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 seed in the West and a strong favorite to win the national championship which was played in the Spartans' second home -- Joe Louis Arena. However, Providence College, led by tournament MVP Chris Terreri, dashed MSU's dreams of a national championship by outscoring the Spartans, 6-5, in the two-game series at Munn Arena. Terreri stopped a total of 83 shots vs. the Green and White, who ended the season with a then-NCAA record 38 wins against just six defeats.
* 1985-86 (NCAA CHAMPIONS, 34-9-2) *
After losing a number of stars from 1984-85's banner season, MSU just hoped to qualify for a home-ice bid in the league playoffs. What ensued, however, was more than anyone could have imagined. The Spartans came from behind all season to win the CCHA's regular-season title, took their fourth-straight Great Lakes Invitational and finished second to Western Michigan in the CCHA playoffs. The Green and White gained the home ice advantage against Boston College in the first round of the NCAA tournament and after defeating the Eagles, 10-6, in the two-game, total-goals series, advanced to the NCAA semifinals in Providence, R.I. MSU dropped Minnesota, 6-4, in the semis, a game in which Spartan goaltender Norm Foster kicked out 42 shots. The Spartans then moved on to the championship game against Harvard. In typical fashion, MSU came back from a 4-3 deficit after two periods to dispose of the Crimson, 6-5, on Mike Donnelly's game-winning goal with 2:51 remaining.
* 1986-87 (NCAA Finals, 33-10-2) *
MSU, the defending national champion, hadn't envisioned itself a championship contender after losing the NCAA record-holder for goals scored and the NHL entry draft's first pick, but surprised everyone, including themselves, by advancing to the NCAA Championship game. MSU came into the NCAA tournament as the No. 2 seed in the West and battled Maine in the first round. The Spartans disposed of the Black Bears, 6-2 and 5-3, to advance to the Final Four at Joe Louis Arena. For the second straight season MSU met Minnesota in the semifinals and knocked off the Gophers, 5-3, with the key goal coming from Dave Arkeilpane, who took a strange carom off the backboards and buried it past Minnesota's John Blue. North Dakota shattered MSU's hopes for a second-straight national title in the final by downing the Spartans, 5-3.
* 1987-88 (NCAA Quarterfinals, 27-16-3) *
A consolation game victory over Western Michigan in the CCHA playoffs helped the Spartans gain their seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. MSU traveled to Harvard for a pair of first-round, total-goals contests. MSU handed the Crimson their first-ever loss at home in the NCAA tournament, 6-5 and 5-3, with Kevin Miller picking up the winning tally in each game. MSU then moved on to Minneapolis for quarterfinal action against Minnesota, a foe the Spartans had knocked out of the NCAA tourney in each of the last two years. The Gophers won the first game, 4-2, but MSU came back in the second match to take a 3-0 lead in the first period, with all three markers coming from Kip Miller. UM stormed back, however, notching four unanswered goals to eliminate MSU. It was the Spartans' earliest exit from the tournament in three years.
* 1988-89 (Third place, 37-9-1) *
A CCHA playoff title game victory over Lake Superior State secured a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament for the Spartans, who were participating in the NCAA playoffs for the eighth straight season. MSU hosted Boston College in quarterfinal play and, after a stunning opening-game loss to the Eagles, came back to take the next two games to win the best-of-three series. The final game was won on an overtime goal by Mark Hirth. Michigan State advanced to the semifinals in St. Paul, Minn., against revenge-minded Harvard, which was defeated by the Spartans in the national title game three years before. The Crimson used a stellar goaltending performance, which included a miracle stop on MSU's leading goal scorer Bobby Reynolds, to key a 6-3 victory that ended MSU's chances for a national championship. The Spartans finished third in the tournament after a 7-4 drubbing of Maine in the tournament's final consolation game that saw sophomore Shawn Heaphy register his first career hat trick.
* 1989-90 (Q'finals, 35-7-3) *
Michigan State earned its ninth straight NCAA tournament bid after downing Michigan and Lake Superior State in the CCHA playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. The Spartans, recipients of a first-round bye, hosted Boston University in quarterfinal action at Munn Arena. BU held a 2-1 lead in game one midway through the opening period before the Spartans charged back to score the game's next five goals. The following evening, the Terriers scored the first three goals of the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock, tying the series at a game apiece. In the finale, MSU appeared it would be making a return trip to the Final Four after holding a 3-1 lead halfway through the second stanza. However, like the Terriers had done the previous night and in Boston during the regular season, BU used a flurry of third-period goals to claim the series.
* 1991-92 (Semifinalist, 25-11-8) *
After defying predictions of a fifth-place regular-season CCHA finish, Michigan State continued to befuddle critics in the postseason, staging come-from-behind upsets to muscle its way into the Final Four. Receiving the fifth seed in the West, the Spartans journeyed to Providence, R.I., to face Boston University. Trailing 2-1 entering the final period, MSU scored three unanswered goals, sending the Terriers packing and giving Ron Mason his 650th career victory. Against top-ranked Maine, the Green and White gave up the opening goal, then struck back with a three-goal blitz, led by Dwayne Norris' two goals and one assist. Mike Gilmore turned in a remarkable performance, making 20 of his 36 saves in the final stanza to secure the win. Making their second Final Four trip in four years, the Spartans met league rival Lake Superior. The two teams matched each other until midway through the third, when LSSU's Mark Astley poked a shot in from point-blank range. The Lakers added an insurance goal and held on to advance.
* 1993-94 (NCAA Regionals, 23-13-5) * After finishing third in the CCHA regular-season race and advancing to the conference semifinals, the Spartans were seeded sixth in the NCAA West Regional, held in the Spartans' own Munn Arena. MSU faced third-seeded Massachusetts-Lowell in the first round and occupied the visiting bench. A breakaway and two power-play goals gave Lowell a 3-1 first-period edge. Steve Suk and Anson Carter each scored to pull MSU within one, but the Spartans could get no closer. Despite holding an 8-3 edge in third-period shots, the Spartans could not score the equalizer, and the "host" Chiefs moved on to the quarterfinals.
* 1994-95 (NCAA Regionals, 25-12-3) *
Following a third-place finish in the CCHA and a loss to Lake Superior State in the conference playoff championship game, the Spartans earned a berth in the NCAA West Regional for the second straight season. Seeded fifth in the West, MSU traveled to Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wis., to face the host Wisconsin Badgers in the first round. Michigan State built a 3-1 lead on Anson Carter's 34th goal of the year early in the second stanza, but that was the last Spartan hurrah of the season. The Badgers cemented a tie before the end of the period on goals by Mike Strobel and Shawn Carter, and took the game in the final session on scores by Mike Strobel and Chris Tok.
* 1995-96 (NCAA Regionals, 28-13-1) *
Michigan State's third-place CCHA finish earned the Spartans a berth in the NCAA West Regional, and for the second time in three years they faced higher-seeded Massachusetts-Lowell while wearing dark jerseys in their own arena. Despite a first-period penalty-shot save by Chad Alban, the Spartans were trailing the River Hawks, 2-0, after 20 minutes and couldn't make up the difference. Lowell stretched its lead to 4-0 in the second period before Sean Berens found the net for MSU. Mark Loeding scored for the Spartans in the third period, a goal sandwiched by two Lowell tallies to make the final 6-2.
* 1996-97 (NCAA Regionals, 23-13-4) *
MSU's fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament paired the fifth-seeded Spartans against Minnesota in Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena. The Gophers broke a 1-1 tie midway through the first period with a pair of goals and went on to win easily, thanks to two goals and two assists from Casey Hankinson. Michigan State received a strong effort from freshman center Shawn Horcoff, whose short-handed goal late in the third period produced the 6-3 final score.