State of the Spartans
Jan. 4, 2010
Michigan State takes on the US National Team Development program in a break from its collegiate schedule. The Spartans are 14-6-2 overall, and sit in second place in the CCHA standings with a 9-3-2 conference mark.
The Spartans have spent eight weeks ranked in the national polls this season, and own a consensus No. 9 ranking from both US College Hockey Online and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine.
Michigan State has won more first-semester games (14) than any other in the eight-year tenure of head coach Rick Comley. It's the most victories for an MSU team on January 1 since the 1999-2000 team had 15 wins - which also included a GLI championship.
MSU's 14 wins is tied with Bemidji State and Ferris State for the most in the country.
Michigan State captured its 12th GLI title, second most behind Michigan (13). The Spartans have won seven of the last 13 tournaments. MSU has won three GLI titles under Rick Comley, and four titles this decade (2000, 2004, 2006, 2009), followed by Michigan with two.
MSU's offense ranks 17th nationally (3.27 gpg) and is sixth in team defense, allowing 2.14 gpg. The Spartans are also eighth in winning percentage (68.2%), and its four-game winning streak is the third-longest streak in the country.
Michigan State boasts the country's goal-scoring leader in Tropp, who has 17 goals and 29 points - he ranks third nationally in points and first in game-winning goals (4). Add in the play of dynamic offensive defenseman Jeff Petry (3-15-18, +9), and the prowess of netminder Drew Palmisano (1.91 GAA and .930 save percentage), and Michigan State has three names that will be bantered about in the early talk for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Vote for Hobey will be launched online on Friday, Jan. 8 at www.HobeyBaker.com.
Nine of MSU's 12 returning players who have played in at least one game this season have already bettered their 2008-09 scoring numbers.
In his pre-GLI press conference, Head Coach Rick Comley stressed that the Spartans would need scoring from more than just Tropp and freshman Derek Grant - and the Spartans responded with 12 different goal scorers in a 16-goal Great Lakes Invitational scoring outburst.
Brett Perlini scored his first goal of the season 4:29 into the Michigan Tech game on Dxec. 29, finished the GLI with three goals and a pair of assists to be named Tournament Most Valuable Player. Perlini was playing in his third and fourth games of the season.
Two Spartans earned CCHA weekly honors for their play in the Great Lakes Invitational - Jeff Petry was named the Defensive Player of the Week after he was named to the All-Tournament team at the GLI, and was dominant at both ends of the ice. He had a goal and an assist, and was also a team-best +6 in the two games. Freshman blueliner Zach Jospeher was named the Rookie of the Week; he had a goal and pair of assists in the GLI, and was a +4.
Former Spartan Jeff Lerg was selected as an NCAA Top VIII Award Winner. This is the most prestigious NCAA award given to an undergraduate, eight senior student-athletes are selected from all sports in Divisions I, II, and III based on academic and athletic achievement in addition to community involvement. Lerg will be honored at the NCAA Convention in Atlanta on Jan. 15, and on campus at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday, Jan. 16 during MSU's game against Notre Dame.
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