Spartans Return to B1G Play by Hosting No. 8 Ohio State
The Spartans and Buckeyes will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Spartans Return to B1G Play by Hosting No. 8 Ohio State
|Games 21-22: No. 8/8 Ohio State (12-4-4, 5-4-1-0 B1G) vs. Michigan State (8-11-1, 2-7-1-1 B1G)|
|Dates | Times||Friday, Jan. 5 -- 7:05 p.m. | Saturday, Jan. 6 -- 7:05 p.m.|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Munn Ice Arena (6,114)|
|BTN Plus on BTN2Go||Friday |Saturday|
|Live Stats||Friday | Saturday|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | WJIM 1240-AM|
|Radio (Mobile)||Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Ohio State | Big Ten|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook | Instragram|
On The Fly...
The Spartans resume Big Ten play by hosting No. 8 Ohio State on Friday and Saturday at Munn Ice Arena ... MSU has 14 games remaining on the schedule, all of which are against conference opponents.
This weekend's series will give Michigan State four games in a six-day span ... MSU hasn't played four games in six days since March 1976.
Mitchell Lewandowski leads all freshmen nationally in goals (10), points (23) and game-winning goals (3) ... His 10 goals rank third in the Big Ten ... Lewandowski has five points (1g, 4a) over the last three games.
Sophomore Taro Hirose ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 15th nationally in points (24) and third in the league and fourth nationally in assists (17) ... His 24 points equals his season total from a year ago.
Hirose brings a three-game point streak (1-5--6) into Friday's contest.
Sophomore Patrick Khodorenko has a three-game scoring streak with five goals over the span ... He ranks second on the team with a career-high nine goals, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten, and is third on the team in points (18).
The Spartans' KHL line of Khodorenko, Hirose and Lewandowski has accounted for 65 points (26g, 39a) -- 49% of the team total.
MSU is 6-for-12 (.500) on the power play over the last three games and its season percentage of .234 (18-for-77) is 12th best in the country and second in the Big Ten ... Taro Hirose leads the Big Ten and ranks second in the country in power-play points with 13 (1g, 12a).
The Spartans killed 5-of-6 power plays in the GLI and have extinguished 26-of-30 (.867) opponent power plays over the last 11 games (since Nov. 11).
Dating back to Dec. 8, the Spartans have scored 11 goals over their last three games and their total of six at the GLI was the most in a two-game series since Nov. 17-18 vs. Ferris State.
Junior Cody Milan had a career-high three assists on Jan. 2 and ranks fourth on the team with 14 points (3g, 11a) -- two more than his career total entering 2017-18.
Senior Carson Gatt leads all MSU defensemen with 12 points (2g, 10a), which ties his career-high point total from last season.
The Spartans haven't allowed a goal in the first period of each of the last four games and six of the last seven contests.
About Ohio State
Ohio State is enters this weekend's series in second place in the Big Ten with 16 points (5-4-1-0) ... OSU has won four straight games, including sweeping Minnesota, Dec. 8-9 (2-1, 4-1) and Niagara, Dec. 29-30 (3-2, 4-1) ... OSU is 6-1-1 in its last eight games ... OSU leads the nation in penalty-kill percentage at .920 ... Tanner Laczynski leads the team with 25 points and is tied with Mason Jobst for the team lead in goals with nine ... Matt Miller leads all OSU defensemen with nine points ... Junior Sean Romeo has started 18 of 20 games, going 10-4-4 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Of Note From the GLI
With three goals, Patrick Khodorenko was named to the GLI all-tournament team ... Taro Hirose also had points in both games (1g, 2a) ... The Spartans were 3-for-7 on the power play ... John Lethemon faced the first penalty shot by a Spartan opponent since 2012 and denied Michigan Tech's Dylan Steman ... The Spartans scored first and led after one period in both games.
KHL Line Delivering Offense
The Spartans' top line of Patrick Khodorenko, Taro Hirose and Mitchell Lewandowski has been nothing short of excellent this season. The trio, which has been together since game one, has combined for nearly half of the Spartans' total points with 26 goals and 39 assists for 65 points. At least one member of the KHL line has been involved in 21 of the last 27 Spartan goals. The trio is a part of the Spartans' top power-play unit where they have combined for 30 points (11g, 19a) on the man-advantage.
Hirose and Khodorenko, who ranked second and third, respectively, on the team in points last season have helped Lewandowski flourish into one of the nation's top freshmen. Lewandowski leads all freshmen nationally in goals (10), points (23) and game-winning goals (3).
Hirose, the Spartans' top-returning point producer from last year, has a team-high seven multi-point games. His 13 (1g, 12a) power-play points equal his total from last season, leading the Big Ten and ranking second in the nation.
Khodorenko, who was linemates in midget hockey with Lewandowski, ranks third on the team in points (18) and is second in goals (9). He has points in eight of the last 11 games, including five goals over the last three contests.
Strong on Home Ice
Upon being hired, one of the first program goals cited by head coach Danton Cole was an emphasis on winning at home and making Munn a tough environment for opposing teams. So far so good for the Spartans as they are off to a solid 7-3 start with three shutouts. MSU's power play is operating at 31.6% (12-for-38) at home, which leads the Big Ten.
The Spartan power play has converted half of its opportunities (6-for-12) over the last three games ... MSU ranks 12th in the country and second in the Big Ten in power-play percentage at .234 (18-for-77) ... Taro Hirose has a Big Ten-best 13 (1g, 12a) power-play points, while freshman Mitchell Lewandowski has 10 (5g, 5a) ... Nine (3g, 6a) of Cody Milan's career-high 14 points this season have come on the power play.
MSU's penalty killing has improved significantly as they have extinguished 26-of-30 (.867) opponent power plays over the last 11 games, including 5-of-6 in the GLI ... Helping the Spartans' cause is the fact they rank 58th nationally in penalty minutes per game (8.6) as opponents have had two or fewer power-play attempts in five of the last eight games.
Two Spartans on Olympic Rosters
Jim Slater and Brock Radunske will both be taking part in this year's Olympic Games. Slater was named to the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team on Jan. 1, marking the fifth consecutive Olympiad in which Team USA's roster will feature a former Spartan hockey player. Slater is currently playing for Fribourg-Gotteron HC in the Swiss National League. Radunske will be representing South Korea, where he has played professionally since 2008.
With Slater and Radunske set to take part in this year's Olympics, 18 former Spartan hockey players have taken part in the Olympic Games. A Spartan hockey alum has participated in each Winter Olympics since 1984 -- 10 consecutive Olympiads.
More on the Nation's Top Freshman Scorer
After being held without a point for a season-long three games to start December, Mitchell Lewandowski has five points (1g, 4a) over the last three contests. The Spartans are 6-1 when he scores and 4-2 when he records multiple points. Lewandowski has recorded three, four-point weekends - earning Big Ten weekly honors after each. He was named the Big Ten's Second Star of the Week and NCAA Third Star of the Week on Nov. 21 after his four-point (3g, 1a) weekend in a sweep of Ferris State. His other four-point weekends came vs. Western Michigan (3g, 1a) and Wisconsin (3g, 1a). Lewandowski's game-winning goals have come vs. Western Michigan (Oct. 20), LSSU (Oct. 28) and Ferris State (Nov. 18).
The native of Clarkston is coming off a two-assist outing vs. Michigan on Jan. 2.
Lethemon Takes Over in Goal
Sophomore John Lethemon has shouldered the load in net for the Spartans as he has started 18 of 20 games and has been in goal for all eight victories. The native of Northville has improved his save percentage by .037 and lowered his goals-against average by 1.00 over last season. He brings a .910 save percentage and 2.58 goals-against average - which both rank fourth in the Big Ten - into this weekend's series.
His three shutouts are second most in the conference and his last was a 29-save effort against Michigan on Dec. 8.
Gatt Leading a Young D Corps
As the lone senior in the Spartans' lineup for 15 games this season and one of three assistant captains, senior defenseman Carson Gatt's leadership has been essential. Just as important has been Gatt's offensive production as he leads all Spartan defensemen with 12 points (2g, 10a) - matching last year's career high.
Gatt began the year with points in four of the first five games and has two assists over the last three games entering Friday's tilt.
The Spartans have held leads pretty well so far this year, going 6-3 when leading after the first period and 6-0-1 when leading after two ... The Spartans are 8-3 when scoring first ... MSU is 5-2 when generating at least 30 shots on goal, last year MSU was 3-6 when doing so ... MSU is 7-2 when scoring at least three goals ... The Spartans have allowed two or fewer goals a total of eight times this year, going 6-1-1 in such contests; MSU allowed two or fewer goals a total of eight times the entire 2016-17 season ... Michigan State hasn't yielded a first period goal in each of its last four games and six of its last seven.
Spartans in the NHL
A total of seven Spartans are currently on National Hockey League rosters: Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings), David Booth (Detroit Red Wings), Derek Grant (Anaheim Ducks), Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Ryan Miller (Anaheim Ducks), and Jeff Petry (Montreal Canadiens).
The Spartans travel to Wisconsin to meet the Badgers, Jan. 12-13.