Jan. 8, 2014
Weekly Press Conference
Head Coach Tom Anastos
Joe Cox & Greg Wolfe
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On The Fly...
Matt Berry scored in both games of the Great Lakes Invitational for his first goals of the season ... Berry was the Spartans' leading scorer last season (15-16-31) but has played in just five games this season after having offseason surgery.
Jake Hildebrand was named the Big Ten's First Star of the Week on Dec. 31 after stopping 70 of the 72 shots he faced in the GLI ... Hildebrand stopped 29 shots in a 3-0 shutout of Michigan in the consolation game of the GLI, marking the Spartans' first blanking of the Wolverines since Nov. 14, 2009.
John Draeger picked up assists in both games of the GLI, marking the second time this season he has produced assists in consecutive games (Nov. 29, Dec. 1 vs. Princeton).
Villiam Haag led MSU in the month of December with four goals and tied for the team lead in points during the month with five ... His four goals during the month were tied for the most among all freshmen nationally ... Haag enters the weekend fifth on the team in points (5-3-8).
MSU's 17.65 blocks per game average is second best in the country ... The Spartans have blocked 20 or more shots in eight of 17 games this season.
The Spartans yielded just three power play goals in the month of December, killing 18 of 21 penalties (.857) ... MSU did not allow a power-play goal in the GLI, killing all five penalties.
With one assist in each game of the GLI, Jake Chelios brought his team-leading assist total to nine - a career best.
The true-freshman line of Mackenzie MacEachern, Thomas Ebbing and Villiam Haag has combined for 16 points in playing together over each of the last seven games ... The trio has played together in a total of eight games this season, producing 17 points, which is second most among all Spartan line combinations this season.
The Spartans rank 12th in the nation in faceoff win percentage at .525 (517-469) ... Mike Ferrantino leads MSU in the faceoff dot with a .592 winning percentage, which ranks 23rd nationally.
Five true freshmen have combined to score 18 of the Spartans' 40 goals (45%) this season ... The five players have a combined total of 33 of the team's 116 total points (28.4%).
Jake Chelios is one of 10 players in the nation to have appeared in at least 132 consecutive games ... His streak is now at 133 consecutive games played.
Freshman Brock Krygier continues to lead MSU in plus/minus rating at plus-6.
RECAPPING THE GREAT LAKES INVITATIONAL
Michigan State rallied from a 1-0 deficit to score twice in the third period of its semifinal game against Michigan Tech, but the Huskies tied the game later in the frame to send it to overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the teams went to a shootout, which MTU won, 2-1, in five rounds. Jake Hildebrand made 41 saves, his second most in a game this season.
In the consolation game against No. 3 Michigan, the Spartans got a goal from Thomas Ebbing just 1:23 into the game and it proved to be the difference. Matt Berry scored his second goal of the tournament in the third period and Brent Darnell added another. Hildebrand made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season. MSU fired 40 shots on goal and picked up its first shutout win over Michigan since Nov. 2009.
HILDY STEPS UP
In yielding just two goals at the GLI, sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand was named the Big Ten First Star of the Week on Dec. 31. The tournament showcased Hildebrand's solid game of late, as over six of the past seven games he has yielded two or fewer goals, dropping his GAA by 0.60 (to 2.27) entering play this weekend. His .925 save percentage is tied for third in the conference and his 395 total saves are second most.
Hildebrand's 31 saves in the Nov. 29 win over Princeton were the most by a Spartan goaltender in a win this season and the most by the native of Butler, Pa., in a win since he had 34 vs. Miami on March 15 last season.
BERRY COMES ALIVE
Junior Matt Berry made his presence known in the Great Lakes Invitational, scoring in each game for his first goals of the season. Berry was the Spartans' leading scorer a season ago, but missed 12 games this season, including the first eight, after offseason surgery.
Berry had three shots on goal in each game and was a plus-1 for the tournament.
QUITE A DIFFERENCE
In comparing the first 17 games of last season with the first 17 of this season, the Spartans have scored three more goals (40-37); surrendered seven fewer goals (41-48) and blocked 109 more shots (300-191). The Spartans also have nine plus players this year, compared to just two through 17 games last year.
In net, Jake Hildebrand and Will Yanakeff have combined for a lower team GAA (2.38-2.80) and higher save percentage (.922-.908).
AGAINST THE BUCKEYES
With four points each, Matt Berry and Jake Chelios are the Spartans' active leaders in points against the Buckeyes. Berry has two goals and two assists in six-career games vs. OSU, while Chelios has three goals and one assists in 10 games against the Buckeyes. Tom Anastos is 3-3 all-time vs. OSU.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
Michigan State has won more faceoffs than its opponents in 11 of 17 games this season. Three of four Spartan centers that have played at least 16 games have a faceoff winning percentage of .500 or better: Mike Ferrantino - .592 (119-82), Lee Reimer - .546 (154-128) and Thomas Ebbing - .500 (124-124). Ferrantino's .608 winning percentage ranks 23rd in the nation and is sixth among all sophomores nationally.
THE IRON MAN
Jake Chelios is one of 10 players in the nation to have appeared in at least 132 consecutive games. He enters this weekend with a streak of 133 consecutive games played.
WOLFE CONTINUES TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Senior Greg Wolfe leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 13 points. He tied a career-high with a four-game point streak (2-3-5) from Nov. 29-Dec. 7 and has six points over the last seven games.
ANOTHER SOLID TRIO
Dean Chelios, Mike Ferrantino and Joe Cox have played on the same line in 10 games this season, which is more than any other line combination this season. The trio has combined for 15 points (6-9) and has a plus/minus rating of plus-13 when playing together.
MacEACHERN AND EBBING CONNECTION
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (6-4-10) and Thomas Ebbing (2-5-7) have played together in all 17 games this season and have been linemates since high school at Birmingham Brother Rice. The two also played together in juniors last year with the Chicago Steel in the U.S. Hockey League. So far this season, Ebbing has assisted on four of MacEachern's six goals.
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (6-4-10), Villiam Haag (5-3-8), Joe Cox (4-3-7), Thomas Ebbing (2-5-7), and JT Stenglein (1-0-1) have combined for 33 points so far this season, which equates to 28.4% of the team's total points. Their 18 combined goals are nearly half of the team's total (40).
SPARTANS NAMED TO OLYMPIC TEAMS
Spartan greats Ryan Miller and Duncan Keith will both be competing in the Olympic Games for the second time. Miller will again be a part of Team USA, while Canada selected Keith.
Miller backstopped the Americans to a silver medal at the 2010 games in Vancouver where he was named the Most Valuable Player by the media and the goaltender of the tournament by the Tournament Directorate. Keith was part of a shutdown defensive pairing that helped Canada claim gold in 2010. He finished the seven games with six assists.
A total of 15 former Spartan hockey players have had the honor of participating in the Olympics. Keith (Canada - 2010, 2014), Miller (USA - 2010, 2014), Weldon Olson (USA - 1956, 1960) and Geir Hoff (Norway - 1988, 1992, 1994) are the four Spartans that have been named to at least two Olympic teams.
SPARTANS IN THE NHL
A total of 17 former Spartan hockey players have played in the NHL this season - tied for the second-most alums from any college currently playing in the NHL. Spartans that have played in the NHL this season include: Torey Krug (Boston), Ryan Miller (Buffalo), John-Michael Liles (Carolina), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Corey Tropp (Columbus), Shawn Horcoff (Dallas), Chris Mueller (Dallas), Justin Abdelkader (Detroit), Drew Miller (Detroit), Jeff Petry (Edmonton), Corey Potter (Edmonton), Derek Grant (Ottawa), Mike Weaver (Florida), Adam Hall (Philadelphia), Tim Kennedy (Phoenix), David Booth (Vancouver) and Jim Slater (Winnipeg).
The Spartans will host Penn State next Friday and Saturday at Munn Ice Arena. Games will begin at 6:30 p.m. both nights.