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Spartans Hit the Road to Face No. 18 Wisconsin

Jan. 10, 2018

Games 23-24: Michigan State (8-13-1, 2-9-1-1 B1G) at No. 18 Wisconsin (10-10-4, 4-6-2-0 B1G)
 Dates | Times Friday, Jan. 12 -- 8 p.m. ET | Saturday, Jan. 13 -- 8 p.m. ET
 Location Madison, Wis. | Kohl Center (15,359)
 TV Saturday -- Fox Sports Wisconsin
  BTN2Go Friday -- BTN Plus on BTN2Go | Saturday -- BTN2Go
 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 | Wisconsin | Big Ten
 Social Media @MSU_Hockey   | Facebook | Instragram

The Last Meeting
Michigan State2
November 11, 2017
East Lansing, Mich.
Spartans Blank No. 7 Wisconsin, 2-0
John Lethemon made a career-high 38 saves as the Michigan State hockey team bounced back to down seventh-ranked Wisconsin 2-0 on Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena

On The Fly...

• Michigan State heads to No. 18 Wisconsin to meet the Badgers for a pair of games this weekend.

• Eight of the Spartans' final 12 games will be away from Munn Arena.

Mitchell Lewandowski continues to lead all freshmen nationally in points (24), goals (11) and points-per-game (1.09), and is tied for the lead in game-winning goals (3) and power-play goals (5) ... Lewandowski has seven more points than any other Big Ten rookie.

• Lewandowski and Taro Hirose (last season) are the only Spartan freshmen since 2009-10 to record at least 24 points in a season ... Lewandowski has six points (2g, 4a) over the last six games.

• Sophomore Taro Hirose is tied with Lewandowski for fifth in the Big Ten in points (24) ... His 17 assists are also tied for fifth.

• Hirose has six points (1g, 5a) in the last five games.

• Sophomore Patrick Khodorenko has five goals and an assist over the last five games ... He ranks second on the team in goals (9, career high) and is third in points (19, career high).

• The Spartans' KHL line of Khodorenko, Hirose and Lewandowski has accounted for 67 points (27g, 40a) -- 47% of the team total.

• The Spartans have at least one power-play goal in four of the last five games, going 7-for-22 (.318) over the span ... MSU is tied for the Big Ten lead with 19 power-play goals and ranks third in the league and 15th nationally power-play percentage at 21.6%.

• Hirose leads the Big Ten in power-play points (1-12--13) and Lewandowski (5-5--10) is tied for second.

• Senior Carson Gatt leads all MSU defensemen with 12 points (2g, 10a), which ties his career-high point total from last season ... His 12 points are tied for sixth among Big Ten defensemen.

• Junior Cody Milan has four assists over the last three games, bringing his season point total to 15 (3g, 12a) -- three more than he had through 53 career games coming into the season.

About Wisconsin
Wisconsin, which is currently tied for fourth place in the Big Ten at 4-6-2-0, is 1-3-1 over its last five games and is coming off a loss (5-1) and tie (3-3) at Penn State last weekend ... Prior to the Christmas break, UW was swept at home by Notre Dame (3-2, 6-2) ... Senior Ryan Wagner leads the Badgers in points (20) ... Freshman Tarek Baker leads the team in goals (9), while fellow rookie Wyatt Kalynuk leads in assists (16) ... Sophomore goaltender Jack Berry started the first game against Penn State last weekend before being pulled for senior Kyle Hayton, who started the following night ... Hayton has started 17 games and owns a .894 save percentage and 2.90 goals-against average ... Berry is 3-3 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .897 save percentage ... UW is 5-6-2 at home this season.

Of Note From The First Series vs. Wisconsin - Nov. 10-11 (L, 6-3; W, 2-0)
Mitchell Lewandowski led all Spartans with four points (3g, 1a) in the series and was later named Big Ten Third Star of the Week ... Cody Milan had a power-play goal in each game ... MSU went 3-for-9 on the man-advantage in the series and killed 6-of-8 Badger power plays, including all four in the 2-0 win ... John Lethemon made 38 saves for his second shutout of the year in the 2-0 win.

Against the Badgers
MSU leads the all-time series, 54-52-3, but trails 17-28-2 all-time in road meetings. The Spartans' last victory at the Kohl Center came in 2016. Sophomore Patrick Khodorenko is the Spartans' active-leading point producer against UW with six points (2g, 4a) in six career games.

Busy Start to 2018
Michigan State had a demanding start to 2018 with four games in six days to begin the calendar year. The Spartans played Jan. 1-2 at the annual Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit, and then hosted Ohio State, Jan. 5-6 at Munn. It marked the first time since March 10-14, 1976 that MSU played four games in six days.

KHL Line Delivering Offense
The Spartans' top line of Patrick Khodorenko, Taro Hirose and Mitchell Lewandowski has been excellent this season. The trio, which has been together since game one, has combined for nearly half of the Spartans' total points with 27 goals and 40 assists for 67 points. At least one member of the KHL line has been involved in 22 of the last 31 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 (11) and points (24).

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 fifth in the nation.

Khodorenko, who was linemates in midget hockey with Lewandowski, ranks third on the team in points (19) and is second in goals (9). He has points in nine of the last 13 games, including six points (1g, 5a) goals over the last five contests.

Specialty Notes
The Spartan power play is operating at 31.8% (7-for-22) over the last five games ... MSU ranks 15th in the country and third in the Big Ten in power-play percentage at .216 (19-for-88) ... MSU has three players in the top six in the Big Ten in power play points ... Taro Hirose leads the Big Ten in power-play points (13) and power-play assists (12); Mitchell Lewandowski is tied for first in power-play goals (5) and second in points (10); and Cody Milan is tied for sixth in power-play points (9).

The Spartans yielded three power-play goals last weekend after they had extinguished 26-of-30 (.867) opponent power plays over the prior 11 games (since. Nov. 11) ... The Spartans rank 56th in the country and sixth in the Big Ten in penalty minutes per game at 9.14.

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 six points (2g, 4a) over the last five contests. The Spartans are 6-2 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).

Secondary Scoring
While the KHL line has provided a nearly half of the team's points this year, the Spartans have received contributions from up and down the lineup so far in the new calendar year. Nine different Spartans have picked up points over the last four games, including several with multiple -- Cody Milan (0-4--4), Sam Saliba (2-1--3), Logan Lambdin (1-1--2), David Keefer (0-2--2) and Jerad Rosburg (0-2--2).

Lethemon Takes Over in Goal
Sophomore John Lethemon has shouldered the load in net for the Spartans as he has started 19 of 22 games and has been in goal for all eight victories. The native of Northville has improved his save percentage by .032 and lowered his goals-against average by 0.83 over last season. He brings a .905 save percentage and 2.75 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 and ranking sixth among Big Ten blueliners.

Young and Productive
With 19 underclassmen, including eight freshmen and 11 sophomores, the Spartans rank as the fourth-youngest team in the nation with an average age of 20 years, 335 days when the season began on Oct. 1. The Spartans have had just one senior skating in the lineup in 15 of the team's 22 games. MSU's 19 underclassmen are tied for the third-most freshmen and sophomores in college hockey.

Freshman Mitchell Lewandowski leads all freshmen nationally in points with 24 and as a whole, the freshman class has combined for 27% of the team's total points this season.

MSU's three seniors are tied for the fewest in the Big Ten and the fourth fewest in the nation. It's the fewest seniors MSU has had since 2010-11 when it had two. Last season, MSU was the sixth-youngest team in the nation.

Note This
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 8-4 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 7-3 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.

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).

Up Next
The Spartans will host Minnesota at home on Thursday before the teams fly to New York to meet on Saturday, Jan. 20 at Madison Square Garden.



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