Michigan State Battles Ohio State

No. 1 Spartans play Friday.

Feb. 5, 1998

Date Feb. 6
Site OSU Ice Rink

Note of the Night Continental divide - After a statistical analysis of the top 12 hockey leagues in North America, it could be argued that Michigan State has the best defensive team on the continent (based upon statistics from the Feb. 6 Hockey News). The Spartans allow just 1.62 goals per game, 0.40 better than the NHL's Dallas Stars.

Not only that, but the Spartans' excellent defense is not necessarily a reflection of the scoring in college hockey. Here's why: Michigan State's goals against average is 0.46 better than the next-best team in college hockey (Boston University, 2.08). It is the largest margin between the Nos. 1 and 2 defensive teams in the 12 leagues examined (NCAA Division I, NHL, AHL, IHL, ECHL, Central, United, West Coast, Western Pro, OHL, QMJHL, WHL). The next largest margin is in the WHL, where Portland's 2.69 goals against average is 0.29 better than No. 2 Prince George (2.98)

Five More Notes No Media Person Should Be Without

1. You could call them butter - No. 1 Michigan State enters Friday's game with an eight-game unbeaten streak, equalling its season-best. Meanwhile, Ohio State brings a seven-game winning streak, the best active winning streak in the nation.

2. Crazy eights - Michigan State's eight-game unbeaten streak heading into Friday night may not be a good sign for the Spartans. MSU has had two eight-game unbeaten streaks already this season and lost the ninth game both times.

3. Powerless - Michigan State, which boasts the nation's No. 1 penalty-killing unit (90.2%), has held its last six opponents scoreless on the power play (0-for-23). The Spartans last allowed a power-play goal against NMU Jan. 9 and have killed off 30 of their last 31 short-handed situations (96.8%).

4. It's like they're tearing down Field of Dreams - Friday night marks Michigan State's final visit to the OSU Ice Rink, a place which has seen many memorable hockey moments, including Neil Koepke playing goal for the Buckeye freshman team. The Spartans have won each of their last eight trips to the tiny building that produces what Ron Mason calls “ping-pong hockey.” Michigan State is 25-6-3 all-time at the OSU Ice Rink and 20-4-3 there under Mason.

5. An eye on the top - Michigan State would move into at least a tie for first place in the CCHA with two wins this weekend since Michigan is playing just one game (vs. LSSU Saturday night).

Did You Know Students turned teachers - MSU head coach Ron Mason faces one of his former players both nights this weekend, meeting former Bowling Green player John Markell at Ohio State and former Spartan Mark Mazzoleni at Miami. All About Alban - Michigan State senior goaltender Chad Alban has emerged as one of the best players in college hockey. His 1.57 GAA leads the NCAA. Some other Alban tidbits:

Alban has a better winning percentage, GAA and save percentage than Robb Stauber had in 1987-88, when he because the only goaltender ever to win the Hobey Baker Award

Alban holds records for MSU career shutouts (11), CCHA career shutouts (9) and MSU season shutouts (5)

leads the CCHA in GAA and save percentage in league and overall games handles the puck over 30 times per game and makes outstanding decisions with it when he does

just six wins shy of Jason Muzzatti's MSU career record (83) ranks among MSU career leaders in GAA (1st, 1.57), shutouts (1st, 11) and save pct. (5th, .893)

Six pack - Michigan State has scored six or more goals in five of their last eight games after reaching six goals just once in the first 21 games.

In the clutch, get the sensation - Sixteen of junior center Mike York's 20 goals have come when Michigan State is trailing, the game is tied, or MSU has a one-goal lead.

Follow the leader - Senior defenseman and three-year team captain Tyler Harlton leads the CCHA with a +27 plus/minus rating. Michigan State is 7-0 this year when Harlton has a point (25-2 all-time).

NCAA leaders - Where the Spartans rank among the NCAA stat leaders (as of 2/1). Note that NCAA stats do not recognize games in the Ice Breaker Invitational or vs. Canadian teams, but do recognize non-conference schools such as Fairfield and Canisius.

   Category                     Team/Individual   Rank   Figure
   Scoring Offense              Michigan State    13th   3.77 goals/game
   Scoring Defense              Michigan State    1st    1.62 goals/game
   Scoring Margin               Michigan State    3rd    2.15 goals/game
   Winning Percentage           Michigan State    1st    .827
   Penalty-Killing Percentage   Michigan State    1st    .911
   Power-Play Percentage        Michigan State    8th    .219
   Points Per Game              Mike York        17th    1.45/game
   Goals Per Game               Sean Berens       4th    0.96/game
                                Mike York        10th    0.82/game
   Power-Play Goals             Sean Berens     T-2nd    9
                                Mike York       T-4th    8
   Game-Winning Goals           Rustyn Dolyny   T-8th    4
   Goals-Against Average        Chad Alban        1st    1.57
   Save Percentage              Chad Alban        4th    .922
   Goalie Winning Percentage    Chad Alban        3rd    .848 

Road warriors - Michigan State is 12-1-0 away from Munn Ice Arena this season (11-0-0 if you don't count Alaska, and some of us don't).

Shooting stars - Michigan State is outshooting opponents by an average of 31.6-20.2. The Spartans have not allowed 30 shots on goal in a game yet this season while MSU has fired at least 30 shots on goal 17 times.

Start me up - Michigan State has outscored its opponents 35-9 in the first period this year and has scored first in 21 of its 29 games. The Spartans are 18-1-2 when they score first.

INJURY REPORT - Shawn Horcoff (So., C, OUT, broken right thumb, injured when he was hit from behind into the boards Jan. 31, will be re-evaluated early in the week).

The fries at the bottom of the bag - MSU alum Mike Watt recently became the 38th player to play for Ron Mason at Michigan State to reach the NHL ... The Spartans are 9-0-1 when they have more penalties than their opponent ... MSU is 12-1-0 on the road ... fifteen former Spartans have appeared in the NHL this season, the most of any college ... Rod Brind'Amour (Canada) will become the ninth Spartan to play in the Olympics in Nagano ... MSU has not had a winless streak of more than one game this season.

Say This About Our Players . . .

2 Jon Gaskins (Sr., LW) a defenseman for his first 85 career games, he is playing forward this year for the first time since youth hockey

3 Brody Brandstatter (R-Fr., D) the ninth East Lansing native to play for MSU

4 Chris Bogas (Jr., D) has led the team in plus/minus rating each of his two seasons and is +53 for his career has the GWG in both games he has scored in this year

5 Mike Weaver (So., D) leading all MSU defensemen with 4-15-19, 12 points more than he had all of last year had the game-winner in the last game at OSU

6 Tyler Harlton (Sr., D) in his third year as a team captain one of five finalists for the Humanitarian Award, given to college hockey's finest citizen last season's CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman and an all-league choice earned numerous academic distinctions for his 3.75 GPA in Political Theory and Consitutional Democracy had a perfect 4.0 GPA this fall leading the CCHA with +27 rating and has had only two games with minus ratings MSU is 25-2 all-time when he scores a point has matched up against two All-America candidates this year (Chris Drury, Bill Muckalt - 10/25) and not allowed either a point while he was on the ice

7 Brad Hodgins (Fr., D) leads the team with eight power-play assists

9 Sean Patchell (Fr., W) second among MSU freshmen with 6-7-13

10 Shawn Horcoff (So., C) will miss this weekend's games due to a broken right thumb 11 of his career goals are PPGs

12 Kevin O'Keefe (Sr., RW) has more than doubled last year's goal total a high school classmate of Sean Berens

14 Damon Whitten (Fr., LW) has not had a minus rating in a game all year

16 Bryan Adams (Jr., LW) made a triumphant return from a shoulder injury to score the GWG in his first game back vs. LSSU plays LW on Mike York's line had surgery on his back in the off-season

18 Sean Berens (Sr., C) has 14-4-18 totals in the last nine games, including a hat trick and a four-goal game the last MSU skater to net consecutive three-goal games was Kip Miller in 1989-90 leading the team with 23 goals and second in scoring with 23-11-34 stands fourth in the NCAA in goals per game second in the nation with nine PPGs

19 Rustyn Dolyny (Fr., RW) leading MSU freshmen in scoring and third on the team (12-16-28) named to the GLI all-tournament team after totaling 1-3-4 in two games

22 Andrew Bogle (Fr., C) the youngest player in the CCHA and third-youngest in Division I (18; 12/22/79)

27 Jeff Kozakowski (Jr., D) a key component on the power play

29 Chad Alban (Sr., G) owns best-ever career GAA at MSU (2.57) second in career wins (77) at MSU and within seven wins of Jason Muzzatti's all-time record among the nation's leaders in GAA (1st), save percentage (4th) and winning pct. (3rd) terrific stickhandler who plays the puck over 30 times a game (not counting saves) College Hockey Showcase Most Valuable Player

30 Joe Blackburn (Fr., G) has a 1.32 GAA and a .930 save percentage

61 Mike York (Jr., C) was the first sophomore to lead MSU in scoring since Craig Simpson (1984-85) was just the 11th American to play in three World Junior Championships averaging 1.22 pts. per game in his career leads all CCHA forwards at +21 has scored MSU's first goal 19 times in his career (18 times the last two years) nine of his 20 goals have come in the first period


MSU leads, 61-9-4
In Columbus: MSU leads, 25-7-3

Last meeting: MSU 2, OSU 1 (11/21/97; Mike Weaver nets GWG in third) First meeting: MSU 10, OSU 0 (12/7/57) Last year's series: OSU won, 2-1-0

MSU has won its last eight games at the OSU Ice Rink, but lost at the Columbus Fairgrounds last year

MSU had won seven in a row before losing the last two last year MSU has been held to three goals or fewer in their last four games vs. OSU after a 16-game stretch of scoring at least four goals vs. the Buckeyes

Player             GP   G-A-P       Pen/Min
Sean Berens       148   71-66-137   54/138
Mike York         101   50-73-123    42/96
Bryan Adams        90    16-32-48    31/92
Jeff Kozakowski   108     9-37-46    41/96
Shawn Horcoff      67    22-23-45    27/62
Chris Bogas       108    11-33-44   77/165
Kevin O'Keefe      65    12-20-32     9/18
at Ill.-Chicago    68    18-12-30    15/30
Tyler Harlton     146     5-26-31  107/229
Rustyn Dolyny      29    12-16-28    10/20
Mike Weaver        68     4-22-26    42/92
Brad Hodgins       67     3-22-25   45/128
Mark Loeding       92     14-6-20   50/127
Jon Gaskins       114     3-16-19    20/40
Sean Patchell      27      6-7-13    12/24
Curtis Gemmel      54       6-3-9     9/18
Mike Ford          93       4-4-8     8/16
Andrew Bogle       28       2-6-8     8/16
Damon Whitten      28       2-6-8    14/39
Chad Alban        118       0-7-7    10/31
John Nail          28       1-2-3     6/12
Matt Kruzich       12       1-0-1     5/10
B. Brandstatter    19       0-1-1      2/4
Mike Jalaba        13       0-0-0      2/4
Joe Blackburn       4       0-0-0      0/0
Mike Gresl          4       0-0-0      0/0
Dan Zaluski         3       0-0-0      0/0
Goalie             GP   W-L-T     GAA    Svs.     Sv. %
Alban             118   77-28-9   2.57   2,416   .893
Blackburn           4     2-1-0   1.32      53   .930
Gresl               4     0-1-0   5.07      32   .821
1997-98 MULTI-POINT GAMES (57)
Mike York (11; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Rustyn Dolyny (8; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Sean Berens (8; MR: 1/16 vs. UAF)
Kevin O'Keefe (6; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Bryan Adams (6; MR: 11/15 vs. Mank.)
Shawn Horcoff (5; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Andrew Bogle (3; MR: 1/24 vs. LSSU)
Jeff Kozakowski (2; MR: 1/17 vs. FSU)
Chris Bogas (2; MR: 11/22 vs. BG)
Mike Weaver (2; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
4 players with 1 each: Brad Hodgins, Tyler Harlton, Damon Whitten, 
John Nail
1997-98 MULTI-GOAL GAMES (17)
Sean Berens (5; MR: 1/10 vs. NMU)
Mike York (4; MR: 1/17 vs. FSU)
Shawn Horcoff (2; MR: 1/31 vs. MIA)
Rustyn Dolyny (2; MR: 1/17 vs. FSU)
Kevin O'Keefe (2; MR: 10/28 vs. Ferris)
2 players with 1 each: Mike Weaver,
Chris Bogas
(Two games or more)
9 games: Sean Berens (14-4-18)
2 games: Brad Hodgins (0-2-2)
Player (Yr., Pos.)      GP,    G-A-P
Sean Berens (Sr., C)    10 GP, 2-6-8
Mike York (Jr., C)       7 GP, 1-5-6
Mark Loeding (Jr., LW)   5 GP, 3-0-3
Kevin O'Keefe (Jr., RW)  9 GP, 1-2-3
Chris Bogas (Jr., D)     7 GP, 0-3-3
Shawn Horcoff (So., C)   4 GP, 0-3-3
Goalie (Yr.)            GP, GA,     Sv%
Chad Alban (Sr., G)   8 GP, 19 GA, .905