Spartans and Wolverines Set to Clash at Munn and Little Caesars Arena
The Spartans and Wolverines will meet Friday at Munn at 7 p.m.
|Games 29-30: No. 19 Michigan (13-13-2, 8-10-2-1 B1G) vs. Michigan State (10-17-1, 4-13-1-1 B1G)|
|Dates | Times||Friday, Feb. 9 -- 7:05 p.m. | Saturday, Feb. 10 -- 7 p.m.|
|Locations||Friday - East Lansing | Munn Ice Arena (6,114)
Saturday -- Detroit | Little Caesars Arena (19,515)
|Tickets||Friday | Saturday|
|TV||Saturday -- Fox Sports Detroit Plus|
|Video Stream||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 | Michigan | Big Ten|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook | Instragram|
On The Fly...
Michigan State completes its season series with Michigan this weekend as the teams will meet on Friday at Munn and then Saturday at Little Caesars Arena.
It will be all-time meetings 318 and 319 between MSU and U-M in college hockey's most-played rivalry.
Sophomore Taro Hirose leads MSU and ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 31 points, and his 22 assists are tied for fourth in the league ... Hirose leads the conference in power-play assists (14) and is second in power-play points (15).
Hirose has seven points (2g, 5a) over the last six games ... He has nine multi-point games this season, two of which have come vs. Michigan (Dec. 8, 0-3--3; Jan. 2, 1-1--2).
Sophomore Patrick Khodorenko ranks third on the team with a career-high 22 points (10g, 12a) ... Four of his five power-play goals this season have come vs. Michigan.
Despite being held without a point over the last three games, Mitchell Lewandowski still leads all freshmen nationally in goals (15) and power-play goals (7) while ranking third in points (28) ... Lewandowski is tied with Michigan's Tony Calderone for the Big Ten lead in goals and ranks ninth in points.
The Spartans' KHL line of Khodorenko, Hirose and Lewandowski has accounted for 81 points (34g, 47a) -- 42% of the team total.
Spartan defensemen have upped their production of late as at least one blueliner has recorded a point on 14 of the last 17 MSU goals over a six-game span (since Jan. 12 at Wisconsin) ... Six Spartan defensemen have combined for 19 points (4g, 15a) over the last six games.
MSU has received significant contributions from up and down the lineup recently as eight different players have combined to score the last nine Spartan goals over the last three games.
The Spartan power play ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 21st nationally at 20.2% (22-for-109) ... MSU has recorded a power-play goal in seven of the last 11 games.
Junior Cody Milan has points in three straight games entering Friday ... He ranks fourth on the team with a career-high 19 points (5g, 14a) -- 14 more than last season.
Freshman Tommy Apap ranks second in the Big Ten and 13th nationally in faceoff winning percentage at .584.
Freshman Tommy Miller is 10th in the country and fourth in the Big Ten in blocked shots per game at 2.18 ... His 61 total blocked shots rank third in the league.
Michigan is coming off a split at home with Wisconsin (W, 5-3; L, 4-2) ... U-M, which is 1-3 in its last four games, is in fourth place in the Big Ten (8-10-2-1) with 27 points, one behind third-place Wisconsin and two ahead of fifth-place Penn State ... Junior Cooper Marody leads Michigan and ranks third in the Big Ten with 32 points, while his 22 assists are tied for fourth in the league ... Senior Tony Calderone's 15 goals are tied with Mitchell Lewandowski for the Big Ten lead ... Hayden Lavigne (.902 Sv. %, 2.90 GAA) has started each of the last four games and is 9-9-2 on the year ... Michigan ranks 14th in the nation in goals per game at 3.21 and is tied for 44th in goals-against per game at 3.18 ... U-M is 44th nationally in power play percentage (16.2%) and 56th in penalty kill percentage (76.1%).
Against The Wolverines
MSU is 1-2 against Michigan this season, including 1-0 at home (5-0) and 0-1 at Little Caesars Arena (4-6) ... The Spartans are 22-32-6 all-time against the Wolverines in games played in Detroit (20-30-6 at Joe Louis Arena; 1-1 at Olympia; 1-0 at Comerica Park; 0-1 at Little Caesars Arena) ... MSU is 5-for-14 (35.7%) on the power play against Michigan this season, while the Spartans have extinguished 10-of-12 (83.3%) U-M power play opportunities ... Taro Hirose (1-4--5) and Mitchell Lewandowski (1-4--5) lead MSU in points against Michigan this season ... Hirose is the Spartans' active leader in points against the Wolverines with 11 (3g, 8a) in eight career games, while Sam Saliba is second with six points (3g, 3a) in seven career games vs. U-M.
Of Note From Last Weekend at Ohio State
The Spartans' six goals in Saturday's win tied a season high and were their most since Oct. 28 vs. Lake Superior State (6-0) ... Fifteen of the 18 skaters in the lineup recorded at least one point on the weekend ... Logan Lambdin scored in both games and added an assist ... Spartan defensemen contributed a total of nine points (3g, 6a) in the two games ... The Spartans averaged 25.5 shots on goal in the two games, their highest average in a two-game series since the GLI (28.5).
KHL Line Thrives
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 42% of the Spartans' total points with 34 goals and 47 assists for 81 points. The trio is a part of the Spartans' top power-play unit where they have combined for 35 points (13g, 22a) 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 (15) andpower-play goals (7) and is third in points (28). He has earned a Big Ten Star of the Week honor four times this season.
Hirose, the Spartans' top-returning point producer from last year, has a team-high nine multi-point games. His 15 (1g, 14a) power-play points rank second in the Big Ten. His 22 assists are the most by a Spartan since Torey Krug and Brett Perlini both had 22 in 2011-12.
Khodorenko, who was linemates in midget hockey with Lewandowski, ranks third on the team in points (22) and is second in goals (10). He has points in six of the last 10 games (4-3--7) since Jan. 1.
Spartan D Corps Provides Offensive Punch
The young Spartan defense corps, which features a freshman, three sophomores, a junior, and a senior, has combined for significant offensive contributions over the last six games. The six blueliners have combined for 19 points (4g, 15a) and at least one of the players has recorded a point on 14 of the last 17 MSU goals. Rookie Tommy Miller leads all blueliners over the stretch (5a), followed by junior Zach Osburn (1g, 3a), senior Carson Gatt (1g, 2a), Jerad Rosburg (3a), Butrus Ghafari (2g) and Mitch Eliot (2a). Gatt has been the lone senior in the Spartans' lineup for 21 games this season and leads all Spartan defensemen with a career-high 15 points (3g, 12a).
While the KHL line has provided over 40% of the team's points this year, the Spartans have received increased production from up and down the lineup so far in the new calendar year. Seventeen of the Spartans' 18 skaters have at least a point over the last four games, including 15 different players that recorded a point last weekend. Tommy Miller (0-5--5), Taro Hirose (2-2--4), Zach Osburn (1-3--4), Logan Lambdin (2-1--3) and Cody Milan (1-2--3) lead MSU in scoring over the last four games.
The Spartan power play is operating at 23.2% (10-for-43) over the last 11 games ... MSU ranks 21st in the country and fourth in the Big Ten in power-play percentage at 20.2% (22-for-109) ... MSU has two players in the top five in the Big Ten in power play points - Taro Hirose leads in power-play assists (14) and is second in points (15), while Mitchell Lewandowski is tied for first in power-play goals (7) and fifth in points (12).
More on the Nation's Top Freshman Scorer
Mitchell Lewandowski finished January with seven points (5g, 2a) in eight games and he has 10 points (6g, 4a) over the last 11 contests. The Spartans are 7-4 when he scores and his 15 goals are the most by an MSU freshmen since Tim Crowder (17) in 2005-06, while his 28 points are the most by a MSU rookie since Derek Grant's 30 in 2009-10. His seven multi-point games are second only to Taro Hirose on the team.
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).
Apap Leads Spartans Young Centermen in the Dot
After missing six games with an injury, freshman center Tommy Apap returned to the lineup Jan. 12 at Wisconsin and picked up where he left off in the faceoff circle. The freshman leads all rookies ranks second in the Big Ten in faceoff winning percentage at .584 (187-133). Nationally, Apap ranks 13th overall and second among freshmen. On a team with two sophomore and two freshmen centers, Michigan State ranks 25th nationally in faceoff winning percentage at .508.
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.
Lethemon in Goal
Sophomore John Lethemon has shouldered the load in net for the Spartans as he has started 25 games and has been in goal for all 10 victories. The native of Northville has improved his save percentage by .030 and lowered his goals-against average by 0.80 over last season. He brings a .903 save percentage and 2.78 goals-against average into this weekend's series.
His four shutouts are tied for tops in the Big Ten and are the most by a Spartan goaltender since Jake Hildebrand had six during his All-America season of 2014-15.
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 21 of the team's 28 games. MSU's 19 underclassmen are tied for the third-most freshmen and sophomores in college hockey.
Freshman Mitchell Lewandowski leads all rookies in points with 28 and as a whole, the freshman class has combined for 28% 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.
The Spartans have held leads pretty well so far this year, going 7-3 when leading after the first period and 8-0-1 when leading after two ... The Spartans are 10-5 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 8-4 when scoring at least three goals ... The Spartans have allowed two or fewer goals a total of 10 times this year, going 7-2-1 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).
The Spartans will host Penn State next weekend at Munn in their final home series of the season.