Most Played, Most Fierce: Rivalry Games vs. UM on Tap
Spartans ready for sold-out game at Munn Friday
Feb. 8, 2012
|No. 17 Michigan State vs. No. 4/6 Michigan|
|Dates||Friday-Saturday, Feb. 10-11, 2012|
|Game Times||7:35 p.m.|
|Location|| (F) East Lansing, Mich.;   Munn Ice Arena (Cap. 6,470; 200x85)
(F) Detroit, Mich.;   Joe Louis Arena (Cap. 20,058; 200x85)
|Televison|| (F) Big Ten Network DirecTV Ch. 610; Dish Network Ch. 439)
(S) FS Detroit DirecTV Ch. 663; Dish Network Ch. 430)
|Radio||(F) WJIM 1240 AM | (S) WVFN 730 AM|
|Tickets||(F) Munn Seating Chart | Ticket Info
Standing Room Only tickets remain; seats sold out
(S) JLA Seating Chart | Ticket Info
|Game Notes||Download PDF (MSU)
Download PDF (UM)
|Internet Coverage||(F) Live Stats | Live Audio|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook|
|Press Conference Video||Head Coach Tom Anastos
Captain Torey Krug
|Press Conference Audio||Head Coach Tom Anastos | Torey Krug|
|Promotions||(F) Chuck-a-Puck, Post-game autographs (captains).|
MSU prepares a home-and-Joe series with Michigan this weekend. Arguably the fiercest rivalry in the sport of college hockey, the teams face off for the 288th time on Friday evening in East Lansing, then will play No. 289 on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
On the radio, all games will be carried by the Spartan Sports Network. Friday's game will air live on WJIM 1240 AM, and Saturday's will be on WVFN 730 AM. Scott Moore and Rob Woodward are in their seventh season together on the call of Spartan hockey.
Friday will air on the Big Ten Network, with Dan Kelly and Rob Andringa on the call; Lisa Byington will be rinkside. Saturday's game at Joe Louis Arena will be called by Ken Daniels and Darren Elliot for Fox Sports Detroit, with Shannon Hogan handling rinkside duties.
Live audio on the internet can be found at www.spartansportsnetwork.com.
Michigan State trails the all-time series with the Wolverines by a 124-142-19 margin. So far this season, the Spartans fell behind 4-1 but rallied before falling short at Yost, 4-3; Skated to a 3-3 tie and won the shootout in the game at Munn, and fell in an overtime heartbreaker (3-2) in the finals of the Great Lakes Invitational.
At Munn Ice Arena, the Spartans own a 63-48-10 mark against their archrival, which includes an overtime win last year and 3-3 tie earlier this season.
The Spartans own an 85-55-6 all-time record in games played at Joe Louis Arena, which includes an 18-23-5 mark againt the Wolverines. The Spartans snapped a six-game winless streak against Michigan in regular-season (non-GLI) games at Joe Louis Arena (0-3-3) with the 2-1 win in the game at the Joe last season. It was MSU's first win in the annual second-semester grudge match at the Joe since March 6, 2004 (1-0).
This weekend across the CCHA, the coaching staffs of all 11 teams will band together to help raise awareness for Dechenne (pronounced doo-shin), muscular dystrophy. The Ice Duchenne project is spearheaded by Western Michigan assistant coach Rob Facca, who's four year old son Louie has been diagnosed with Duchenne's.
Duchenne's muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood, affecting approximately one in 3,500 boys worldwide. The disease results in the degeneration of muscle and affects the legs, heart, lungs and brain. While there is no cure, aggressive therapy and treatments have helped Louie and many boys around the world slow the effect of the disease.
More information on the Western Michigan initiative for Ice Duchenne can be found at http://www.wmubroncos.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4600&ATCLID=205376176
With this series now at 287 games played between the two rivals, this is the most-played rivalry in college hockey - and certainly qualifies among the most heated.
College Hockey's Most-Played Rivalries (through Feb. 5).
Teams First Gm. GP Series Michigan State vs Michigan 1922 287 UM: 144-124-19 Colorado College vs Denver 1949-50 281 DU: 156-110-15 North Dakota vs Minnesota 1948 277 MN: 134-129-14 Minnesota vs Michigan Tech 1922 265 MN: 172-77-15 Minnesota vs Michigan 1923 259 MN: 128-117-14
Michigan has won 144 games in this series, but 41 of those wins came between 1922 and 1957. The Spartans recorded only two victories in that span. There is a five-game discrepancy between MSU and U-M's all-time series records, tracing back to a discrepancy in records from the early 1920's. The MSU records have four more Wolverine victories and one for the Spartans.
All-America candidate Torey Krug (goal, two assists) and classmate Anthony Hayes each finished with three points, and MSU had six different goal scorers as the Spartans rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to down Ohio State 6-3 on Friday evening. The win snapped a two-game losing skid and three-game winless streak.
Krug earned first star honors for the second straight night with a goal and an assist, senior Brett Perlini and sophomore Greg Wolfe each had a pair of helpers as Michigan State earned a sweep of the Buckeyes with a 3-2 victory on Saturday. The Spartans took a 3-0 lead, and despite a pair of late-second-period tallies by the home team, the Spartans came out victorious. Will Yanakeff made 33 saves on the heels of a 41-save performance on Friday, and freshman Matt Berry had his second goal in as many nights.
Much of the first-semester talk about Michigan was the program's slow start, but a GLI championship has springboarded the Wolverines to a 8-1-1 record in 2012. Freshman Alex Guptill and junior Chris Brown share the team scoring lead with 27 points, while David Wohlberg (26) and Lee Moffie (23) follow. (Brown will miss Friday's game thanks to a DQ in Michigan's most recent game against Miami). Senior Shawn Hunwick has carried the bulk of the load in net, playing 21 games and boasting a .939 save percentage and 1.92 GAA.
This weekend's series features the CCHA's top two offenses - MIchigan is averaging 3.40 goals per game, to the Spartans' 3.13. Michigan's team defense is at 2.23 goals per game, best in the league and fifth nationally.
From its opening-day roster of 27 athletes, the Spartans have lost three skaters to injury for the season, and one player (senior Kyle McMahon) left the team for personal reasons. Freshman Justin Hoomaian (leg injury) played the opening five games before being injured, but will miss the remainder of the season, and has applied for a medical redshirt.
Freshman Branden Carney fractured his C1 and C2 vertebrae on Thursday, Nov. 3. Carney returned to campus in late November, and is enrolled for spring semester. He remains under the care of neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Bill.
On Oct. 25, junior Zach Golembiewski decided to end his competitive hockey career on the advice of medical professionals after the discovery of an underlying issue that was hindering any improvement after a back injury.
The Spartans added freshman Nathan Phillips to the roster for the spring semester. The 6-1, 165-pound goaltender most recently played for Winnipeg South Blues.
The Spartan hockey team turned in a combined fall semester grade point average of 3.0613, the highest single-semester GPA since the department's Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) started keeping records in 1997. Additionally, the team now has a cumulative GPA of 3.0805, the second-highest cumulative GPA in the same time frame.
Ten current players received Academic All-Big Ten honors in spring 2011 for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
MSU had 17 of its 25 varsity athletic teams achieve a 3.0 GPA in the fall 2011 semester.
The Spartans are at No. 17 in the USCHO.com poll and are receiving votes in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today survey. MSU has been ranked in at least one poll since Nov. 21.
The Spartans sit in seventh place in the CCHA standings with 35 points, one point behind the three teams tied for fourth place (Miami, Ohio State, and Notre Dame), and have games in hand on both Miami and OSU and have their two-game series against the Irish remaining. The Spartans are three points behind third-place Michigan and four points behind Western Michigan in second place. .
MSU recorded its 15th victory of the season with a 6-3 and 3-2 sweep of No. 10 Ohio State last week, matching last year's win total. The Spartans improved to 5-1-1 this season against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.
Michigan State has scored 94 goals in 30 games this season, and is on pace to surpass the 98 scored last year. MSU is second in the league and 15th nationally (3.13 goals per game).
With two wins last weekend in Columbus, Spartans, who had not won a road CCHA game since Nov. 18 at Northern Michigan, registered their second road sweep of the season and first since a November set at Western Michigan. MSU had gone 0-2-1 in its previous three conference games.
Former Spartan skater (1982-85) and assistant coach Tom Anastos takes the reigns of the MSU hockey program for the 2011-12 season, becoming just the sixth head coach in program history. Anastos spent the previous 13 seasons as CCHA commissioner.
Anastos is one of nine new head coaches in college hockey in 2011-12, not including Penn State (which will begin play next season with Guy Gadowsky at the helm).
Of those nine new coaches, Anastos is one of the three that faced a ranked team in his coaching debut with his new team. Providence's Nate Leaman's maiden voyage was a win over No. 17 Boston University, while Princeton's Bob Prier skated to a 2-2 tie with then-No. 3/6 Yale.
Of MSU's four head coaches in the modern era, it took Tom Anastos the fewest games of any of them to reach his first 10 wins. Win #10 for Rick Comley came in game #20, a January game vs. Alaska. It took Ron Mason 27 games to get to 10 wins, and it took Amo Bessone 34 contests - he did not get his 10th career victory at MSU until his second season as the head coach.
Among college hockey's nine new coaches this season, Anastos was also the first to 10 victories, on Dec. 3.
MSU has nine seniors on the roster this season, the largest senior class since the 1977-78 campaign under Amo Bessone, which had 10.
In the Rick Comley era, the Spartans owned a 42-32-7 record in games against non-conference teams. (This includes regular-season, tournament, and NCAA Tournament games). Last year, MSU went 4-2-2 against non-conference teams, and is currently 5-1-1 this season against teams from the other four leagues. MSU played one non-conference game, the GLI final, against league archrival Michigan.
MSU's 2011-12 schedule has three games against WCHA competition (two against Minnesota, and against Michigan Tech in the GLI) in addition one against Hockey East frontrunner Boston College. The Spartans also had a two-game set against Robert Morris at Munn, and one game against Air Force for three total games against Atlantic Hockey.
This season, MSU will play 24 games against nine teams in this week's USCHO Top 20 poll. So far, MSU is 8-5-4 in games played against Top 20 competition, and 5-1-1 against teams ranked in the top five at the time of the game.
The 13 opponents MSU has played this season are a combined 189-139-49 (.566) this season. Twelve of the 13 of them have a dozen or more wins, and only one - Bowling Green - is under .500. Minnesota, which MSU beat and tied, leads the country with 19 victories. In addition, the Spartans have played the leaders in two of the four other Division I conferences (MSU does not have an ECAC team on its schedule this season, Air Force leads Atlantic Hockey, Minnesota leads the WCHA).
MSU's five non-conference opponents are a combined 76-51-13 (.589).
MSU has three two-game series remaining, all in conference play. Two of those three opponents are currently among the top 10 in the pairwise ranking, the main tool used in selecting the NCAA Tournament field. Michigan (4th) and Notre Dame (10th) are two of MSU's seven opponents in the Pairwise top 16.
MSU is tied for 13th in the most recent PWR, which (combined with its challenging schedule remaining) has the Spartans very much in the thick of the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Ten of MSU's opponents are among the 31 teams "under consideration" in the pairwise - the Spartans are 9-9-2 against seven of them, with two games remaining against Michigan, Notre Dame, and Alaska.
MSU recorded its 10th victory of the season on Dec. 3. It is the earliest MSU has owned 10 victories since the 2007-08 season, when win No. 10 came on Dec. 1 vs. LSSU.
On Feb. 4, the Spartans reached 15 victories, tying its win total from the 2010-11 season. MSU won 19 games in 2009-10, and 10 in 2008-09.
MSU had three straight CCHA weekends at home to start January (Miami, Northern Michigan, and Lake Superior), and went 2-2-2 in those games.
On the season, MSU is 8-3-4 in games at Munn Ice Arena, with the losses coming against CCHA-leading Ohio State and Miami (twice).
MSU went .500 or better in each of the first three months of the season. The Spartans are already at 13 victories, after posting a total of 15 last year. MSU is 2-2-2 in January, with one series remaining.
The last time MSU was .500 or better in each of the first three months of the season was in the 2007-08 campaign.
MSU was 2-4-2 in January, its first sub-.500 month in the regular season since December 2010.
Last year, the Spartans employed 60 different forward line combinations in search of consistent scoring. Through 30 games, there have been 26 different combinations, the same defensive pairs have been used in 24 of 30 games, and only six line combinations have been used for a single game.
The Spartans are 1-8-1 when scoring two or fewer goals, and 14-3-3 when scoring three or more.
MSU has been outshot this season in 15 of 30 games, and overall, MSU is -140 in total shots, an average of just over four shots per game. MSU outshot its opponents in just 14 of 38 games last season, including holding its opponents to 20 shots or less four times.
MSU had a pair of power-play goals last Friday and three on the weekend against the Buckeyes- it was MSU's third game in four contests that it had scored an extra-man tally. Before the Jan. 27-28 Ferris State series, MSU had gone seven games (and 28 attempts) without a power-play marker.
MSU had power-play goals in back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 10 and Dec. 29 against Michigan and Michigan Tech, respectively, and also had had multiple power-play goals in Saturday's 3-2 victory - giving MSU multiple power play goals in a game for the first time since the Dec. 9 loss at Michigan.
MSU's penalty kill got back on track, extinguishing all 14 chances against in the series with the Buckeyes. The Spartans are tops in the CCHA and second nationally on the kill, (106/119, 89.1%, 2 SHG).
MSU had not allowed a power play goal over its previous four games and extended its streak to 14 straight kills before Chad Billins' extra-man tally in the second period on Jan. 27. Over the previous 12 games dating back to Dec. 1, 2011, the Spartans had allowed just three power-play goals, and all were with two-man advantages. Both Michigan Tech (Dec. 29) and Miami (Jan. 7) were 5x3 goals, and Michigan's game-tying goal in the final minute of the third period was on the power play, and with their goalie pulled for an extra attacker (6x4). MSU's last power-play goal allowed 4x5 had been to Minnesota on Nov. 26.
MSU has allowed two goals to its opponent 12 times this season, and has allowed one, four and five goals four times each. The Spartans also have five three-goals-allowed games, and one shutout.
Michigan State has been swept three times this season: on the road at Lake Superior (Oct. 14-15) and Ferris State (Jan. 27-28), and at home against Miami (Jan. 6-7). The Spartans registered three weekend sweeps of their own, against Robert Morris (Oct. 28-29) and Bowling Green (Dec. 2-3) at home and on the road against Western Michigan (Nov. 11-12) and Ohio State (Feb. 3-4). That is seven of 15 weekends resulting in a sweep. Overall, seven of MSU's weekend series of 15 have been without a loss: four sweeps, and three additional weekends with a win and a tie.
In 2010-11, MSU recorded its first and only sweep of the season in the final regular-season weekend against Bowling Green.
MSU has played overtime in five of its last seven weekends, and five of its last 13 games overall. The Spartans are 0-2-4 in their last five OT games since downing Air Force in the second game of the season.
Two of MSU's seven overtime games this season have been against the Wolverines - the only regulation game was the game at Yost, in which the Spartans twice trailed by two goals and cut the UM lead to 4-3 before the final buzzzer.
Michigan State is one of the least penalized teams in the country. Of 58 Division I teams, the Spartans are 45th (11.7 PIM/game) and 9th in the CCHA.
MSU is 11-5-1 when scoring first and 4-6-3 when allowing its opponent to do so. MSU scored first in each of its last four games - it lost both to Ferris, but won both against Ohio State.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Through 30 games, there are 20 skaters who have appeared in six games or more. Of those 20 players, 18 have at least three points and one goal.
Eight of MSU's 11 losses on the season are by a single goal. MSU is 5-8-0 in one-goal games this season. 20 of MSU's 30 games have been decided by two goals or less, and 17 have been by a goal or less.
MSU was shut out for the first time this season in the Jan. 7 loss to Miami (4-0). It was the first time the Spartans had been shut out in nearly a calendar year - the last time was Jan. 22, 2011 - a 4-0 loss to Miami at Munn.
The Spartans now have 12 players who have at least 10 points on the season - surpassing last season's total of 10. Ten players have already career-best offensive seasons in 2011-12.
Junior defenseman Torey Krug is the fifth player in MSU history to wear the captain's "C" on his jersey for two seasons. Last year, he was the program's first solo captain as a sophomore in team history. The alternate captains are senior Trevor Nill and junior Anthony Hayes. Nill is in his second season as an alternate captain, while this is the first captain's role for Hayes at MSU.
Krug played in his 100th career game on Jan. 20 against Lake Superior, and he is second among the team's active players in career scoring (73 points). On the season, Krug is second on the team in scoring (8-16-24), and ranks fifth nationally among defensemen in points and ninth among blueliners in points per game. He is tied for 10th nationally (and fourth among defensemen nationally) at a +17.
Krug was a first-team All-CCHA player last season, and was also named the league's Best Offensive Defenseman. He is a candidate for all-league and All-America honors this season.
Junior defenseman Torey Krug, a 2010 CCHA All-Rookie Team pick , a 2011 First Team All-CCHA selection and the league's Best Offensive Defenseman, is making a case to not only maintain his spot on the First Team, but also is a candidate for CCHA Player of the Year and All-America honors.
Krug is second on the team in scoring (24 points, four points shy of his best offensive season). He's 13th overall in the league in scoring, but is also among the top-scoring defensemen not only in the CCHA, but also the country. His 24 points leads all conference rearguards, and is tied for fifth nationally. His +17 is 10th nationally, and second in the CCHA.
Of note, the All-Conference teams are selected on statistics in games against CCHA teams only. In that light, Krug ranks fifth overall in the league in scoring with 21 points (and tops among blueliners), first in power play goals (5), and plus/minus (+15), and is is 13th in goals (8) and third in assists (13).
In an effort to get the team back and focused after an off day but yet keep the team loose, Mondays have become a day for a hard skate workout, but then a fun session at practice. This week, the Spartans staged a Skills Challenge. The noteworthy performances were in the hardest shot contest, where Brett Perlini hit 99 and 100 mph, Matt Berry downed all four targets in the shooting accuracy contest, and Torey Krug potted a highlight-worthy spin-o-rama move in the shootout. The video of that goal is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWMaOuO2mY4&feature=youtu.be.
MSU got three goals and three assists from its defensive corps on Feb. 3 against Ohio State, then another two scores and an assist on Saturday. Jake Chelios, Torey Krug (twice), Matt Crandell, and AJ Sturges all had tallies on the weekend. Brock Shelgren did not have any points, but blocked as many shots (7) as the entire Buckeye squad on Friday, and finished the series with 13 blocks.
Lee Reimer is tied for fifth in the league in scoring (27 points), and sits second in assists (19), and Mike Merrifield is 14th in goals (11) and tied for third in the league in goals per game (0.50). He also ranks fourth in the league in game-winning goals (3). Matt Berry is seventh in freshman scoring (9-7-16), while Brett Perlini is tied for 13th in scoring (24 pts) and is sixth in assists (17).
Torey Krug ranks first among league defensemen in scoring and 13th overall with a 8-16-24 line. He is tied for ninth overall in assists, sixth in power-play goals (5), and is second in the league in plus/minus (+17).
Matt Crandell has 15 points this season, his single-season career best. Crandell's slapshot from the left point in the second period last Friday stood as the game-winning goal against Ohio State. Three of Crandell's four career goals have come this season.
Crandell is one of 10 Spartans to check in with a career-best offensive season:
With 23 points (9g, 14a), Greg Wolfe has bettered his freshman year total of 11 points, and sits at third on the team with +10. Lee Reimer owns a 8-19-27 scoring line, and has already well eclipsed his freshman season total of seven points (2g, 5a). Anthony Hayes - who had four points as a freshman and seven as a sophomore, now owns a 2-6-8 scoring line.
Among defensemen. senior Brock Shelgren owns a 3-9-12 scoring line; his previous best single-season point total was seven points as a junior, and he has bettered his single-season assist mark (6). Shelgren is on course to surpass his three-season total of 16 points (5g, 11a).
Two players have eclipsed their carer numbers in this season alone. Mike Merrifield had a 4-4-8 line last season, and career numbers of 6-6-12 in two and a half seasons on the Spartan roster. Despite missing eight games this season with injury, he has surpassed his three-seasoncareer goal total (10) and currently has a 11-5-16 scoring line in just 22 games. Kevin Walrod had 11 points in his first two years (3-8-11), but this season boasts eight goals (good for third on the team in that category) and eight assists for 16 points.
Chris Forfar had 10 points in his freshman season (6g, 4a), and with a 5-5-10 line this season, has tied his career best in points and surpassed his single-season assist mark. Also tying their single-season best is Dean Chelios (14 points, which he also had as a sophomore), and AJ Sturges (1-0-1 as a freshman, and had his first goal since then last week at Ohio State).
Senior defenseman AJ Sturges' goal in the second period of the Feb. 3 game against Ohio State was his first of the season, and second of his career.
His first goal came in his freshman season, on Nov. 10, 2007 - a stretch of 175 Michigan State games between his two collegiate tallies. He missed the entire 2008-09 season, and with a medical redshirt for that year, he is in his fifth varsity season.
Anthony Hayes had his fourth career multiple-point game and first of the season. His three-point output was a career single-game high.
Junior Kevin Walrod had his third career two-goal game (and second of the season) on Nov. 25 against Minnesota. The winger has 11 career goals, and six of them have come in his three two-goal efforts. He has five games with a single goal, including the game-winner on Jan. 21 against Lake Superior State.
Mike Merrifield returned to the lineup on Jan. 13 after missing four games with injury. Merrifield leads the squad with 11 goals this season, and he is tied for third in the CCHA in goals per game (0.50).
MSU is 13-5-4 with Merrifield in the lineup, and 2-6-0 in games which he has been sidelined with injury. He missed the first four games in October with a lower-body injury, and four in December/January with an upper-body injury.
Matt Berry had goals in both games against the Buckeyes last weekend, and now has a career-best four-game point scoring streak (3g, 1a). Berry's goal was his ninth of the season, tops among freshmen and tied for second on the team overall. Last year, Jake Chelios had eight goals, a freshman best. The previous year, Derek Grant had 12 in his first varsity season.
On the year, Berry is the top-scoring first-year player, with a 9-7-16 scoring line, good for a seventh-place tie among freshmen in the CCHA.
Sophomore netminder Will Yanakeff made both starts against Ohio State last weekend. On Friday, he made 41 stops - his third 40+ save performance of the season - as MSU twice rallied from a two-goal deficit to score five unanswered goals in a 6-3 win. On Saturday, he made 33 stops in a tight 3-2 victory.
On the season, Yanakeff's 2.37 GAA is eighth in the CCHA, but his .927 save percentage is third in the league and 11th in Division I. His 10-5-1 record is third in the CCHA in win percentage, which finds him 15th nationally.
Drew Palmisano's Oct. 20 shutout of Ohio State was his second straight over the Buckeyes. Alex Szczechura's second-period goal in the second game of the series snapped Palmisano's personal shutout streak of 145:01 against Ohio State, dating back to last season. Palmisano owns four career shutouts: the two of OSU, one of Nebraska-Omaha, and one of Michigan.
Freshman Matt Berry has delivered the shootout-winning goal in both of MSU's two shootout victories this season.
Berry's two shootout goals is tied with Brett Perlini and Greg Wolfe for fourth at MSU all-time; Andrew Rowe leads the list with four, while Matt Schepke and Kurt Kivisto each scored three shootout goals.
MSU lost the shootout, 2-1, to Lake Superior on Jan. 21, its first shootout loss in three tries this season. It had been over a calendar year since MSU last lost a shootout - MSU's last loss had come on Jan. 15, 2011, at Lake Superior after a 2-2 tie. Will Yanakeff was in net for both of those games.
Jan. 13 was MSU's second shootout of the season, against Northern Michgian. Drew Palmisano stopped the second and third NMU shootout attempts, and got a little help from his crossbar on the the first. He's made saves on five of the six shootout attempts he has faced this season. Palmisano made three shootout saves against Michigan on Dec. 10.
In Palmisano's four years, he has been in nine shootouts, with a 4-5 record. He has made saves on 18 of 31 attempts against, with 11 goals allowed. As a senior, he is 2-0 with five saves and zero goals allowed.
Torey Krug and Brett Shelgren, who have been MSU's top defensive pair in 29 of 30 games, have a combined 144 of MSU's 440 blocked shots this season, ranking first and second individually (Krug has 55, Shelgren 89). Tim Buttery has 53 blocks, and Matt Crandell 39.
Will Yanakeff's 45 saves against Lake Superior on Jan. 20 was a career-best performance for the sophomore. His previous high was 40, which came earlier in the season against Miami. On Feb. 3, he had a 41-save performance against Ohio State.
Drew Palmisano also has three 40+-save games this season. He had 45 in each game of the GLI in addition to 40 in a 4-3 win over Minnesota on Nov. 25. His career best is 46 stops, against Michigan on Jan. 29 of his freshman season.
Head Coach Tom Anastos has been asked throughout the season whether he will pick one of the team's goaltenders as his primary starter, or employ a platoon; he has maintained that he does not have a strict philosophy, and that the play of the goalies during the week and the previous games will determine who gets the start.
Drew Palmisano opened the season with 30 saves against the aggressive, talented Boston College offense, and has had three games this year with 40+ saves. Palmisano has played 14 of MSU's 30 games, and owns a 5-6-3 record, 2.77 GAA and .914 save percentage.
Will Yanakeff has played six of the last seven games. In 16 games this season, he owns a 2.37 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a 10-5-1 mark on the season.
Both Torey Krug and Chris Forfar played in their 100th career games on Jan. 20 against Lake Superior.
Brett Perlini played in his 100th career game on Dec. 3 against Bowling Green. He is the fourth player this season to reach the milestone: Trevor Nill skated in his 100th career game on Nov. 18, Tim Buttery played in his 100th career game against Ohio State on Oct. 20, Brock Shelgren did it in the season opener vs. Boston College; Daultan Leveille and Matt Crandell registered their 100th last season. The next two players to likely hit 100 games are Dean Chelios (96) and Anthony Hayes (92).
Brett Perlini has points in 17 games this season, a team high. Torey Krug and Greg Wolfe have points in 16 of MSU's 30 games this season, with Lee Reimer (15) and Matt Berry (14) right behind. Berry owns the team's longest point-scoring streak, with four straight games with a point (3-1-4 in that stretch).
Lee Reimer leads the squad in multiple-point games, with seven; Brett Perlini and Torey Krug each have six, and Greg Wolfe has five.
Since the 1980-81 season, all but one Spartan starting goaltender has earned all-league honors at one point in their career. (The Spartans have competed in both the Western Collegiate Hockey Association or Central Collegiate Hockey Association during this stretch).
The list reads like a who's who in Spartan hockey - Ron Scott, Bob Essensa, Norm Foster, Jason Muzzatti, Mike Gilmore, Mike Buzak, Chad Alban, Joe Blackburn, Ryan Miller, Dominic Vicari and Jeff Lerg. Scott, Alban, Blackburn, Miller and Lerg were All-Americans.
The only starting goalie who didn't make an all-star team or win an award during this stretch was Matt Migliaccio in 2002-03. Drew Palmisano kept the streak alive with his Second Team All-CCHA honor in 2009-10.
Freshman Tanner Sorenson is a rare species in college hockey - the player who enters college directly after playing for his high school team. Sorenson played for Shattuck St. Mary's, winning a 18-U Tier I National Championship in 2011. Since the 1991-92 season, Sorenson is just the third MSU player to skate for his high school team in the season before enrolling at MSU - Brian Clifford (1991-95) and Chris Mueller (2004-08) both played for the Nichols School in their hometown of Buffalo. Both Clifford and Mueller also played a split season, playing for both their high school and the local AAA team during their senior years. Sorenson played solely for Shattuck last year.
Olympia Entertainment in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Michigan announced in November that the agreement which ensures a Spartans-Wolverines game is held annually at Joe Louis Arena has been extended through the 2013-14 hockey season.
The archrivals have squared off in regular season action at JLA in at least once per year since 1990, with Michigan having earned ten victories to Michigan State's nine over that time; four of the games ended in a tie.
Tom Anastos has announced that three players signed National Letters of Intent in the fall signing period and will join the Spartans in the fall of 2012. Forward Ryan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich./Sioux Falls (USHL), Defenseman John Draeger (Faribault, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary's) and goaltender Jake Hildebrand (Butler, PA/Cedar Rapids (USHL) will join three previous signees - forward Matt DeBlouw (Chesterfield, Mich./Muskegon USHL) and defensemen Rhett Holland (Calgary, Alberta / Okotoks (AJHL) and Travis Walsh (Lansing, Mich./Muskegon (USHL) on the Spartan roster for next season.
DeBlouw (37), Draeger (71) and Holland (192) all appear on the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term rankings.
MSU had 11 former skaters on 2011 opening-night rosters in the National Hockey League, and 15 players have played at least one game in the NHL this season: Ryan Miller and Corey Tropp (Buffalo), Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader (Detroit), Tim Kennedy and Mike Weaver (Florida). Jim Slater (Winnipeg), Shawn Horcoff, Jeff Petry and Corey Potter (Edmonton), David Booth (Vancouver), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Adam Hall (Tampa), Chris Mueller (Nashville) and John-Michael Liles (Toronto).
The Spartans host their final CCHA regular-season series with a pair of games against Alaska. The Saturday tilt will be a part of the Hockey Day in Michigan celebration, and will also be a celebration of the nine Spartan seniors playing their final regular-season games at Munn Ice Arena.