Feb. 12, 2014
Weekly Press Conference
Head Coach Tom Anastos
Jake Hildebrand & Ryan Keller
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On The Fly...
The Spartans are making their inaugural trip to Penn State as they enter the weekend in fifth place in the Big Ten standings with 14 points - three behind fourth-place Ohio State - with eight games to play.
Greg Wolfe (3-1-4) was named the Big Ten Third Star of the Week after registering a point on every goal in last weekend's series vs. Ohio State ... Wolfe posted his second two-goal game of the season on Feb. 8 and had a goal and an assist the previous night.
Michigan State's six ties are its most since 2009-10 when it also had six ... The last time a Spartan team had more than six deadlocks in a season was 2005-06 (eight).
Michigan State continues to rank as one of the top defensive teams in the nation, currently in a tie for 10th in goals allowed per game at 2.33 ... The Spartans have limited opponents to two goals or fewer in eight of the last nine games and in 17 of 27 contests this season.
The Spartans rank first in the nation in blocked shots per game at 17.93 ... MSU's 484 total blocks are 16 fewer than the national leader, Alabama Huntsville, which has played three more games ... MSU has blocked at least 20 shots in 12 of 27 games this season.
Jake Hildebrand is tops among all goaltenders in conference games with a .941 save percentage.
Reunited for the first time since Dec. 27 vs. Michigan Tech, the line of Greg Wolfe, Lee Reimer and Ryan Keller combined for seven (4 goals, 3 assists) of the Spartans' 11 points last weekend ... The trio has played 11 games together this season, tied for third most of any line combination, and has produced a team-best 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists).
Travis Walsh ranks second in the nation and in the Big Ten in blocked shots per game at 2.67, while his 64 total blocks lead the league ... Walsh is one of five Spartan defensemen that rank in the top 10 in the conference in blocked shots, as all have at least 44.
In playing the last 11 games together, the line of Matt Berry, Mike Ferrantino and Joe Cox has produced 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists), which is tied for the third-highest total of any Spartan line combination this season.
Jake Chelios leads all Big Ten defensemen in assists with 15, including producing eight over the last 12 games ... His 17 points are third most among defensemen in the conference.
Sophomore Mike Ferrantino has scored goals in four of the last seven games and has a 4-1-5 scoring line over the span ... He has at least a point in six of the last 10 games.
Over the last nine games, MSU has killed 26-of-30 opponent power-play attempts (.867) ... On the season, the Spartans have a .806 penalty kill percentage.
OF NOTE FROM THE OHIO STATE SERIES...
Jake Hildebrand made 88 saves, produced a .957 Sv. % and a 1.85 GAA.
Defenseman Travis Walsh tied his career high with six blocks in the Feb. 7 game and blocked a total of 10 shots in the series.
OSU, the fifth-highest scoring team in the nation (3.50 goals per game), has been limited to two or fewer goals in seven games this season - three of which have come vs. the Spartans.
The 63 goals MSU has allowed this season tied for the 11th fewest of any team in the nation and are the fewest it has allowed through 27 games since the 2009-10 season when it yielded 56 over the same span.
The Spartans have surrendered two goals or fewer in 17 of 27 games this season, including eight of the last nine.
MSU hasn't allowed more than two goals in consecutive games since Nov. 8-9 at Michigan Tech (3-0, 3-2 OT).
SPARTANS IN CONFERENCE PLAY...
Three of the five losses have been by one goal.
MSU is outscoring opponents by a combined 10-4 in the second period.
Jake Hildebrand has a .941 save percentage - tops among all goaltenders in league play ... Hildebrand's goals-against average is 2.18.
Mike Ferrantino leads MSU in goals (5), Jake Chelios leads in assists (7) and Greg Wolfe is tops in points (10).
John Draeger and Lee Reimer are both a team-best plus-3.
IN THE BIG TEN STATISTICAL RANKINGS...
Greg Wolfe is tied for fifth in goals (11) and knotted for 13th in points with 21 ... Four of Wolfe's goals have come on the power play, which ties him for fifth in the league.
Jake Chelios' 15 assists are tied for sixth and are the most among all defensemen.
Travis Walsh leads in total blocked shots with 64 and is second blocks per game average at 2.67.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
Over the last nine games, Michigan State has killed 26-of-30 opponent power plays (.867) ... Going back further, MSU has extinguished 32-of-38 power plays (.842) over the last 12 games.
MSU had two power-play goals in Saturday's 2-2 tie, marking the third time this season the Spartans have scored twice on the man-advantage (Jan. 24 vs Michigan, Dec. 1 vs. Princeton).
The Spartans had a power-play goal in a season-best three consecutive games from Dec. 27-Jan. 10, which is their longest streak of the season and longest since it had at least one power play goal in six consecutive games from Feb. 3-18, 2012.
Six of the Spartans' 16 total power play goals this season have come in conference play.
Three of Matt Berry's five total goals have come on the power play.
Jake Chelios (1-6-7) and Greg Wolfe (4-3-7) lead MSU in points on the power play.
Greg Wolfe (1 goal, 1 assist) and Lee Reimer (1 goal, 1 assist) share the team lead in shorthanded scoring.
NOTES FROM THE FIRST MSU-PSU SERIES
Lee Reimer was named the Big Ten Third Star of the Week after combining for 2-2-4, including scoring the game-winning goal in the 3-2 win on Jan. 18.
Lee Reimer (2-2-4), Dean Chelios (1-3-4) and Greg Wolfe (1-3-4) led MSU offensively in the series.
Wolfe led all Spartans in plus/minus with a plus-5 rating, while linemates Reimer and Dean Chelios were both plus-4.
Jake Hildebrand was named the First Star of the Week, producing a .975 save percentage in the series and a 48-save shutout performance on Jan. 17.
AGAINST THE BEST AT BOTH ENDS
The Spartans have played a total of nine games against three teams that are ranked in the top-eight in the nation in goals scored per game (5. Ohio State - 4, 7. Minnesota - 4, 8. Ferris State).
MSU has also played a total of eight games against teams that rank in the top-10 in goals allowed per game (1. UMass-Lowell, 2. Minnesota - 4, 5. Ferris State, T10. Michigan - 2).
FERRANTINO PRODUCTIVE ON MULTIPLE FRONTS
Sophomore Mike Ferrantino has continued to be one of Michigan State's most consistent players this season as he has points in six of the last 10 games (4-3-7). His seven goals this season rank second on the team and 14 points are fourth most, topping both his totals from last season.
Additionally, Ferrantino continues to lead the Spartans in plus/minus as he is currently tied with defenseman Bock Krygier at plus-5. Ferrantino has been a minus player in just four of 27 games this season. He was plus or even in 16 consecutive games from Nov. 29-Feb. 7.
In the faceoff circle, the Plymouth, Mich., native leads MSU with a .550 winning percentage, which also ranks 11th in the Big Ten. Defensively, Ferrantino has the most blocked shots - 28 - of any forward in the conference.
JAKE CHELIOS LEADING CONFERENCE DEFENSEMEN IN ASSISTS
Jake Chelios is making the most of his senior season as he leads Big Ten defensemen in assist with 15 and ranks third in points at 17. His 15 assists are the most by a Spartan defenseman since Torey Krug's 22 in 2011-12. Chelios' four-game point streak (0-5-5) from Dec. 27-Jan. 11 was the longest of his career.
The Spartans continue to be one of the best shot-blocking teams in the nation, currently leading the country in blocked shots per game at 17.93. Their 484 total blocks lead the Big Ten and rank in a tie for second nationally.
Spartan defensemen boast five of the 10 highest blocked-shot totals in the Big Ten: Travis Walsh (64, first), RJ Boyd (52, third), Jake Chelios (46, eighth), Rhett Holland (45, ninth), Brock Krygier (44, T-10th).
The Spartans have blocked at least 24 shots in three of the last five games.
NO STRANGER TO THE SHOOTOUT
The Spartans have appeared in six shootouts this season - more than any other team in the nation - and have gone 3-3. MSU is 1-1 vs. Minnesota in shootouts; 1-2 vs. Ohio State and 0-1 vs. Michigan Tech (GLI). Mike Ferrantino has been the Spartans' best shooter, scoring on three of his six attempts, while in goal, Jake Hildebrand has stopped 19 of 27 opponent attempts.
THE IRON MAN
Jake Chelios is one of eight players in the nation to have appeared in at least 143 consecutive games. He enters Friday having played in 143 straight contests.
SPARTANS VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
MSU is 2-6-2 vs. ranked opponents this season, earning wins vs. No. 13/14 Boston University on Oct. 26 (3-1) and No. 3 Michigan on Dec. 28 (3-0) ... Three of the six losses were by just one goal and another by two.
With six assists, Jake Chelios is the Spartans' points leader in the nine games this season vs. ranked teams.
Mike Ferrantino leads the Spartans in goals (4-1-5) and plus/minus (plus-3) vs. ranked opponents.
Villiam Haag (3-2-5) leads all freshmen in points.
In goal, Jake Hildebrand has a .935 save percentage and a 2.18 goals-against average.
THE MUNN ADVANTAGE
Since its opening in Nov. 1974, Munn Ice Arena has provided the Spartans with an undeniable advantage. Now in its 39th season as the home of MSU hockey, Spartan teams have compiled a dominating 524-199-61 (.707) record in the building, including a 7-5-3 mark this season.
The Spartans went 8-8-1 at Munn Arena last season, continuing the streak of 32 consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better in the facility.
BERRY GETS ROLLING
After undergoing offseason surgery and missing 12 of the Spartans' first 14 games, junior Matt Berry has appeared in each of the last 13 games, giving the MSU offense a lift with a 5-5-10 scoring line over that span.
He had a four-game scoring streak, tying the longest of his career, from Dec. 27-Jan. 11 in which he produced five goals.
Berry was the Spartans' leading scorer a season ago (15-16-31), but missed 12 games this season, including the first eight, after offseason surgery. He has appeared in each of the last eight games.
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (6-4-10), Joe Cox (5-5-10) and Villiam Haag (6-4-10) lead the Spartan freshmen in scoring. Along with Thomas Ebbing (2-7-9) and JT Stenglein (1-0-1), the rookies have combined for 40 points so far this season, which equates to 23.5% of the team's total points. Their 20 combined goals equate to 33.8% of the team's total.
SPARTANS IN SOCHI
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.
SOLID ROOKIE TRIO
Mackenzie MacEachern, Thomas Ebbing and Villiam Haag have played together in 18 games this season - the most of any Spartan line combination this season. The rookies have produced a 10-11-21 scoring line when playing together, which is the second-highest point total of any MSU line combination this season.
MacEACHERN AND EBBING CONNECTION
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (6-4-10) and Thomas Ebbing (2-7-9) have played together in all 27 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.
ONE OF A KIND
Freshman Villiam Haag is one of 11 players from Sweden in Division I college hockey this season, and just one of 24 from Europe (11 - Sweden, 10 - Finland, 3 - Austria). The native of Gothenburg, Sweden, has appeared in each of the last three games of the season.
Geir Hoff (1986-87) of Oslo, Norway, is the only European letterwinner in MSU program history.
MSU's roster features five players that have been drafted by National Hockey League clubs. Four Spartans were taken in the 2012 Entry Draft, including freshman Mackenzie MacEachern (St. Louis) and sophomore John Draeger (Minnesota), who were selected consecutively in the third round with picks 67 and 68, respectively. Redshirt freshman defenseman Rhett Holland was taken in the fourth round at 102nd overall by Phoenix and sophomore forward Matt DeBlouw was picked in the seventh round at 186th overall by Calgary. Junior defenseman and Sunshine State native RJ Boyd was taken in the seventh round in 2010 by Florida.
SPARTANS IN THE NHL
A total of 17 former Spartan hockey players have played in the NHL this season: 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 be on the road again next weekend as they will travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers.