Spartans Travel to Alaska for CCHA Set
Feb. 21, 2013
MSU heads to the CCHA's furthest outpost for this weekend's series, traveling to Fairbanks to tangle with Alaska. This will be the final regular-season meeting between the teams as conference mates.
The Spartans lead the all-time series by a 41-15-3 mark. MSU swept last season's series at Munn Ice Arena, but Alaska won three of the four games played between the squads in 2010-11, which included a two-game sweep in the CCHA first round that season.
MSU will play on an Olympic ice sheet (200x100) for just the second weekend this season - MSU opened the year at Mariucci Arena, and lost twice to Minnesota.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
MSU split with Northern Michigan last weekend at home. MSU scored three goals in the third period of each contest; on Friday, the Spartans staged a late third-period rally, but fell by a 5-3 margin. On Saturday, the Spartans outs hot their guests by a 19-3 margin in the opening period and held a 25-8 lead in shots through two, but were tied 1-1 on the scoreboard entering the final frame. MSU fell behind 2-1 early in the third before rallying for three unanswered goals to put the game away and earn the series split.
Munn Arena hosted a sellout crowd of 6,574 fans on Saturday vs. NMU, the fourth sellout of the season. The Spartans are a perfect 4-0 in games which feature a sellout crowd at home this season.
Nine of MSU's last 11 home games have featured crowds of 6,000+ - the building seats 6,470 spectators. The Spartans average 5,837 over 15 home games, which ranks eighth nationally in attendance and first in the CCHA.
MSU's nine near-capacity crowds is the most games of 6,000+ fans since the 2003-04 season, which featured 20.
MSU ranks eighth nationally in home attendance, and is the top team in the CCHA. MSU has averaged 5,837 fans over its 16 home contests this season, putting Munn at better than 90% capacity on average.
MSU's loss on Friday was the 20th of the season for MSU. The Spartans have lost 20 games in a season on six previous occasions: 1976-77 (21), 1977-78 (27), 1978-79 (21) under Amo Bessone; 1979-80 (24) and 1980-81 (22) under Ron Mason; and in 2008-09 (23) under Rick Comley.
Michigan State has yet to record back-to-back victories this season - MSU is 0-5-3 in games after a win.
MSU is now to 10-1-1 when scoring three or more goals this season, and is 0-19-2 when scoring two or fewer. On 13 occasions, the Spartans have scored one goal or less. MSU's only loss when scoring three goals or more came last Friday against NMU, a 5-3 loss.
MSU is 1-9-0 in one-goal games this year. Both of the Spartans' games last weekend featured two-goal margins with empty-net tallies.
MSU's 2.16 goals per game this season ranks 11th in the CCHA, and 54th of 59 teams nationally.
The Spartans have played a majority of their games on the road this season (17 of 32), and are 2-13-2 in games away from Munn Ice Arena.
MSU's win over PSU on Jan. 25 was just it's second Friday night victory this season - the first was a come-from-behind victory over Niagara in October. The Spartans are 6-7-2 on Saturdays.
MSU is 0-0-3 this season in overtime games. MSU won the non-conference shootout against Niagara in November, 4 and lost the shootout after a 2-2 tie with Miami in conference play. Most recently, a shootout loss to Western Michigan denied the Spartans a shot in the Great Lakes Invitational final.
Michigan State has played 17 of its 32 games against seven teams which are among the nation's top 14 in team defense: Miami (1.50 goals per game), Western Michigan (1.94 gpg) , Minnesota (1.97 gpg), Niagara (2.33 gpg), Ohio State (2.22 gpg), Notre Dame (2.28), and Ferris State (2.38 gpg, ) .
The Spartan schedule thus far has featured stiff competition. MSU opened the season at No. 2 Minnesota, and played its other non-conference series against Atlantic Hockey leader Niagara. MSU has played an additional nine conference games against nationally-ranked opponents Notre Dame, Miami, Michigan, and Ferris State. While the GLI tie with the Broncos will not register in the conference standings, it is the 12th game this season for MSU against a ranked opponent.
The Jan. 26 loss to Penn State snapped an 11-game non-conference unbeaten streak for the Spartans at Munn Ice Arena. MSU's last loss to a non-conference foe at home was on Nov. 28, 2009 - a 2-1 loss to Minnesota in the College Hockey Showcase.
At the game against Michigan on Nov. 10, a new Munn Ice Arena attendance figure of 7,225 was achieved, bettering the previous record of 7,121 set on March 1, 2001 - also against the Wolverines.
MSU was selected seventh in the pre-season poll of Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) head coaches, and sixth in a survey of the conference's media.
A total of 25 Michigan State hockey games - including 16 of 19 home regular-season contests - will be televised during the 2012-13 season. Twenty-four games of the 50-game CCHA regular-season schedule involve the Spartans.
Tom Anastos owns a 28-36-7 overall record in his second season behind the bench. He is the only coach in MSU history to lead his team to an NCAA Tournament berth in his first season at the helm. He was a CCHA Coach of the Year finalist in 2012.
In addition to moving indoors to Joe Louis Arena, another side effect of the cancellation of the Winter Classic is that MSU debuted its script "Michigan State" logo jerseys earlier than anticipated. The Spartans had planned on unveiling their vintage-look sweaters at the GLI - a return of the script "Michigan State" logo which was an iconic look for the Spartans for nearly 30 years. MSU is 3-4-1 in the white script jerseys this season, and is 0-2-0 in the script road greens.
Heading into the final season of the CCHA, MSU sits second all-time in CCHA regular-season crowns, with seven (Michigan owns 11). MSU's 11 Tournament titles is three more than Michigan's eight.
MSU's penalty kill went 7-for-8 in the weekend series against Northern Michigan, and has allowed an extra-man tally in seven of the last 10 games. The kill is 103/122 (84.4%) on the season, good for sixth in the CCHA and 20th nationally.
Michigan State is the least penalized team in the CCHA, averaging 12.0 PIM per game. That ranks 40th nationally.
MSU went 1-for-5 on the power play in the NMU series, and is operating at a 14.4% success rate (18/125) on the season - that ranks seventh in the CCHA.
MSU is 7-5-1 when scoring a power play goal, but 2-16-2 when failing to score with a man advantage. Last Saturday's 4-2 win over NMU was just the second time this season that the Spartans have won a game without scoring a power-play goal. The other was a 3-1 win over Ferris State on Dec. 15
MSU has allowed five shorthanded markers this season, and is 2-3 in those games.
After going 27 games without a shorthanded goal to start the season, MSU has three in its last five games. Chris Forfar, Greg Wolfe, and most recently Lee Reimer (Saturday vs. NMU) have scored them.
TRENDS, STREAKS, AND TENDENCIES
MSU has allowed five goals or more eight times this season, including last Friday's game vs. NMU.
The Spartans have scored 17 goals in Jake Hildebrand's 14 losses (1.21 gpg). MSU has scored 25 goals in his six wins (4.16 gpg).
Greg Wolfe owns the team's active scoring streak at four games (4-1-5) and goal-scoring streak (three games). Matt Berry owns the team's longest point-scoring streak of the season, five games (Dec. 7-Dec. 30). He also had a season-best four straight games with a goal from Dec. 8-Dec. 30.
MSU is 0-10-1 in the first game of a two-game CCHA series this season, but is 6-5-0 in the second game.
MSU has been unable to win back-to-back games this season - the Spartans are 0-5-3 in games after a victory.
MSU has scored first in five of its last eight games, but has allowed its opponent to score first in 20 of its 32 games this season; MSU is 7-4-0 when scoring first and 2-16-3 when allowing the first goal.
MSU is 0-19-2 when scoring two goals or fewer this season. The Spartans are 9-1-1 when scoring three or more.
Eleven skaters have appeared in all 32 games, and each of them have at least two points. Five of those eleven are defensemen.
Nine different players have each had at least two multiple-point games each this season: John Draeger, RJ Boyd, Chris Forfar, Tanner Sorenson, Matt DeBlouw, Brent Darnell, Matt Berry, Lee Reimer, and Greg Wolfe. Berry leads the team with five, Darnell, Reimer, Wolfe, and Sorenson each have four.
MSU has been shut out a school-record five times this season, and three of those games were a 1-0 score. MSU was also shut out five times in 2008-09 and 2010-11.
Michigan State owns a 17-12 record all-time in 1-0 games. Three of MSU's 12 losses in a 1-0 game have come this season. MSU has suffered 1-0 losses to Bowling Green, Ohio State, and Notre Dame.
On four occasions, the Spartans have allowed just one goal - but are 1-2-1 in those games.
Senior forward Dean Chelios (upper body) and freshman defenseman Rhett Holland (upper body) each had season-ending surgery in November will miss the 2012-13 season. Both plan to apply for a medical redshirt.
Redshirt freshman Branden Carney has been medically disqualified from continuing his hockey career. Carney fractured his C1 and C2 vertebrae in a practice fall last October. While his career in a "collision sport" is over, he is expected to lead a full life with virtually no limitations.
Matt Berry's third-period goal on Friday was his first score since Dec. 30 in the GLI third-place game against Michigan. Berry scored 11 goals in the first 19 games of the season, but had none in the first 10 games of 2012. Berry's 12 goals and 22 points has him 16th in the CCHA in points, and tied for sixth in goals.
Greg Wolfe has seven points (4-5-9) over his last eight games. His four-game point streak was snapped on Friday vs. NMU, but he had a pair of assists in Saturday's win. He played in his 100th career game on Feb. 16.
Jake Hildebrand had 29 saves on Friday, the 17th time in 22 starts (And 13th consecutive) with 27+ saves. He faced only eight shots through the first two periods on Saturday, and finished with 18, his season low. His previous low was 21 against Ohio State on Dec. 1.
Hildebrand has allowed two goals or fewer in 15 of 22 starts. He owns a 2.21 GAA and .934 save percentage; he ranks third in the CCHA and ninth nationally in save percentage.
Hildebrand has allowed 23 goals over his last seven starts, compared to 27 in his first 14. He has allowed more than two goals in just eight of his 21 starts this season, but has allowed three or more in five of his last seven games.
Travis Walsh has blocked 25 shots over his last six games, and ranks second on the team and tied for sixth in the country with 63. John Draeger ranks fourth with 69 blocks, eight off the national lead.
Freshman Ryan Keller had his first collegiate multiple-point game on Saturday, and doubled his season point total with two assists in that game vs. NMU. He had the primary assist on Chris Forfar's game-winner, and also on Tanner Sorenson's empty-net tally, his 10th goal of the year.
Lee Reimer's shorthanded goal on Saturday snapped a streak of eight games without a goal. He finished the game with a goal and an assist.
RJ Boyd's pair of assists on in Saturday's win vs. NMU pushed him to 10 points on the season, the first defenseman to move into double-digit points on the year. Jake Chelios' Friday goal vs. NMU was his fourth of the season, most among MSU's defensive corps.
at the official