MSU Travels to Notre Dame for Regular Season Finale
Playoff positions on the line as regular season comes to a close
Feb. 22, 2012
|No. 13/14 Michigan State vs. No. 18/RV Notre Dame|
|Dates||Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25, 2012|
|Game Times||(F) 8:35 p.m. (S) 7:35 p.m.|
|Location|| South Bend, Ind..; Compton Family Ice Arena (Cap. 5,000; 200x90)
|Televison|| (S) CBS Sports DirecTV Ch. 610) (S) Comcast (Ch. 901 in Mid-Michigan)
|Radio||(F) WJIM 1240 AM (S) WJIM 730 AM|
|Game Notes||Download PDF (MSU)|
|Internet Coverage||Live Audio|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook|
|Press Conference Video||Head Coach Tom Anastos|
|Press Conference Audio||Head Coach Tom Anastos | Torey Krug | Kevin Walrod|
Michigan State enters the final weekend of the regular season sitting in fourth place in the CCHA, and with a road series at Notre Dame on tap.
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's game will air on CBS Sports Network, and Comcast will air Saturday's game.
Live audio on the internet can be found at www.spartansportsnetwork.com
MSU owns a 59-38-4 record all-time against the Irish, a series that has drawn considerably closer due to MSU's 10-game winless streak against Notre Dame that dates back to January 2008 (0-7-3). MSU is 21-24-7 all-time in games played in South Bend.
The Spartans are coming off a sweep of Alaska (3-2 in OT, 3-0). Michigan State recorded its fourth CCHA sweep and fifth overall this season. It was the most CCHA sweeps in a season for the Spartans since the 2007-08 campaign
On Friday, a goal by Brett Perlini just over three minutes into overtime gave the Spartans a 3-2 OT win over the Nanooks. Brent Darnell had the two regulation scores for MSU, while sophomore netmimder Will Yanakeff made 25 saves in his fifth consecutive start.
On Saturday, senior Drew Palmisano made 27 saves in his second shutout of the season, a 3-0 decision. Tanner Sorenson had a goal and an assist, and All-America candidate Torey Krug had a pair of assists. Dean Chelios and Lee Reimer had the other Spartan scores.
A dearth of scoring has befallen preseason favorite Notre Dame, as the Irish have scored just two goals over the last two weekends, dropping five straight and nine of their last 12 games.
Sophomore TJ Tynan is the team's top scorer, potting 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points. Classmate Anders Lee has 14 goals and 30 points, and junior Riley Sheahan rounds out the top three with a 9-15-24 scoring line.
In net, Mike Johnson owns a 2.51 GAA and .890 save percentage in 20 games, while Steven Summerhays is checking in with a 2.93 GAA and .887 save percentage. in 15 games.
MSU has nine seniors on the roster this season, the largest senior class since the 1977-78 campaign under Amo Bessone, which had 10. The nine Spartan skaters (forwards Daultan Leveille, Mike Merrifield, Brett Perlini, and Trevor Nill; Defensemen Matt Crandell, Tim Buttery, Brock Shelgren, and AJ Sturges, goaltender Drew Palmisano) plus a senior manager (Sean Lerg) were honored in a ceremony prior to the Feb. 18 game against Alaska.
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. 13 in the USCHO.com poll and come in at No. 15 in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today survey. MSU has been ranked in at least one poll since Nov. 21. In addition, No. 13 is the highest ranking attained by the Spartans this season.
With the sweep of Alaska, MSU now sits alone in fourth place in the CCHA standings, with 44 points, one point behind Western Michigan (45). Michigan has 47 points, and is the lone challenger to the regular-season crown, which will be shared with Ferris State, which has captured at least a tie with 53 points.
ut we will enter the final weekend of the season with lots to settle. MSU has assured itself of a finish of no worse than sixth, and can finish as high as second.
Ferris State has clinched no less than a tie for the conference regular-season crown, but a Michigan sweep of Bowling Green this weekend will make them challenge the Bulldogs, who have a home-and-home with Western Michigan on tap. Surging Miami is hoping to get into the top four, with a home-and-home with Ohio State on the docket. Notre Dame currently sits in a tie for eighth, but could finish as high as sixth.
The first tiebreaker in the CCHA is league wins, and MSU has the third-most (13) behind Ferris' 16 and MIchigan's 14.
The Spartans are shooting for a 20-win season for the first time since 2007-08. MSU recorded its 16th victory of the season with a 3-2 home win over Michigan on Feb. 10, surpassing last year's win total. The Spartans improved to 6-2-1 this season against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.
Michigan State has scored 105 goals in 34 games this season, and has surpassed the 98 scored last year. MSU is second in the league and 17th nationally (3.09 goals per game).
With two wins in Columbus to kick off February, the 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.
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). Anastos is third among first-year head coaches in victories - Norm Bazin has 20 wins at UMass-Lowell, and Rick Bennett of Union has 19.
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.
With 18 wins, Anastos is second in the MSU annals for wins by a first-year mentor. Rick Comley won 23 games in 2002-03. Among college hockey's nine new coaches this season, Anastos was also the first to 10 victories, on Dec. 3.
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, 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 has played 20 games against eight teams in this week's USCHO Top 20 poll. So far, MSU is 9-6-4 in games played against Top 20 competition, and 6-2-1 against teams ranked in the top five at the time of the game. MSU is ranked ino. 6 in the most recent RPI.
The 14 opponents MSU has played this season are a combined 227-174-59 (.558) this season. Thirteen of the 14 of them have a dozen or more wins, and only two - Michigan Tech and Bowling Green - are under .500. In addition, the Spartans have played the leaders in three of the four other Division I conferences (MSU does not have an ECAC team on its schedule this season, Air Force leads Atlantic Hockey, Boston College tops Hockey East, and Minnesota leads the WCHA).
MSU's five non-conference opponents are a combined 85-57-18 (.588).
MSU is 10th in the most recent pairwise ranking and has an RPI of six, which has the Spartans very much in the thick of the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Eleven of MSU's opponents are among the 32 teams "under consideration" in the pairwise - the Spartans are 11-13-3 against ten of them, with two games remaining against Notre Dame (22nd).
On the season, MSU is 11-3-4 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 18 victories, after posting a total of 15 last year.
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. MSU is 5-1-0 in Februrary with two games remaining.
Last year, the Spartans employed 60 different forward line combinations in search of consistent scoring. Through 32 games, there have been 26 different combinations, the same defensive pairs have been used in the last 13 games and only six line combinations have been used for a single game.
MSU is among the eight schools which can boast both its team offense and team defense among the top 20 in the country. MSU's offense ranks 19th in the country (3.09 goals per game), and allows 2.53 goals per contest, good for 17th nationally. The others are: Minnesota Duluth (O: 3.72, 1st; D: 2.56/19th); Minnesota (O: 3.67/2nd; D:2.09, 2nd); Union (O: 3.50/3rd; D: 1.75/1st); UMass Lowell (O: 3.48/6th; D: 2.38/12th): Boston College (O: 3.41/9th/ D: 2.50/14th); Air Force (O: 3.13/15th; D: 2.19/7th).
The Spartans are 1-9-1 when scoring two or fewer goals, and 17-3-3 when scoring three or more.
MSU has been outshot this season in 15 of 34 games, and overall, MSU is -128 in total shots, an average of just under four shots per game.
MSU played its ninth overtime game this season on Friday, and picked up its second OT win of the season; the first came on Oct. 8 against Air Force, also by a 3-2 score. MSU is now 2-3-4 in games requiring an extra period (with wins in two of three shootouts in CCHA play.)
After a seven-game drought back in January, MSU had its fifth and sixth straight game with an extra-man goal against Alaska. In the six games in February, MSU is 8-for-26 (.308) on the power play, improving the power play to 23/130 on the season (.177).
The Spartans killed off six of seven chances against in the series with the Nanooks, and the Spartan kill sits at 89.2% (116/130), good for second nationally and first in the CCHA. MSU is 24-of-25 (.960) in the month of February.
MSU has allowed two goals to its opponent 14 times this season, and has allowed one, four and five goals four times each. The Spartans also have six games in which they have allowed three goals, and two shutouts.
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 have registered four weekend sweeps of their own, against Robert Morris (Oct. 28-29), Bowling Green (Dec. 2-3) and Alaska (Feb. 17-18)at home and on the road against Western Michigan (Nov. 11-12) and Ohio State (Feb. 3-4). That is eight of 16 weekends resulting in a sweep. Overall, seven of MSU's 16 weekend series have been without a loss: four sweeps, and three additional weekends with a win and a tie. MSU has split five weekends, was swept three times, and had one weekend with a loss 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.
Michigan State is one of the least penalized teams in the country. Of 58 Division I teams, the Spartans are 54thst (10.9 PIM/game) and 10th in the CCHA.
MSU is 13-5-1 when scoring first and 5-7-3 when allowing its opponent to do so.
Through 34 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.
Nine of MSU's 12 losses on the season are by a single goal. MSU is 7-9-0 in one-goal games this season. 23 of MSU's 34 games have been decided by two goals or less, and 20 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 picked up their second shutout of the season on Senior Night (Feb. 18), as Drew Palmisano backstopped MSU to a 3-0 victory. It was Palmisano's second shutout of the season (the first was a 3-0 shutout of Ohio State back in October), and the sixth of his career.
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 the team's active leader in career scoring (80 points). On the season, Krug is tied for the team lead in scoring (10-21-31), and ranks third nationally among defensemen in points and fourth among blueliners in points per game. He is tied for eighth nationally (and third among defensemen nationally) at a +20.
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 CCHA Player of the Year 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 first on the team in scoring (31 points, his best offensive season). He's fourth overall in the league in scoring, but is also among the top-scoring defensemen not only in the CCHA, but also the country. His 31 points leads all conference rearguards, and he is the only defenseman in the league with double-digit goals.
Of note, the All-Conference teams are selected on statistics in games against CCHA teams only. In that light, Krug is tied for first overall in the league in scoring with 28 points (and tops among blueliners), first in power play goals (6), and plus/minus (+18), and is eight in goals (10) and second in assists (18).
Should Torey Krug win the CCHA scoring title - he's tied for the No. 1 spot entering the final weekend of play - he would become the first defenseman to win the CCHA scoring title since Western Michigan's Wayne Gagne in 1986-87.
Krug is not the only Spartan to rank among league leaders. Lee Reimer is seventh in the league in scoring (30 points), and sits third in assists (21), and Mike Merrifield is 17th in goals (11) and tied for eighth in game-winning goals (3), shared with Dean Chelios. Brett Perlini is tied for 16th in points (27), while Matt Berry is seventh in freshman scoring (10-7-17).
Freshman Tanner Sorenson was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday.
Sorenson's three-point weekend helped the Spartans sweep Alaska in the final home series of the regular season. Sorenson had an assist on classmate Brent Darnell's second goal in Friday's contest, then assisted on Dean Chelios' game-winner on Saturday and had a goal of his own in the second period, his first multiple-point game of his career. Sorenson has a 2-6-8 scoring line this season.
While MSU has five freshmen on the roster this season, two have been forced to take medical redshirts (Branden Carney and Justin Hoomaian). Two - Brent Darnell and Tanner Sorenson - have earned Rookie of the Week honors, and Matt Berry ranks seventh in the league in freshman scoring.
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. Last 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.
a Eleven of MSU's returning 17 skaters have tied or surpassed their career-best offensive seasons: forwards Lee Reimer, Greg Wolfe, Mike Merrifield, Kevin Walrod, Dean Chelios, Chris Forfar, and Anthony Hayes, and defensemen Torey Krug, Brock Shelgren, Matt Crandell, and AJ Sturges.
Brett Perlini, with 27 points, is three shy of his junior-year 30, and two others are also within close striking distance: Trevor Nill (3 points) Tim Buttery (one point).
Two players have eclipsed their career 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-season career- goal total (11) and currently has a 11-6-17 scoring line in just 26 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 nine assists for 17 points.
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.
Last season MSU had three double-digit goal scorers - Brett Perlini's 18 led the team, while Torey Krug and Dustin Gazley each had 11 scores. WIth four games to go in the regular season, the Spartans have Mike Merrifield with 11 goals, and Krug, Berry and Greg Wolfe with 10 each.
Matt Berry tops among freshmen and tied for second on the team overall in goals (10). 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 10-7-17 scoring line, good for seventh place among freshmen in the CCHA.
Tanner Sorenson had a goal and an assist in Saturday's game against Alaska (Feb. 18), his first multiple-point game in his career. With his three-point weekend, Sorenson owns a 2-6-8 line.
Brent Darnell had his first career two-goal game on Friday, and first multiple-point game since Dec. 3 game against Bowling Green. With six goals and seven assists, he's second to Berry in freshmen scoring.
Sophomore Will Yanakeff has started six of the last seven Spartan games. On the season, Yanakeff is third in the CCHA in win percentage (12-6-1, 63.9%), fourth in save percentage (.926), and seventh in goals against average (2.36).
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 Michigan. Drew Palmisano stopped the second and third NMU shootout attempts, and got a little help from his crossbar on 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 33 of 34 games, have a combined 161 of MSU's 493 blocked shots this season, ranking first and second individually (Krug has 65, Shelgren 96). Tim Buttery has 57 blocks, and Matt Crandell 47.
Shelgren's 96 blocks leads all CCHA players. Alaska's Aaron Gens is second to Shelgren, with 91.
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 15 of MSU's 34 games, and owns a 6-6-3 record, 2.59 GAA and .919 save percentage.
Will Yanakeff has played eight of the last nine games. In 19 games this season, he owns a 2.36 GAA and .926 save percentage, and a 12-6-1 mark on the season.
Dean Chelios played in his 100th career game on Saturday against the Nanooks, and had the game-winning goal. Both Torey Krug and Chris Forfar played in their 100th career games on Jan. 20 against Lake Superior. Anthony Hayes, with 96 games to his credit, could reach that mark during the CCHA Playoffs.
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.
Torey Krug has points in 20 of his 33 games this season, a team high. Brett Perlini and Greg Wolfe each have points in 19 games, while Lee Reimer (16) and Matt Berry (15 games) are right behind.
Torey Krug lead sthe squad in multiple-point games, with eight; Lee Reimer has seven, Brett Perlini has six, and Greg Wolfe has five.
Torey Krug owns the team's longest point-scoring streak, at seven games; its the longest point-scoring streak for anyone this season. In this stretch, he has four goals and nine assists (13 points).
Lee Reimer, Brent Darnell, and Matt Berry have also strung together five-game point streaks earlier in the season.
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 will be scoreboard watching all weekend, as it will likely to come down to all games being final on Saturday before anyone can learn the CCHA Tournament matchups.
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