Spartans Kick Off Postseason at Miami
March 8, 2012
Michigan State begins CCHA Tournament play this weekend, traveling to No. 4 seed Miami for the quarterfinals.
On the radio, all games will be carried by the Spartan Sports Network. All of this weekend's games will air live on WJIM 1240 AM. Scott Moore and Rob Woodward are in their seventh season together on the call of Spartan hockey. Live audio on the internet can be found at www.spartansportsnetwork.com.
There is no television for this weekend's series, but a video stream of all three games will be available at www.muredhawks.com. A monthly subscription for $9.95 will allow fans to watch all three games of the series.
MSU is 68-29-5 all-time against Miami, which includes a 28-11-2 mark in games played in Oxford.
In CCHA Tournament play, the Spartans are 9-0 all-time against the Red Hawks; MSU has played Miami in the quarterfinal round in 1985 and 2000, sweeping both series played in East Lansing.
The most recent meeting of these two programs in the CCHA Tournament came in the 2006 CCHA Championship game, a contest the Spartans won 2-1 to capture their 11th CCHA Tournament title.
Michigan State earned a first-round bye by virtue of a fifth-place finish in the CCHA standings; the last games for the Spartans came in the final week of the regular season, where MSU split a road series at Notre Dame.
On Friday, the Spartan offense sputtered, falling to the host Irish, 2-0; on Saturday, MSU recovered to snap an 11-game winless streak against Notre Dame with a 4-2 victory.
Miami is the winners of six straight and have just four losses in the 16 games in the 2012 portion of their schedule.
Reilly Smith is the CCHA's top goal scorer (and ranks second nationally) with 26, and leads the Red Hawks with 38 points. Freshman Austin Czarnik owns a 9-20-29 line to place second among Miami scorers, and classmate Jimmy Mullin is third with a 9-12-21 line. Connor Knapp has been in net for seven of the last eight Miami contests, and owns a 1.53 GAA and a .939 save percentage in 20 games. Cody Reichard boasts a 2.51 GAA and .898 save percentage in 19 contests.
MSU has not made the CCHA final weekend at Joe Louis Arena since 2007, the season in which it won the National Championship after finishing third at the Joe. MSU has only competed in the quarterfinals twice in that span (2008 and 2010), and has not won a CCHA playoff game since the first game against Northern Michigan in the 2008 series. (complete CCHA playoff history for MSU is on p. 14-15, or on p. 184-187 of the MSU Hockey Media Guide)
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. 15 in both the USCHO.com poll and the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today survey. MSU has been ranked in at least one poll since Nov. 21. In addition, No. 13 (on Feb. 20) is the highest ranking attained by the Spartans in either poll this season.
MSU split the final weekend of play at Notre Dame, finishing fifth in the final CCHA standings, one point behind No. 4 Miami. The Spartans were three points behind the 50 shared by No. 2 Michigan and Western Michigan. Ferris State won the league's regular-season title with 54 points.
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 109 goals in 36 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. MSU won one of two games at Notre Dame, finishing February with a 3-1-0 road record. MSU is 6-7-0 on the road overall this season.
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 the nine first-year head coaches nationally in victories - Norm Bazin has 20 wins at UMass-Lowell, as does Rick Bennett of Union.
Tom Anastos is one of three finalists for CCHA Coach of the Year - the others are Red Berenson of Michigan and Bob Daniels of Ferris State. Under Berenson, the Wolverines reached 20 wins for the 25th consecutive year, the longest streak in NCAA history. Berenson is vying for his third-career CCHA Coach of the Year award. In his first year as head coach, Anastos improved his alma mater by 12 conference points and five positions in the standings. Ferris State, picked to place ninth in the league in the preseason coach's poll, finished in first place for the second time in school history. The Bulldogs move to the top of the league standings included a 14-game undefeated streak at the end of the season.
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 19 wins, Anastos is second in the MSU annals for wins by a first-year mentor. Rick Comley won 23 games in 2002-03 - but the team Comley inherited won 27 games and finished second in the CCHA in the previous season. In 2010-11, MSU won 15 games and finished 10th in the CCHA.
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 18 games against eight teams in this week's USCHO Top 20 poll. So far, MSU is 10-7-4 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 no. 9 in the most recent RPI.
The opponents MSU has played this season are a combined 290-224-67 (.558) this season. Eleven of the 15 of them have 17 or more wins, and only three - Michigan Tech, Alaska, and Bowling Green - are under .500. In addition, the Spartans have played the regular-season champions in three of the four other Division I conferences.
MSU's five non-conference opponents are a combined 97-64-18 (.588).
MSU is 12th in the most recent pairwise ranking and has an RPI of 12, 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 31 teams "under consideration" in the pairwise - the Spartans are 13-11-3 against those teams. MSU is likely to only face "TUC" teams throughout the CCHA Tournament, as the only remaining non-TUC team is 11th seed Bowling Green.
On the season, MSU is 11-3-4 in games at Munn Ice Arena, with the losses coming teams from Ohio - Ohio State and Miami (twice).
MSU went .500 or better in four of the five months of the season. The Spartans are already at 19 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. The Spartans rebounded with a 6-2-0 February.
Last year, the Spartans employed 60 different forward line combinations in search of consistent scoring. Through 36 regular-season, there have been 26 different combinations, the same defensive pairs have been used in the last 15 games and only six line combinations have been used for a single game.
MSU is among the nine 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 2.50 goals per contest, good for 15th nationally. The others are: Minnesota Duluth (O: 3.67, 1st; D: 2.56/16th); Minnesota (O: 3.51/5th; D: 2.11, 3rd); Union (O: 3.50/6th; D: 1.82/1st); Michigan (O:3.33/10th; D: 2.19, 7th); UMass Lowell (O: 3.45/9th; D: 2.39/14th): Boston College (O: 3.56/4th/ D: 2.25/9th); Air Force (O: 3.14/18th; D: 2.12/5th).
The Spartans are 1-10-1 when scoring two or fewer goals, and 18-3-3 when scoring three or more.
MSU has been outshot this season in 17 of 36 games, and overall, MSU is -145 in total shots, an average of just over four shots per game (4.02).
MSU played its ninth overtime game this season against Alaska on Feb. 17, 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 power play goals in six of eight games in February. (8-32, .250). Overall MSU is 23/136 on the season (.169).
MSU allowed just three extra-man tallies in 34 chances in February, (.911) and on the season, boasts the top penalty kill in the CCHA and is second in the country. MSU has extinguished 123 of 139 chances against this year, (.885).
MSU has allowed two goals to its opponent 16 times in 36 games 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 53rd (10.9 PIM/game) and 11th in the CCHA.
MSU is 11-5-1 when scoring first and 8-8-3 when allowing its opponent to do so.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Nine of MSU's 13 losses on the season are by a single goal. MSU is 7-9-0 in one-goal games this season. 25 of MSU's 36 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. MSU suffered its second shutout in the final weekend, a 2-0 decision at Notre Dame.
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.
Of MSU's 17 returning skaters this season, 11 of them have posted career-best offensive numbers 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.
Junior defenseman Torey Krug, a 2010 CCHA All-Rookie Team pick , a two-time First Team All-CCHA selection and the league's 2011 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 played in his 100th career game on Jan. 20 against Lake Superior, and he is the team's active leader in career scoring (81 points). On the season, Krug owns the team lead in scoring (11-21-32), and ranks third nationally among defensemen in points and fourth among blueliners in points per game. He is tied for seventh nationally (and ranks second among defensemen nationally) at a +21.
Of note, the All-Conference teams are selected on statistics in games against CCHA teams only. In that light, Krug shared the CCHA scoring title (29 points), first in power play goals (6), and plus/minus (+19), and is eighth in goals (11) and second in assists (18).
Torey Krug is one of three finalists for Player of the Year honors, and he is also a finalist for Best Offensive Defenseman honors, an award he won in 2011.
Krug's competition for Player of the Year is Miami forward Reilly Smith, who leads the CCHA and ranks second nationally with 28 goals. The other finalist is Ferris State defenseman Chad Billins, who helped backstop one of the stingiest defenses in the CCHA and the country.
The other finalists for Best Offensive Defenseman are Billins and Western Michigan's Matt Tennyson. Krug's 11 goals led the league for defenseman for the second-straight year. Billins, the Bulldogs' senior captain, tied Krug for the league lead among defenseman in assists with 18, and led his team in conference scoring with 25 points overall. With a heavy shot from the point, Tennyson led the Broncos with six power-play goals this season.
In addition, head coach Tom Anastos is a finalist for CCHA Coach of the Year honors.
Torey Krug shared the CCHA scoring title with Notre Dame forward TJ Tynan, each finishing with 29 points in league games. He is the first defenseman to capture a CCHA scoring title since Western Michigan's Wayne Gagne did so in 1986-87; he is the fifth Spartan and first MSU defenseman to win a CCHA scoring title. In history, only four other defensemen have won scoring titles in their respective leagues: Gagne, Lou Nanne (1963, Minnesota/WCHA), Mike Crowley (1997, Minnesota/WCHA) and Reid Cashman (2005, Quinnipiac/Atlantic Hockey).
Five MSU players have won a CCHA scoring title, the other four all forwards: Craig Simpson (1984-85, 69 points); Kip Miller did it in 1988-89 (61 pts) and again the following year, in 1989-90 (74). Bryan Smolinski win the 1992-93 title with 51 points, and Shawn Horcoff was the most recent winner, in 1999-2000.
Torey Krug has been selected to the All-Conference First Team for the second straight season, as announced today by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association on Wednesday.
Krug, who shared the CCHA scoring title with Notre Dame forward TJ Tynan, was a unanimous selection to the All-CCHA First Team.
Krug is the first Spartan player since Jim Slater (2003, 2004) to earn First Team All-CCHA honors in back-to-back seasons. The last defenseman to accomplish the feat was current Toronto Maple Leaf John-Michael Liles (2002, 2003). Krug has earned postseason honors in each of his three seasons, as an All-Rookie team pick in 2010, and earning First Team honors as a sophomore and a junior.
Eight Spartans have received First Team honors twice in their career: Ron Scott (G, 1982, 1983); Kip Miller (F, 1989, 1990); Anson Carter (F, 1994, 1995); Mike Weaver (D, 1999, 2000); Ryan Miller (G, 2001, 2002); John-Michael Liles (2002, 2003), Jim Slater (F, 2003, 2004), and now Krug. Forward Don Mc Sween holds the MSU record, with three First-Team Distinctions on his resume (1985, 1986, 1987).
Senior defenseman Brock Shelgren is among eleven outstanding student-athletes who have been designated as their team's 2011-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the CCHA. The CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be chosen from the group of nominees with the winner announced at the 2012 CCHA Awards, on Thursday, March 15.
Shelgren, who owns a 3.76 grade-point average as a finance major, is honored as MSU's CCHA Scholar-Athlete for the second straight season. The standout defenseman, paired on MSU's top pair with CCHA Player of the Year candidate Torey Krug, is enjoying a career offensive season, with three goals and 13 points. He leads the CCHA with 105 blocked shots, and is a +18, good for a tie for 18th nationally.
Freshman Matt Berry was an Honorable Mention selection to the 2012 CCHA All-Rookie Team, as announced by the CCHA office on Monday, March 5.
Berry is MSU's top first-year scorer, with 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points. He ranks fifth overall on the team in points and second in goals; among first-year players in the league, Berry's 18 points ranks 11th.
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 11th in the league in freshman scoring and was an Honorable Mention selection on the All-Rookie Team.
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. In February, 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.
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 29 points, is one shy of his junior-year 30, and two others are also within close striking distance: Trevor Nill (three 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 10 assists for 18 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 the regular season completed, the Spartans have Mike Merrifield and Torey Krug with 11 goals, and Matt 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 10-8-18 scoring line, good for seventh place among freshmen in the CCHA.
Tanner Sorenson owns a 2-6-8 line, while 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 eight of the last nine Spartan games. On the season, Yanakeff is fourth in the CCHA in win percentage (13-7-1, 64.3%), fourth in save percentage (.927), and seventh in goals against average (2.32).
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 Brock Shelgren, who have been MSU's top defensive pair in 35 of 36 games, have a combined 173 of MSU's 524 blocked shots this season, ranking first and second individually (Krug has 68, Shelgren 105). Tim Buttery has 59 blocks, and Matt Crandell 50.
Shelgren's 105 blocks leads all CCHA players. Alaska's Aaron Gens is second to Shelgren, with 92.
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 Feb. 18 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 98 games to his credit, should reach that mark during this weekend's Miami series.
Brett Perlini played in his 100th career game on Dec. 3 against Bowling Green. 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 21 of his 35 games this season, a team high. Brett Perlini has points in 20 games, Greg Wolfe in 19, and while Lee Reimer and Matt Berry (16 games) are right behind.
Torey Krug leads the squad in multiple-point games, with eight; Lee Reimer and Brett Perlini have seven, and Greg Wolfe has five.
With the shutout at the hands of Notre Dame in the penultimate game of the season, there are Torey Krug owns the team's longest point-scoring streak of anyone this season (seven games), which was halted in that Feb. 24 game against the Irish. In that stretch, he had four goals and nine assists (13 points).
Lee Reimer, Brent Darnell, and Matt Berry all had 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. Will Yanakeff still has two more seasons to earn an All-CCHA nod.
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 announced in December 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) 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.
Some future Spartans are on the National Hockey League's Central Scouting Mid-Term rankings in advance of the 2012 Entry Draft, which will be held in June in Philadelphia.
Four lists are released in the pre-season, mid-season, and at the end of the year; North American goalies and skaters, and European goalies and skaters. Central Scouting releases their rankings, and prospects are evaluated extensively throughout the season by scouts from each of the 30 teams in the NHL. The only players listed in the rankings are those eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft - players with birthdates between Jan. 1, 1992-Sept. 15, 1994.
Matt DeBlouw (Chesterfield, Mich.) is No. 37 on the midseason list, the highest of incoming Spartans. Shattuck St. Mary's defenseman John Draeger (Faribault, Minn.) is no. 71 in the rankings, while Rhett Holland (Calgary, Alberta) checks in at No. 192,
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).
MSU fights this weekend for a spot in the CCHA Championship weekend at Joe Louis Arena March 16-17.
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