Big Ten Tournament at the Joe Begins Thursday for the Spartans
MSU will meet OSU for the third time in the Big Ten Tournament.
|2017 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals
Game 35: No. 6 seed Michigan State (7-23-4, 3-14-3-1 B1G) vs. No. 3 seed Ohio State (20-10-6, 11-8-1-1 B1G)
|Tournament Bracket||2017 B1G Tournament Bracket in PDF | 2017 B1G Tournament Central|
|Date | Time||Thursday, March 16 -- 4:30 p.m.|
|Location||Detroit | Joe Louis Arena (20,027)|
|Tickets||Purchase Tickets Here|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live)|
|Radio (Mobile)||Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Ohio State | Big Ten|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook | Instagram|
On The Fly...
For the third time in four seasons, sixth-seeded Michigan State will meet third-seeded Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament ... MSU is 0-2 against the Buckeyes in the conference tournament, losing both games in OT (2014, 2-1; 2016, 4-3).
The Spartans went 1-3 against Ohio State this season, falling in a pair of one-goal games (2-3, 3-4) in East Lansing, Feb. 17-18, before splitting (5-4, 3-5) in Columbus, March 3-4.
The Spartans have an all-time record of 88-64-8 (.575) at Joe Louis Arena, including a 4-1 mark vs. Ohio State.
Sophomore Mason Appleton finished the regular season as the team's leader in points (30) and goals (12), while tying with freshman Taro Hirose for the lead in assists (18) ... Appleton's 30 points equal that of last year's top producer, Mackenzie MacEachern.
Appleton has five points (1g, 4a) over the last four games and is averaging a point per game over the last 11 contests (3g, 8a).
Hirose has points in 10 of the last 15 games in which he has appeared, posting a 3-10--13 scoring line over the span.
Fellow rookie Sam Saliba, who scored eight of his nine goals on the season in Big Ten play, has a 3-1--4 scoring line over the last four games ... Saliba ranks third on the team with 17 points (9g, 8a).
Three of the Spartans' top-five point producers are rookies -- Hirose (6-18--24), Saliba (9-8--17) and Patrick Khodorenko (7-9--16) ... All three rank in the top-10 in points among the conference's freshmen.
Junior defenseman Carson Gatt was voted to the All-Big Ten honorable mention team ... Gatt has a career-high 11 points (3g, 8a) in 30 games this season.
Junior netminder Ed Minney started the final game of the regular season -- his first start since Feb. 25 -- and recorded 32 saves in a 1-1 tie and shootout win vs. No. 5 Minnesota ... It was the fewest goals Minney yielded since a 3-0 shutout Jan. 20 at Michigan.
Michigan State's strength of schedule is ninth, which is the highest of any Big Ten team.
Michigan State has had at least seven freshmen in the lineup in all 34 games ... Eight MSU rookies have accounted for 40% of the team's total points this season.
Final Act at the Joe
Michigan State will be making its final appearance at Joe Louis Arena, a building in which the Spartans have compiled an all-time mark of 88-64-8 since playing their first game there in the GLI on Dec. 28, 1979. Five of MSU's last six games at JLA have all gone to overtime, including each of the last two -- both vs. Michigan.
Michigan State put together a 17-game winning streak in the building that spanned from March 1982 -- March 1986, during which MSU fans dubbed the building, "Munn East." MSU has won 23 championships in the building, including 12 GLI titles and 11 CCHA Playoff titles.
From Last Weekend at Minnesota
The Spartans closed the regular season with a loss and tie at No. 5 Minnesota ... Ed Minney made 32 saves in the tie and shootout win in his first start since Feb. 25 ... The Spartans held the nation's fourth-ranked power play to 0-for-5 on the weekend ... Mason Appleton scored the Spartans' lone goal of the weekend, while Zach Osburn improved MSU's all-time shootout record against Minnesota to 4-0 by scoring in round three of Saturday's shootout ... It marked the second straight year MSU ended the regular season with a 1-1 tie and shootout win.
Against the Buckeyes This Year
Two of four games -- both MSU losses -- went into the third period tied ... The Spartans raced out a 4-0 lead in their win over the Buckeyes on March 3 in Columbus ... John Lethemon started three of four games (3.71 GAA, .864 Sv. %) ... Sam Saliba has a team-high four goals (three on the power play) vs. OSU this year and three of Logan Lambdin's six goals this season have come vs. Ohio State ... Defensemen Carson Gatt and Jerad Rosburg both have four assists vs. OSU ... MSU's eight goals March 3-4 in Columbus were tied for its most in a series this season.
All-Time History vs. the Buckeyes
MSU leads the all-time series, 89-37-12 ... MSU leads, 6-3, in post season meetings, despite falling in OT in each of the last two ... The Spartans' last OT win over the Buckeyes in a postseason game came at Joe Louis Arena in the 1998 CCHA Tournament title game MSU won, 3-2, in double overtime ... Mason Appleton is the Spartans' active leading scorer against OSU with 10 points (1g, 9a) in nine-career games ... Sam Saliba's four goals are the most vs. Ohio State of any current Spartan.
In the B1G Regular Season
Mason Appleton led MSU in league play in both points (15) and assists (11), while Taro Hirose followed in both points (14) and assists (10) ... Sam Saliba led MSU in scoring in Big Ten play as eight of his nine goals on the year were in league play ... Freshmen accounted for nearly 43% of the Spartans' total points in Big Ten play ... Defenseman Rhett Holland was a team-best plus-5 in league games ... Ed Minney saw the majority of time in net, starting 13 games with a 3.57 goals-against average and .896 save percentage ... John Lethemon had a 3.24 goals-against average and .883 save percentage.
Appleton Continues Production
Sophomore forward Mason Appleton has led the Spartans offensively all season and brings career-high totals in points (30), goals (12) and assists (18) into the Big Ten Tournament. He has seven multi-point games this year, including a career-high three assists vs. Ohio State on March 4.
The native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, plays in all situations, and eight (7 PP, 1 SH) of his 12 goals have come on special teams.
Hirose Delivers Offensive Consistency
Freshman Taro Hirose has been one of the Spartans' most consistent offensive producers this season as he is tied for first on the team in assists (18) while ranking second in points (24), making him MSU's highest-producing freshman since 2009-10.
He has gone consecutive games without a point just twice in the calendar year and has only been held pointless in back-to-back games on five occasions this year.
Rookie Centers Doing Their Part
Freshmen centers Sam Saliba and Patrick Khodorenko have also provided the Spartans some offensive punch as they rank third and fourth, respectively, on the team in points. Saliba has four points (3g, 1a) over the last four games and has 17 points (9g, 8a) this season.
Khodorenko has points in three of the last five games (1g, 2a) entering Thursday and has 16 points (7g, 9a) on the season.
D Chipping In
Spartan defensemen have upped their offensive production as of late, combining for 22 points over the last 12 games. The 22 points since the beginning of February are six more than the defense corps combined to produce through the first 22 games of the season.
The Spartans sported a penalty kill percentage of 81.1% during February, which ranked second in the league during the month ... The Spartans were one of two teams (Wisconsin) with penalty kill percentages above 80% in February.
MSU held Minnesota's fourth-ranked power play to 0-for-5 last weekend, marking the first time the Spartans were perfect on the penalty kill in consecutive games since Jan. 20-21 vs. Michigan.
The Spartans went 3-for-6 on the man-advantage in the March 3-4 series at Ohio State.
The Spartans' five shorthanded goals (Hirose 2, Appleton, Ebbing, Cox) are their most since 2009-10 ... The last time a Spartan team had more than five shorthanded goals in a year was 2002-03 when they had nine.
Taro Hirose is the first Spartan since Lee Reimer in 2013-14 to have two shorties in a season.
Mason Appleton's 18 points (7g, 11a) on the power play are fourth most in the Big Ten ... His seven power-play goals are the most by a Spartan since Torey Krug also had seven in 2011-12.
The power play converted in each of the last five games of January, going 5-for-19 (.263) over the span ... It was the first time the Spartans recorded a power-play goal in five straight contests since 2012.
Villiam Haag is the Spartans' active career leader in power-play goals with 12.
Notes on the Netminders
After freshman John Lethemon started the first three games of the month, junior Ed Minney got the call in the regular-season finale last Saturday at Minnesota where he had his best outing since a Jan. 20 shutout at Michigan, making 32 saves in a 1-1 tie and shootout win vs. the Gophers. Minney, who has started 24 games, has a 3.47 goals-against average and .888 save percentage.
After not seeing any action in the six games during January, Lethemon made four starts and appeared in six games in February. He started both games at Ohio State in March, marking the first time he has started back-to-back games on a weekend. He yielded three or fewer goals in five of his six appearances in February, including three starts, to post a league-best 2.80 goals-against average in the month.
He enters the Big Ten Tournament with a 3.66 goals-against average and .870 save percentage.
Carrier to Work His 1500th Game
Longtime MSU hockey athletic trainer Dave Carrier will work his 1,500th college hockey game on Thursday when the Spartans meet Ohio State. Carrier is in his 33rd season at MSU and worked at Ferris State for five seasons prior to coming to East Lansing.
Carrier was inducted into the National Athletic Trainer's Hall of Fame in June 2015 and received the Jim Fullerton Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association last year.
Spartans' Strength of Schedule Ranks Ninth
Michigan State's strength of schedule ranks ninth in the nation, which is the highest of any Big Ten team. Seven of the Spartans' 14 nonconference games came against teams that are still alive in their conference tournaments (Denver 2; North Dakota 2; Michigan Tech 2; Western Michigan 1).
Stenglein Done For the Year
Head coach Tom Anastos announced Feb. 17 that senior JT Stenglein will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia. Stenglein ends his career with the Spartans having produced 30 points (14g, 16a) in 87 games. He had three goals in 15 games this season before being sidelined due to injury.
Young Blue Liners
The Spartan defense corps includes just three returners as five new blueliners have stepped into the fold this season. The Spartans have dressed at least three freshmen defensemen in all 34 games this year and had four in the lineup in several contests. The three returners -- senior Rhett Holland (138 career GP), Gatt (96 career GP) and sophomore Zach Osburn (71 career GP) -- all appeared in every game last season and are being counted on to help bring along the younger Spartans.
Freshmen Damian Chrcek, Mitch Eliot, Butrus Ghafari and Anthony Scarsella join redshirt freshman Jerad Rosburg on the back end. Eliot has been the only freshman defenseman to have dressed in all 34 games.
Spartans in the NHL
A total of nine Spartans have appeared in the NHL this season: Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings), Derek Grant (Buffalo Sabres), Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Drew Miller (Detroit Red Wings), Ryan Miller (Vancouver Canucks), John-Michael Liles (Boston Bruins), Corey Tropp (Anahiem Ducks) and Jeff Petry (Montreal Canadiens).