Spartans Face Ohio State in Big Ten Tournament
Spartans and Buckeyes will meet in the quarterfinals of the inaugural tournament.
March 19, 2014
Weekly Press Conference
Head Coach Tom Anastos
On The Fly...
Fifth-seeded Michigan State will take on the No. 4 seed Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Big Ten Hockey Tournament ... The winner will face top-seeded Minnesota in the semifinals on Friday at 8 p.m. ET ... MSU is 0-1-3-1 against the Buckeyes this season.
The Spartans have won two of their last three games, topping No. 11/12 Michigan, 4-3 (March 8), and No. 5 Wisconsin, 5-4, in overtime (March 14).
MSU has a power-play goal in a season-best four consecutive games, going 6-for-9 on the man-advantage over the stretch ... On the season, MSU is 22-for-136 (.162).
Michigan State continues to be one of the best shot-blocking teams in the nation as it currently leads the country in blocks per game at 17.49 and ranks fifth in total blocks at 612 ... MSU has blocked +20 shots in 15 games this season, going 7-4-4 in such contests.
Spartan defensemen boast five of the 12 highest blocked-shot totals in the Big Ten, led by Travis Walsh with 81.
Michigan State is 10-2 when scoring at least three goals this season ... A total of nine different Spartans have game-winning goals this season.
The six-man senior class has provided 39% of the Spartans' total points and 32% of the team's goals ... Greg Wolfe (12-18-30), Lee Reimer (9-12-21) and Jake Chelios (2-19-21) are the team's top-three point producers.
Matt Berry has four goals over his last three games and was named the Big Ten First Star of the Week on Monday after scoring three goals vs. Wisconsin ... Berry ranks second on the team in goals (10) and leads in power-play goals (6).
Against Wisconsin last weekend, the Spartans posted their best offensive production in a conference series this season ... The line of Matt DeBlouw, Lee Reimer and Greg Wolfe produced nine points (3-6), while Villiam Haag, Mike Ferrantino and Matt Berry contributed eight points (5-3).
Lee Reimer has points in seven of the last 10 games (5-2-7), including each of the last three (2-1-3)
Greg Wolfe enters the tournament on a four-game point streak (4-6-7), tying a career long ... It is his second four-game point streak of the season and fourth of his career.
MSU ranks 22nd in the nation in goals allowed per game at 2.60 ... Opponents have scored more than two goals against the Spartans in just 15 of 35 games this season.
Jake Chelios ranks second among Big Ten defensemen in assists with 19, while his 21 points are third most among all conference blueliners.
AGAINST THE BUCKEYES
Matt Berry leads MSU with six points (3-3) against the Buckeyes this season. Greg Wolfe also has three goals against OSU, while Jake Chelios has a team-best four assists. In 10-career games against Ohio State, Berry has a team-leading 10 points (5-5).
Coach Tom Anastos is 3-4-3 all-time against the Buckeyes.
WOLFE, CHELIOS AND HILDEBRAND EARN ALL-BIG TEN HONORABLE MENTION
Senior defenseman Jake Chelios, senior forward Greg Wolfe and sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten, it was announced on Monday. The all-conference teams were selected by the league's head coaches and a media panel.
In his second season as the Spartans' captain, Greg Wolfe leads the team in points (30) and goals (12), while ranking second in assists (18). Chelios has had a career year on the blue line for the Green and White. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich., native has produced 19 assists, which ranks second among all defensemen in the conference. His 21 points are third-best among all blueliners. Hildebrand's 31 starts are the second most of any goaltender in the conference. He has faced more shots (972) and made more stops (897) than any goaltender in the league.
GOING OUT STRONG
Michigan State's senior class of Dean Chelios, Jake Chelios, Nick Gatt, Lee Reimer, Greg Wolfe and Will Yanakeff has combined to play in 684-career games. This season, the group of six has combined for 32% of the team's goals and 39% of its points. Greg Wolfe (12-18-30), Jake Chelios (2-19-21) and Lee Reimer (9-12-21) rank as the MSU's top-three point producers, while the same trio, plus Dean Chelios, is accountable for 43% of the team's assists this season.
Wolfe enters play on Thursday with 88-career points (34-54), which is the highest-career total for a Spartan since Tim Crowder finished with 106 (50-56) in 2009.
BEST FOR LAST
Greg Wolfe and Lee Reimer have both heated up of late and bring point streaks into this weekend. Wolfe is on a four-game point streak (4-6-7), while Reimer has a three-game point streak (2-1-3). Reimer has points in seven the last 10 games and Wolfe has been held off the score sheet just twice over the last 10 contests.
POWER PLAY CATCHES FIRE
The Spartan power play enters the Big Ten Tournament on its best streak of the season, having scored in each of the last four games. MSU is 6-for-9 (.667) on the power play over the last four games, including pumping in four goals on the man-advantage last weekend (3-for-3, 1-for-2) vs. Wisconsin. The four-game power-play goal streak is MSU's longest of the season and its best since it had a goal on the man-advantage in six consecutive games from Feb. 3-Feb. 18, 2012.
In leading the nation in blocked shots per game at 17.49, the Spartans have amassed a total of 612 blocks - 20 more than their total all of last season (42 games).
MSU has blocked 88 more total shots than OSU, which has the second-most blocks in the league.
Spartan defensemen boast five of the 12 highest blocked-shot totals in the Big Ten: Travis Walsh (81, second), RJ Boyd (61, sixth), John Draeger (60, seventh), Jake Chelios (58, ninth) and Brock Krygier (55, T-10th).
MSU has blocked at least 20 shots in 15 games this season, going 7-4-4 in those contests.
The Spartans' season high in blocked shots was 26 on Jan. 24 vs. Michigan.
Sophomore defenseman Travis Walsh ranks second in the Big Ten lead in total blocked shots with 81, while his 2.53 blocks per game average also ranks second in the league and third in the nation.
NOTES ON THE WISCONSIN SERIES
The Spartans' 64 combined shots on goal in the series were their second-highest total in a Big Ten series this season as they had 65 (33, 32) vs. Michigan on Jan. 23-24.
Greg Wolfe led MSU with four assists, while Matt Berry had three goals, two of which game on the power play.
The Spartans blocked 22 shots in the 5-4 overtime win.
The overtime win was MSU's first since March 8, 2013 when it defeated Alaska, 2-1, in the CCHA playoffs ... Prior to last night, the Spartans' last OT win at home came Jan. 11, 2011 vs. Michigan (4-3).
Lee Reimer's OT winner was the second of his career ... Reimer's last OT game-winning goal lifted MSU over Air Force, 3-2, on Oct. 8, 2011 in the Ice Breaker Tournament.
SPARTANS IN THE BIG TEN STATISTICAL RANKINGS
Points: Greg Wolfe (12-18-30) - ninth
Goals: Wolfe (12) - T-seventh
Assists: Jake Chelios (19) - T-eighth
Jake Chelios' 19 assists are second most among all defensemen and his 21 points are third best among blueliners.
FERRANTINO PRODUCTIVE ON MULTIPLE FRONTS
Sophomore Mike Ferrantino has continued to be one of Michigan State's most consistent players this season. He currently ranks fourth on the team in points with 20 (9-11). Six of his goals have come since Jan. 1, which are the third most of any Spartan over that span.
Ferrantino's plus-3 rating is tied for the second on the team. He has been a plus or even player in 28 of 35 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 .545 winning percentage, which also ranks in a tie for ninth in the Big Ten.
THE IRON MAN
Jake Chelios is one of 10 players in the nation to have appeared in at least 150 consecutive games. Chelios enters play on Thursday having played in 152 consecutive games.
NEW LINE COMBINATIONS PRODUCE
The Spartans posted their best offensive numbers in a series last weekend, scoring a Big Ten series-high eight goals, including four on the power play, which was also their best in consecutive conference games. The lines of Matt DeBlouw, Lee Reimer and Greg Wolfe (3-6-9) and Villiam Haag, Mike Ferrantino and Matt Berry (5-3-8) accounted for 17 of the Spartans' 23 total points on the weekend.
Michigan State has had 39 different line combinations this season with the unit of Mackenzie MacEachern, Thomas Ebbing and Joe Cox playing the most amount of games together - 19. The all-freshman unit combined for 13-18-31. Ryan Keller, Lee Reimer and Greg Wolfe have played 13 games together, producing 31 points (13-18) - the most of any line combination.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
Prior to its current season-high streak of four consecutive games with a power-play goal, the Spartans' best streak on the man-advantage was three straight contests from Dec. 27-Jan. 10.
MSU has scored at least two power-play goals in a game four times this season: March 14 vs. Wisconsin (3-for-3); Feb. 8 vs. Ohio State (2-for-6); Jan. 24 vs. Michigan (2-for-5) and Dec. 1 vs. Princeton (3-for-7) ... The Spartans are 2-1-1 in those four games.
12 of the Spartans' 22 total power play goals this season have come in conference play.
Greg Wolfe leads MSU in power-play points (4-9-13), which ranks in a tie for fifth in the Big Ten, and his nine assists are tied for fourth ... Matt Berry's six power-play goals rank fourth in the Big Ten.
Lee Reimer (2 goals, 1 assist) leads the team lead in shorthanded scoring.
BERRY GETS ROLLING
After undergoing offseason surgery and missing 12 of the Spartans' first 14 games, junior Matt Berry has appeared in 20 of the last 21 games, giving the MSU offense a lift with a 10-7-17 scoring line over that span.
The Canton, Mich., native 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).
HILDEBRAND A RICHTER AWARD CANDIDATE
Jake Hildebrand is one of 18 candidates for the inaugural Mike Richter Award, presented by Let's Play Hockey and The Herb Brooks Foundation. The award honors the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men's hockey and will be presented at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Hildebrand has been named one of the Big Ten's Stars of the Week on four occasions this season. He was tabbed the league's first star after posting a .972 save percentage in the GLI, which included a 29-save shutout victory over then No. 3 Michigan. He was also named the first start after making a career-high 48 saves in 3-0 win over Penn State on Jan. 17.
SPARTANS IN THE NHL
A total of 17 former Spartan hockey players have played in the NHL this season: Torey Krug (Boston), Corey Potter (Boston), 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), Derek Grant (Ottawa), Mike Weaver (Montreal), Adam Hall (Philadelphia), Tim Kennedy (Phoenix), Ryan Miller (St. Louis), David Booth (Vancouver) and Jim Slater (Winnipeg).