Spartans Face Union Friday in NCAA Opener
March 21, 2012
Michigan State has earned an at-large bid to the 2012 Division I men's ice hockey championship, and will play Union College in the first round on Friday, March 23 at 3 p.m.
On the radio, all games will be carried by the Spartan Sports Network. 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.
The television broadcasts of all NCAA East Regional games will air on ESPN U, and some games will be available online on ESPN3. The link to Friday's online broadcast is http://es.pn/ncaa-msu-union.
MSU has earned its 27th NCAA Tournament bid, and first since 2008. Michigan State ranks fourth all-time in NCAA Tournament appearances, tied with North Dakota. Michigan has 35, Boston University 32, and Boston College 31.
Friday's game serves as the first-ever meeting between MSU and Union in the sport of ice hockey.
MSU has an all-time record of 4-2-1 against ECAC teams in NCAA Tournament play, and have defeated squads from that league in two of their three National Championship game victories: the Spartans are defeated Clarkson in the 1966 National Championship game, and downed Harvard in the 1986 title tilt.
Union enters the NCAAs on a roll, sporting 15-2-2 record since the calendar flipped to 2012 and a 24-7-7 mark overall on the year. The Dutchmen captured the ECAC's regular-season title, as well as the Tournament crown last week in Atlantic City.
Union's offensive boasts 3.55 goals per game (good for third nationally) while being the stingiest defense in college hockey, surrendering just 1.82 goals per contest. In addition, Union's power play is an impressive 44/133 (24.0%), and has scored the second-most power play goals in the country, trailing Maine (50). Meanwhile, the Dutchmen penalty kill is 10th in the country, (122/144, 84.7%).
Goaltender Troy Groesnick is the school's first-ever Hobey Baker finalist, as both his stingy 1.65 goals against average and .936 save percentage rank third in the country. Offensively, Jeremy Welsh paces the attack with 25 goals and 15 assists; Daniel Carr (19-19-38) and Wayne Simpson (17-13-30) round out the school's trio of double-digit goal scorers. Kelly Zajak leads the Dutchmen in assists (33), which ranks sixth nationally. Welsh and Carr each boast nine power-play markers.
This marks the second time that there have been five CCHA entries in the national tournament, tying the conference record set in 2004 when five teams (Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State) also advanced.
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.
MSU has six juniors, five sophomores, and five freshmen.
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 finished 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.
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).
Four first-year coaches saw their teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament, and three of those squads will play in Bridgeport this weekend: the Spartans under Anastos, Norm Bazin and UMass Lowell, and Rick Bennett with his Union team. The fourth first-year mentor to bring his team to the NCAA Tournament this season is Western Michigan mentor Andy Murray.
In fact, Anastos will coach in his first NCAA Tournament game one year to the day (and nearly the hour) that he was hired. Anastos was introduced at a press conference at 1 p.m. on March 23, 2011.
Tom Anastos was one of three finalists for CCHA Coach of the Year - the others were Red Berenson of Michigan and the winner, Bob Daniels of Ferris State (a 1982 Michgian State graduate). 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 No. 10 for Rick Comley came in game No. 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 at the helm.
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 had three games against WCHA competition (two against Minnesota, and against Michigan Tech in the GLI) in addition one against Hockey East champ 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 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 has a strength of schedule of No. 2 in the country, behind fellow CCHA member Notre Dame. The top seven teams in terms of strength of schedule are all CCHA squads: Notre Dame, MSU, (3) Northern Michigan, (4) Michigan, (5) Western Michigan, (6) Miami, and (7) Ohio State.
Michigan State played four of the five conference regular-season champions during the 2011-12 campaign: Boston College (Hockey East), Minnesota (WCHA) and Air Force (Atlantic Hockey) in addition to CCHA regular-season champion Ferris State. The Spartans did not have an ECAC team on the schedule in the regular season, but gets ECAC Hockey regular-season and tournament champion Union in the first round.
The opponents MSU has played this season are a combined 304-243-67 (.549). Eleven of the 15 teams 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 (Boston College, Robert Morris, Minnesota, Michigan Tech, and Air Force) are a combined 109-69-18 (.602).
On the season, MSU went 11-3-4 in games at Munn Ice Arena, with the losses coming teams from Ohio - Ohio State and Miami (twice). The Spartans went 2-3-0 in neutral-site games, and 6-9-0 on the road.
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 the regular season, there have been 26 different combinations, the same defensive pairs have been used in the last 17 games and only six line combinations have been used for a single game.
The Spartans are 1-12-1 when scoring two or fewer goals, and 18-3-3 when scoring three or more.
MSU has been outshot this season in 19 of 38 games, and overall, MSU is -177 in total shots, an average of just over four shots per game (4.65).
MSU has played nine overtime game this season, MSU is 2-3-4 in games requiring an extra period (with wins in two of three shootouts in CCHA play.)
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 fourth in the country. MSU has extinguished 131 of 150 chances against this year, (.883).
MSU has allowed exactly two goals to its opponent 16 times in 38 games this season. The Spartans have allowed two goals or fewer 22 times (17-4-1), and three or more on 16 occasions (2-11-3)
Michigan State was swept three times in the regular 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.
MSU was swept by Miami in the CCHA quarterfinal series, by 6-0 and 4-1 margins.
Michigan State is one of the least penalized teams in the country. Of 58 Division I teams, the Spartans are 51st (11.1 PIM/game) and 11th in the CCHA.
MSU is 11-5-1 when scoring first and 8-10-3 when allowing its opponent to do so.
MSU allowed three power-play goals in its CCHA quarterfinal series against Miami on eight chances (72.7% on the penalty kill) after allowing three power play goals (in 39 opportunities) in the entire month of February (36/39, .923). On the season, MSU's penalty kill ranks fourth in the country and is No. 1 in the CCHA, at 139-of-150 (88.3%).
On the power play, the Spartans went 8-for-26 (30.7%) in the first six games of February, but over its last four games (against Notre Dame and Miami), MSU is just 1-for-17 with a man advantage (5.8%). Overall this season, the Spartan power play is at 16.3% (24-of-147).
Through 38 games in the regular season, there are 19 skaters who have appeared in 22 games or more. Of those 19 players, all have at least five points and two goals, and 14 have double-digit points. Last season, MSU had just 10 players in double figures.
Nine of MSU's 15 losses on the season are by a single goal. MSU is 7-9-0 in one-goal games this season. 25 of MSU's 38 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, and its third in the first quarterfinal series game against Miami (6-0)
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.
As a team, MSU has won 51.7% of its faceoffs. The Spartans' top two faceoff men are Brett Perlini (392-328, .544) and Lee Reimer (372-322, .536).
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.
Torey Krug was named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award on March 15. On the season, Krug leads his team in scoring (12-21-33); he leads the team in goals and shares the team lead in assists. He is enjoying his career-best offensive season and is the team's active leader in career scoring (82 points).
Krug ranks fifth nationally among defensemen in points, points per game, and owns the second-most goals among defensemen in the country. He is tied for seventh nationally among defensemen nationally at a +18.
Krug plays in all situations, averaging nearly 29 minutes of ice time per game. In the CCHA's overall statistical rankings, Krug is the top-scoring defenseman in both points and goals, and ranks second in assists. Overall, he ranks eighth in points (33), ninth in assists (21), third in power-play goals (7), and 20th in goals (12).
Krug is the 16th Spartan to be a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist. Two MSU players have captured the award: Kip Miller in 1990, and Ryan Miller in 2001.
MSU's previous Hobey Baker finalists are Ron Scott (1982, 1983), Kelly Miller (1985), Craig Simpson (1985), Mike Donnelly (1986), Bobby Reynolds (1989), Kip Miller (1989, 1990), Bryan Smolinski (1993), Anson Carter (1995), Mike York (1998, 1999), Shawn Horcoff (2000), Ryan Miller (2001, 2002), John-Michael Liles (2003), Jim Slater (2004), and Jeff Lerg (2008).
Torey Krug had a big evening at the CCHA Awards show on March 15, taking home Player of the Year and Best Offensive Defenseman honors. He was also recognized as a First Team All-CCHA selection, MSU's Perani Cup winner (most "Three Stars of the Game" distinctions), and as the league scoring champion. He is the seventh MSU player to earn CCHA Player of the Year honors, and the first since Ryan Miller in 2002.
Only one player in CCHA history has taken home five individual honors in a single CCHA Awards Show - former Spartan skater Shawn Horcoff was the League Player of the Year, Best Defensive Forward, Scoring Champion, All-CCHA First Team, and a member of the All-Academic Team in 2000.
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 won 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 by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association on March 7.
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 overall CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year was chosen from the group of nominees, with Ferris State's Chad Billins taking home top honors.
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 107 blocked shots, and is a +14.
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.
Twelve of MSU's returning 17 skaters have tied or surpassed their career-best offensive seasons: forwards Brett Perlini, 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.
Two others are also within striking distance of their single-season bests: Trevor Nill (three points) Tim Buttery (one point).
Three 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. Anthony Hayes had 11 points in his first two varsity seasons, and now has 11 as a junior.
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. Currently, Torey Krug leads his team with 12 goals, senior Mike Merrifield has 11 goals, and Matt Berry and Greg Wolfe have recorded 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 has six goals and seven assists, second to Berry on the team in freshmen scoring.
Sophomore Will Yanakeff has started nine of the last 11 Spartan games. On the season, Yanakeff is fifth in the CCHA in win percentage (13-8-1, 61.4%), fourth in save percentage (.923), and 10th in goals against average (2.48).
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 37 of 38 games, have a combined 176 of MSU's 558 blocked shots this season, ranking first and second individually (Krug has 69, Shelgren 107). Tim Buttery has 62 blocks, and Matt Crandell 55.
Shelgren's 107 blocks leads all CCHA players. Alaska's Aaron Gens is second to Shelgren, with 92.
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 17 of MSU's 38 games, and owns a 6-7-3 record, 2.69 GAA and .918 save percentage. Will Yanakeff has played eight of the last nine games. In 22 games this season, he owns a 2.48 GAA and .923 save percentage, and a 13-8-1 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 is the most recent addition to the group, playing his 100th in the March 10 game against Miami.
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 22 of his 37 games this season, a team high. Brett Perlini has points in 21 games, Greg Wolfe in 20, while Lee Reimer and Matt Berry (16 games) are right behind.
Torey Krug leads the squad in multiple-point games, with nine; Lee Reimer and Brett Perlini have seven, and Greg Wolfe has five.
With the Spartans being shut out in two of its last four games, there are no active scoring streaks. Torey Krug owns the longest point-scoring streak of any MSU player this season (seven games), which was halted in the Feb. 24 shutout (2-0) by Notre Dame. 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).
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