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Spartan Hockey Exhibition Set for 2 p.m. on Saturday

Oct. 6, 2017

University of Toronto vs. Michigan State
 Date | Time Saturday, Oct. 7 | 2 p.m.
 Location East Lansing | Munn Ice Arena (6,114)
 Tickets MSUSpartans.com
 Live Stats Gametracker
 Game Notes Michigan State
 Social Media @MSU_Hockey   | Facebook | Instragram

The Spartans host the University of Toronto in an exhibition game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. It will be the Spartans' last tuneup before the regular season begins Oct. 13 at Bowling Green.

Danton Cole takes the helm of the Spartan hockey program as the seventh head coach in school history ... Cole spent the last seven seasons with the USNTDP and was introduced as MSU's new head coach on April 11.

• The Spartans will feature a young roster with a total of 19 underclassmen (8 freshmen, 11 sophomores) ... Last season, MSU had at least seven freshmen in the lineup in all 35 games.

• The Spartans return 59% of their point production from last season, 40% of which came from the freshman class ... MSU's top returning scorers are all sophomores -- Taro Hirose (6-18--24), Sam Saliba (10-8--18) and Patrick Khodorenko (7-11--18), and all three ranked in the top 10 in points among Big Ten freshmen.

• Hirose's 24 points (6g, 18a) were the most by a Spartan freshman since Derek Grant had 30 (12g, 18a) in 38 games in 2009-10.

• While the Spartan defense corps is young with just two upperclassmen in senior Carson Gatt and junior Zach Osburn, the returning sophomores earned some significant experience last season ... Mitch Eliot and Jerad Rosburg appeared in 35 and 33 games, respectively, while Butrus Ghafari played in 21 games and Damian Chrcek 16.

• Gatt, who earned a spot on the honorable mention All-Big Ten team, had a career best 12 points (3-9--12) last year.

• The Spartans will begin the season with three assistant captains in senior Carson Gatt, junior Brennan Sanford and sophomore Sam Saliba.

Definitely Green
With 19 underclassmen, including eight freshmen and 11 sophomores, the Spartans rank as the fourth-youngest team in the nation with an average age of 20 years, 335 days as of Oct. 1. The Spartans' 19 underclassmen are tied for the third-most freshmen and sophomores in college hockey. Last season, MSU was the sixth-youngest team in the nation.

MSU's three seniors are tied for the fewest in the Big Ten and the fourth fewest in the nation. It's the fewest seniors MSU has had since 2010-11 when it had two.

About Toronto
Toronto has played five exhibition games, going 3-2 ... The Varsity Blues lost to the Brampton Beast of the ECHL the last time out on Oct. 4, 5-4, in a shootout ... Toronto went 6-23 last season.

Last Year vs. Toronto; MSU 2, Toronto 2
The Spartans and Varsity Blues met for the first time since 2004 on Oct. 2 last season ... MSU outshot UT, 34-15, for the game, including 14-2 in the opening period ... The Spartans built a 2-0 second-period lead on goals by Mason Appleton and Patrick Khodorenko, but the Varsity Blues used a pair of power-play goals to knot the game ... Ed Minney (six saves) and John Lethemon (seven saves) split time in goal.

Of Note on the Newcomers
9 | Mitchell Lewandowski | F
Helped guide the Chicago Steel to the USHL's 2017 Clark Cup championship with 12 points (3-9) in 13 playoff games ... Ranked sixth on the team with 34 points (15-19) in 55 regular-season games in his second season with the Steel.

11 | Tommy Apap | F
Played two seasons in the USHL, recording 20 points (4-16) for Youngstown last year.

12 | Tommy Miller | D
Played the last year and a half with the USNTDP, compiling 20 points (3-17) in 65 games in 2016-17.

16 | Brody Stevens | F
Recorded 28 points (12-16) for the Green Bay Gamblers in his third full season in the USHL in 2016-17 ... Led Green Bay with 134 penalty minutes.

19 | David Keefer | F
Led the Des Moines Buccaneers in points (46), goals (19) and power-play goals (7) in 2016-17 in his third USHL season.

21 | Jake Smith | F
Averaged a point-per-game for the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) in the 2016-17 regular season, registering 58 points (32-26) in 58 games to rank third on the team.

24 | Austin Kamer | F
Recorded 43 points (17-26) in 57 games for the Lone Star Brahmas (NAHL) last season ... Took on future teammate Gianluca Esteves in the Robertson Cup Finals, with Kamer's Brahmas winning the title.

28 | Gianluca Esteves | F
Had 45 points (17-28) in 60 regular-season games for the Aston Rebels in his first season in the NAHL last year ... Helped lead the Rebels to the NAHL Robertson Cup Finals, recording 9 points (5-4) in 12 playoff games.

New Faces Behind the Bench
Joining Danton Cole on the Spartan staff are assistant coaches Chris Luongo and Joe Exter. Luongo, a former Spartan hockey captain who played with Cole from 1985-89, spent the last two seasons at the USNTDP. Prior to joining USA Hockey, Luongo spent four seasons at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, first as an assistant under Cole from 2008-10, and then as head coach from 2010-12. Exter comes to East Lansing from Ohio State where he spent the last six years in the same role. Exter is also a USA Hockey alum, having coached with the USNTDP from 2007-11.

Spartans on NHL Opening Night Rosters
A total of seven Spartans were on National Hockey League opening night rosters: Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings), David Booth (Detroit Red Wings), Derek Grant (Anaheim Ducks), Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Ryan Miller (Anaheim Ducks) and Jeff Petry (Montreal Canadiens).

Up Next
The Spartans begin the regular season Oct. 13 at Bowling Green and then meet the Falcons the next night at Munn.

 

 

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