Cole, Spartans Open 2017-18 Season This Weekend
Michigan State will begin the new season with a home-and-home series vs. Bowling Green.
|Games 1-2: Michigan State (0-0, 0-0 B1G) vs. Bowling Green (0-1, 0-0 WCHA)|
|Dates | Times||Friday, Oct. 13 - 7:37 p.m. | Saturday, Oct. 14 - 7:05 p.m.|
|Locations||Fri. – Bowling Green, Ohio | Slater Family Ice Arena (5,000) |
Sat. – East Lansing | Munn Ice Arena (6,114)
|Video Stream||Fri. - WCHA.tv|
Sat. - BTN Plus on BTN2Go
|Live Stats||Friday | Saturday|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | WJIM 1240-AM (Fri.), WVFN 730-AM (Sat.)|
|Radio (Mobile)||Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Bowling Green | Big Ten|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook | Instragram|
On The Fly…
• Michigan State will open its 77th season by taking on Bowling Green for the first time since the final year of the CCHA in 2013 ... MSU is 41-30-5 in season openers and is meeting BGSU in a season-opener for the first time since 1994 (W, 6-3).
• Danton Cole will make his debut as the seventh head coach in Spartan hockey history … Cole spent the last seven seasons with the USNTDP and was introduced as MSU’s new head coach on April 11.
• The Spartans feature the fourth-youngest roster in college hockey 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.
A New Era Begins
Spartan alum and Lansing native Danton Cole is back home and takes the helm as the seventh head coach in Michigan State hockey history. The 18-year coaching veteran spent the last seven seasons with the USNTDP and is returning to the college ranks for the first time since 2010 when he capped a three-year stint as head coach of Alabama-Huntsville with a league title and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
As player from 1986-89, Cole was part of one of the most successful eras in program history as the Spartans posted a .738 winning percentage, won the 1986 National Championship, captured two CCHA tournament and regular-season titles and made three trips to the Frozen Four.
Cole is looking to join Ron Mason (1979) and Amo Bessone (1951) as Spartan head coaches that have won their MSU debuts.
About Bowling Green
Bowling Green began the regular season on Tuesday with a 3-1 loss at Western Michigan ... Bowling Green is coming off a 20-18-2 overall record last year … The Falcons went 14-13-1 in the WCHA regular season, finishing fourth, and then advanced to the WCHA Championship … BGSU returns nine forwards and five defensemen that appeared in last year’s league title game … Senior Mitch McLain was the team’s leading scorer last year with 33 points (17g, 16a) … BGSU returns four players that recorded 20 or more points last year … Goaltender Ryan Bednard had a 2.71 GAA and .882 save percentage in seven games last year.
Cole’s BGSU Connection
Head coach Danton Cole is the latest Spartan hockey coach with a connection to Bowling Green. Cole’s first collegiate coaching job came in 2006-07 as an assistant coach with the Falcons. Legendary Spartan coach Ron Mason spent six seasons as head coach at BGSU before coming to East Lansing in 1979. Notes on the Exhibition: Spartans 3, Toronto 0
The Spartans topped Toronto, 3-0, on Oct. 7 in their lone exhibition game … Freshman Mitchell Lewandowski assisted on all three goals, while sophomore Patrick Khodorenko had a goal and an assist … Junior Cody Milan (power-play) and Taro Hirose scored the second and third goals, respectively, for the Spartans … Ed Minney started in goal and made seven saves, while John Lethemon played the final 30:23 and also made seven stops … MSU outshot Toronto, 33-14.
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.
• The Spartans have a CCHA flair to their non-conference schedule in taking on former league rivals Bowling Green (Oct. 13-14), Western Michigan (Oct. 20-21), Lake Superior State (Oct. 27-28) and Ferris State (Nov. 17-18).
• The Spartans will play a total of 15 games against teams that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament: Minnesota (4), Ohio State (4), Penn State (4), Western Michigan (2) and Michigan Tech (1).
• The Nov. 3-4 series at Minnesota marks the earliest the Spartans have opened Big Ten play since the formation of the conference in 2013-14 ... The earliest the Spartans played a Big Ten series prior to this season was at Ohio State, Nov. 20-21, 2014.
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.
Young Spartans Finish 2016-17 Strong
The young Spartans grew up quickly as last year’s season progressed and provided a majority of the offense over the final half of the year. Sam Saliba led MSU in points with 13 (9g, 4a) over the final 16 games. Nine of Sam Saliba’s 10 goals came over the final 15 games and he had points in four of the year’s last five games. Taro Hirose had 12 points (3g, 9a) over the final 16 games of the year.
Returning Spartans accounted for 62% of the team’s points over the final 16 games of the year.
Spartans on NHL Opening Night Rosters
A total of seven Spartans are currently on National Hockey League 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).
The Spartan roster features more players from the state of Michigan than in any prior year as 18 of the 25 players (72%) call the Great Lakes state home.
Roster Odds & Ends
Khodorenko is the second Spartan in program history from the state of California (Jeremy Jackson 2000-01) … Ed Minney (No. 45), Mitch Eliot (No. 52), Jerad Rosburg (No. 57) and Logan Lambdin (No. 71) are the first Spartans in program history to wear their respective numbers ... Jake Smith’s uncle in longtime NHL assistant coach Barry Smith, who has won a total of seven Stanley Cups in his career.
The Spartans will meet Western Michigan in a home-and-home series next weekend. The two teams will meet at Munn Ice Arena on Friday and then in Kalamazoo on Saturday.