Spartans Head North For CCHA Set
Oct. 24, 2012
The Spartans head to Sault Ste. Marie this weekend to open conference play with a two-game set against Lake Superior State.
The Spartans own a 68-34-13 edge in the all-time series.
The Lakers swept MSU in Sault Ste. Marie last October in Tom Anastos' first CCHA series. The Spartans rebounded to earn a win and a tie (and resulting shootout victory) when the teams met for a second time at Munn in January.
Michigan State is 1-2-2 in its last five games against Lake Superior State, and 2-4-3 in its last 10 contests, dating back to an LSSU sweep in January 2009. Prior to that series, MSU had gone 6-0-1 in its previous seven games against the Lakers.
On Thursday, Michigan State fans of all ages are invited to attend the "Meet The Spartans" event for the MSU hockey team from 5-7 p.m. at the Ralph G. Cantile Arena in Cheboygan, Mich. The Spartans will practice, then greet fans on the ice to sign autographs and pose for pictures. For complete information, read the complete release here.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
MSU improved its record to 1-2-1 overall with a victory and a tie over Atlantic Hockey entry Niagara last weekend.
MSU entered the third period of both games against Niagara trailing 2-0, but rallied both nights - the Spartans got a 3-2 win on Friday, and came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to forge a 3-3 tie on Saturday. The Spartans also won the shootout after Saturday's game.
MSU rallied from two-goal deficits in each of the games against Niagara. The last time MSU came back from two goals down was Feb. 10, 2012 at home against Michigan. In that game, Torey Krug scored twice to singlehandedly tie the game, and he then assisted on Matt Berry's game-winner.
MSU dropped its first two games of the season (at Minnesota) for the first time since the 1992-93 season. That team dropped a two-game set to Miami, but went on to finish 24-14-2.
MSU opened its schedule with a top-five team for the second straight season, and surrendered five goals to each. Last year, MSU fell to eventual National Champion Boston College, 5-2, and opened 2012-13 with a 5-1 loss at Minnesota.
Over the last two-plus seasons, MSU is undefeated at home in non-conference games. MSU was 3-0-1 last season against Robert Morris and Minnesota, and was 2-0-2 against Alabama-Huntsville and Maine in 2010-11. MSU is now 1-0-1 in 2012-13, with a January series against future Big Ten foe Penn State on the docket.
On Oct. 9, junior Greg Wolfe was named the 2012-13 captain. Seniors Anthony Hayes, Matt Grassi, and Chris Forfar will serve as alternate captains. Hayes was an alternate captain as a junior in 2011-12.
Michigan State was selected seventh in the pre-season poll of Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) head coaches, and sixth in a survey of the conference's media.
Michigan State is receiving votes in the USCHO.com, but is no longer recieving votes in the USA Hockey Magazine survey.
A total of 25 Michigan State hockey games - including 16 of 19 home regular-season contests - will be televised during the 2012-13 season. Twenty-four games of the 50-game CCHA regular-season schedule involve the Spartans.
Michigan State lost 10 letterwinners from the 2011-12 team which finished fifth in the CCHA and reached the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to the graduation of nine seniors, two-time captain and Hobey Baker finalist Torey Krug signed a free-agent contract with the Boston Bruins and played two NHL games in the regular season, opting to forego his senior campaign.
Tom Anastos guided the Spartans to a 19-16-4 overall record in his first season behind the bench. He is the only coach in MSU history to lead his team to an NCAA Tournament berth in his first season at the helm. He was a CCHA Coach of the Year finalist in 2012.
MSU's strength of schedule in 2011-12 was second in the country, behind Notre Dame. The Spartans have Frozen Four semifinalist Minnesota and Atlantic Hockey entry Niagara on its non-conference docket, and will play NCAA qualifier Western Michigan and potentially Michigan or Michigan Tech in the Great Lakes Invitational as its non-conference slate.
The 2012 Great Lakes Invitational will be a part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival in conjunction with the NHL Winter Classic. MSU will play its third and fourth-ever outdoor games at the GLI. The Spartans will be debuting their vintage-look sweaters at the GLI - a return of the script "Michigan State" logo which was an iconic look for the Spartans for nearly 30 years.
MSU will look for it's 12th CCHA Tournament title in school history, the most of any conference school. Heading into the final season of the CCHA, MSU sits second all-time in CCHA regular-season crowns, with seven (Michigan owns 11). MSU's 11 Tournament titles is three more than Michigan's eight.
The Michigan State penalty kill did not allow a goal in five chances on Friday, and finished the weekend killing of eight of nine chances against. The Spartan PK improved to 16-of-19 on the season (84.2%) overall.
MSU's penalty kill was at 87% last season (134/154), which led the CCHA and ranked fourth in the country.
MSU leads the CCHA and ranks seventh nationally in penalty minutes, averaging 20.2 penalty minutes per game.
Last year, Michigan State was one of the least penalized teams in the country. Of 58 Division I teams, the Spartans were 50th (11.4 PIM/game) and 10th in the CCHA.
Already this season, MSU has been forced to kill off three major (five-minute) penalites, which account for 45 of MSU's 81 total PIM's. MSU's PK has allowed just one power-play goal while killing off a major (against Minnesota). In the second game against Niagara, the Spartans' Matt Berry (facemasking) and Rhett Holland (contact to the head) were almost back-to-back - Holland was whistled for his infraction just 45 seconds after Berry's had expired.
The Spartan power play operated at a 16.7% efficiency in 2011-12, (25/150), seventh in the CCHA and 40th nationally. Currently, MSU has scored one extra-man goal in 12 chances this season (8.3% efficiency).
trends, streaks, and tendencies
Michigan State has scored eight goals in four games, all in the third period. MSU has yet to put a goal on the board in the first or second period this season.
MSU was 11-5-1 when scoring first last season, and 8-11-3 when allowing its opponent to do so. The Spartans have yet to score the first goal of the game this year.
NUMBERS DON'T LIE
MSU leads the CCHA in penalty minutes, averaging 20.2 penalty minutes per game.
MSU scored just once in each game in its first two losses at No. 1 Minnesota, and scored three in a win and a tie with Niagara. Last year, the Spartans were 1-13-1 when scoring two or fewer goals, and 18-3-3 when scoring three or more.
MSU went 11-5-1 when scoring first and 8-11-3 when allowing its opponent to do so in games last season. MSU has allowed its opponent to score first in each of its four games this season.
As a team, MSU is winning 54.2 percent of its faceoffs. MSU's top two faceoff men are Lee Reimer (56.2%) and freshman Matt DeBlouw (54.5%). Freshman Michael Ferrantino has taken about half the faceoffs that the other two have, but has won 15 of 22 (68.2%).
Senior forward Dean Chelios missed the opening series with an arm injury, and continues to be evaluated. He is out indefinitely.
Redshirt freshman Branden Carney fractured his C1 and C2 vertebrae in a practice fall last October. Carney wore a "halo" for more than three months, but has had a remarkable recovery from what could have been a devastating injury. He is hoping to receive clearance to once again play hockey.
Kevin Walrod missed last Saturday's game due to illness. He is expected back in the lineup for the LSSU series.
Matt Berry was MSU's hero last Friday against Niagara, netting the game-winner on the power play at 14:07 of the final period. It capped a three-goal rally in less than six minutes. Berry's tally was also MSU's first power-play goal of the season.
Brent Darnell got the game-tying goal for MSU in the final minute of the third period on Saturday, then sealed the shootout win by scoring as MSU's third shooter. JR G Will Yanakeff made three saves in the shootout for the win.
Greg Wolfe was MSU's scoring leader against the Purple Eagles. On Friday, he had assists on the game-tying goal Matt Berry's game-winner. On Saturday, he started MSU's comeback from a 2-0 deficit with MSU's first marker, then had the primary assist on Brent Darnell's game-tying tally with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
Matt DeBlouw became the first freshman to score a goal, netting his first collegiate tally midway through the third period of Saturday's game against Niagara. He had a goal and an assist on the weekend.
John Draeger had a pair of assists in Saturday's 3-3 deadlock with the Purple Eagles, the first multiple-point outing for a first-year player this season. Draeger (+3 on the weekend) also blocked four shots on the weekend, a team best.
Draeger leads the team with nine blocked shots, which is nearly a quarter of the team total (38).
No player has had points in more than two of MSU's four games. Matt DeBlouw, Lee Reimer, and Greg Wolfe are the only three to have an active point-scoring streak, with points in each of the two games against Niagara.
MSU's 27-man roster averages 6-0, 195 lbs.
Jake Chelios is the only defenseman who appeared in 25 games or more last year to return to the roster this season. Senior Matt Grassi was injured in the Miami series in early January, and missed the remainder of the season.
While only two of MSU's defenseman are returning letterwinners, both RJ Boyd and Nickolas Gatt have appeared in college hockey games. Boyd played 15 games at Sacred Heart in 2010-11 before returning to junior hockey, while Gatt played 52 games over the last two seasons for Alabama-Huntsville.
MSU returns just 55% of its scoring from a year ago (161 of 293 points, and 59% of its goal production (65 of 111 goals scored). However, 70% of its scoring from its forwards return, but just 11.6% of its defenseman scoring from a year ago (9 of 161 returning points).
MSU welcomes 12 new faces to the roster this season: five forwards, six defensemen, and one goaltender. In addition, redshirt freshman Justin Hoomaian returns to the roster healthy after missing all but five games last season with injury.
Three incoming freshmen were selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. Blueliner John Draeger heard his name called by his home-state Minnesota Wild at No. 68, and fellow rearguard Rhett Holland went to Phoenix with their fourth-round selection. Matt DeBlouw was Calgary's seventh-round pick at No. 186 overall.
Transfer RJ Boyd was selected by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Boyd was the 186th pick overall, and went to the Panthers in the seventh round.
Junior Will Yanakeff started 10 of the final 12 Spartan games in 2011-12. On the season, Yanakeff was fifth in the CCHA in win percentage (13-9-1, 58.7%), fifth in save percentage (.922), and 10th in goals against average (2.50).
Will Yanakeff was named to the Preseason All-CCHA Team. Yanakeff was the Second Team goaltender.
Matt Berry was an Honorable Mention selection to the 2012 CCHA All-Rookie Team. Berry was MSU's top freshman scorer, with 11 goals and eight assists (19 points).