Home-And-Home Series Awaits Spartans
Oct. 31, 2012
MSU prepares for a home-and-home series with Bowling Green this weekend. The Spartans play at home on Friday in a rare 5 p.m. start, then head to Ohio Saturday evening.
MSU owns a 71-29-8 all-time record in the series against the Falcons. MSU is 40-9-3 in games played in East Lansing, and 24-18-5 in contests played at BGSU Ice Arena.
The Spartans have won four straight in the series, and overall are unbeaten in their last eight contests against the Falcons. Last season, the Spartans swept both ends of a home series in December, 5-1 and 4-1.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
MSU earned a road split in its series at Lake Superior State. MSU dropped Friday's game by a 3-2 margin, but rebounded with a 4-2 Saturday victory.
The Spartans snapped a four-game winless streak at LSSU, last winning in the Soo in January 2011 .
MSU scored a season-high four goals in its first road victory of the year on Saturday.
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 poll, but is no longer receiving 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.
Tom Anastos owns a 21-19-4 overall record in his second 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.
MSU went 3-for-6 on the power play in Saturday's win over the Lakers, and a combined 4-for-11 in the series. In its previous four games, the Spartans had just one man-advantage tally in 12 chances.
MSU is 5-for-23 (21.7%) on the power play, which is third in the CCHA and 14th nationally through games of Oct. 28.
The Spartan penalty kill is 22-of-27 (81.5%) on the season, which ranks eighth in the CCHA.
Already this season, MSU has been forced to kill off three major (five-minute) penalties, which account for 45 of MSU's 103 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.
TRENDS, STREAKS, AND TENDENCIES
At Lake Superior, MSU scored in the second period on Friday, its first second-period marker of the year. John Draeger's first-period tally on Saturday was MSU's first in the opening frame.
Michigan State scored eight goals in its first four games, all in the third period.
Draeger's first-period goal on Saturday marked the first time the Spartans had scored first in a game this season. It was also the first time they held a lead at an intermission. MSU was 11-5-1 when scoring first last season, and 8-11-3 when allowing its opponent to do so.
No player has had points in more than four of MSU's six games. Lee Reimer has a point in four straight games, the team's top active streak. Tanner Sorenson has points in four of six games (and two straight), while Chris Forfar, Matt DeBlouw, and Brent Darnell have points in three games on the season.
NUMBERS DON'T LIE
MSU leads the CCHA and ranks sixth nationally in penalty minutes, averaging 17.2 penalty minutes per game. However, the Spartans have only been whistled for more penalty minutes than their opponents in two of six contests.
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 five of its six games this season.
As a team, MSU is winning 51.8 percent of its faceoffs. MSU's top two faceoff men are freshman Matt DeBlouw (55.7%) and junior Lee Reimer (54.5%) Freshman Michael Ferrantino is at an even 50% (19-of-38).
Senior forward Dean Chelios will miss the 2012-13 season with injury. He plans to redshirt and return as a senior in 2013-14, when his brother, Jake, will also be a senior.
Kevin Walrod has missed the last three games with the flu. He is expected back in the lineup for the Bowling Green series.
Freshman defenseman Rhett Holland (upper body) was injured in the Oct. 26 game against Lake Superior State. He is out indefinitely.
Freshman forward Ryan Keller (upper body) was injured in practice on Oct. 24. He missed the Lake Superior State series, and 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.
Tanner Sorenson was MSU's leading point scorer against Lake Superior State. Sorenson scored once in each game and added an assist in the Saturday contest.
Tanner Sorenson had a 2-6-8 scoring line last year as a freshman. Through six games, he owns a 3-3-6 line in his sophomore season.
Freshman Jake Hildebrand earned his first collegiate start against Lake Superior on Oct. 27, and made 28 saves in a 4-2 victory. He also played one period at Minnesota in the second game of the series. He owns a 2.25 GAA and .925 save percentage.
John Draeger's Saturday goal was his first collegiate tally, and he also added an assist in the game. He is the team's top-scoring freshman with a goal and three assists.
Anthony Hayes scored a pair of third-period goals against LSSU in the weekend set, tying his career best in a season (set as both a freshman and a junior) . He has never before scored goals in back-to-back games.
Justin Hoomaian had an assist on Hayes' third-period marker on Saturday, the first collegiate point for the redshirt freshman. Tyler Walsh earned his first career point on fellow blueliner John Draeger's first-period power-play goal.
Matt Berry had the eventual game-winner for the Spartans in the third period on Saturday. He has the game-winner in each of MSU's two victories, which places him in a tie for first nationally in game-winning goals.
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.
Three 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.
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).
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