Nov. 27, 2013
Weekly Press Conference
Head Coach Tom Anastos
On The Fly...
Michigan State will meet Princeton for the first time since 1980 this weekend ... The two teams have met just three times in program history, with MSU winning all three games.
Princeton split a pair of games with No. 5 Quinnipiac last weekend and is 2-3 in its last five games entering Friday's contest with the Spartans ... The Tigers and Spartans share one common opponent in UMass-Lowell, which defeated both MSU and Princeton.
Sophomore defenseman John Draeger and junior forward Matt Berry returned to the lineup and played both games last weekend after missing the first eight games of the season with similar lower-body injuries ... Draeger blocked a total of five shots on the weekend, including four on Friday, while Berry had a total of five shots on goal in the two-game series.
Michigan State ranks fifth in the nation in blocks per game, averaging 16.7 per contest ... The Spartans had a season-high 25 blocked shots vs. WMU on Nov. 22 ... Travis Walsh is the team leader in blocked shots with 21 and his 2.1 blocks per game average ranks in a tie for 28th nationally.
The Spartans continue to be one of the nation's best teams in the faceoff circle, ranking 11th in the country in faceoff win percentage at .532.
Last weekend marked the first games this season MSU lost when outshooting an opponent (3-2) ... The Spartans outshot the Broncos, 22-21 and 29-26, in the two games, respectively.
Michigan State averages just 10.4 penalty minutes per game, which is the fewest of any team in the Big Ten.
The Spartans are averaging 29.9 shots on goal per game this season, which ranks 34th in the nation ... MSU has outshot its opponents, 299-291, this season.
MSU has dressed no fewer than a total of 12 freshmen or sophomores in all 10 games this season ... Including games where sophomore Jake Hildebrand has started in goal, the Spartans have played at least 12 first or second-year players in nine of 10 games.
Michigan State limited Western Michigan to just four shots on goal in the final period on Nov. 23, which was the fewest by any Spartan opponent in the third period this season.
Redshirt freshman Brock Krygier leads the team with a plus-5 rating.
Junior forward Matt Berry and sophomore defenseman John Draeger returned to the ice this past weekend after missing eight games and two-plus months with similar lower-body injuries. Berry, Draeger and sophomore goaltender Nate Phillips all had surgery in September and have spent the past two months training and rehabbing before returning to practice with the team on Nov. 18.
Berry was the Spartans' leading scorer last season with 15 goals and 16 assists, tying for 10th in CCHA scoring with 31 points.
Draeger was one of four Spartan freshmen to have appeared in all 42 games last season. He ranked third in the nation in blocked shots with 89.
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (4-0=4) and Thomas Ebbing (0-3=3) have played together in all 10 games this season and have been linemates since high school at Birmingham Brother Rice. The two also played together in juniors last year with the Chicago Steel in the U.S. Hockey League. So far this season, Ebbing has assisted on three of MacEachern's four goals.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
Michigan State has won more faceoffs than its opponents in seven of 10 games this season. All four Spartan centers that have played at least eight games have a faceoff winning percentage of .500 or better: Mike Ferrantino - .594 (63-43), Lee Reimer - .558 (106-84), Matt DeBlouw - .514 (56-53) and Thomas Ebbing - .500 (55-55).
MSU ranks 11th in the nation with a faceoff win percentage of .532.
SPARTANS INK TWO FOR 2014-15
Tom Anastos announced on Nov. 25 that defenseman Josh Jacobs (Shelby Twp., Mich.) and goaltender Edwin Minney (Wind Gap, Pa.) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Spartans next season.
Josh Jacobs Indiana Ice (USHL) D 6-2, 193 DOB: 2/15/96 NHL Entry Draft Eligible
Jacobs is in his second season with the Indiana Ice ... Had 2-13-15 scoring line in 48 games in his first season with Indiana in 2012-13 ... One of 40 players selected to take part in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh this September ... Played for Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia earlier this month ... Also represented Team USA at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria ... Played midget hockey for Honeybaked U16 in 2011-12.
Edwin Minney U.S. National Team Development Program (Under-18) G 6-4, 191 DOB: 3/29/96 NHL Entry Draft Eligible
Appeared in 35 games for the U.S. National Under-17 Team in 2012-13, posting a 4.04 GAA and .890 save percentage ... Led the U.S. to first place at the 2012 Four Nations Tournament in Monthey, Switzerland, going 3-0 with a 2.25 GAA and .912 save percentage ... Went 1-0-1 with a 2.42 GAA and .896 save percentage at the 2013 Five Nations Tournament win Jarvenpaa, Finland ... Played midget hockey for the Washington Little Capitals of the Tier I Elite League in 2011-12, posting a 2.71 GAA ... Participated in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
The senior class has provided strong leadership so far this season, including on the score sheet where four seniors have combined 40% of the team's points. Greg Wolfe (5-2=7), Jake Chelios (0-6=6), Lee Reimer (2-3=5) and Dean Chelios (0-4=4) have contributed 22 of 52 team points this season.
WOLFE CONTINUES TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Senior Greg Wolfe leads the team in scoring with five goals and seven points. He has been held pointless just twice in eight games this season and has five points (3-2=5) in the last five games.
Senior defenseman Jake Chelios' six assists this season lead the team and already surpass last season's total. He had a career-best three in the 3-1 win over Boston University.
...IS ALSO THE IRON MAN
Jake Chelios is one of 11 players in the nation to have appeared in at least 120 consecutive games. He enters this weekend with a streak of 126 consecutive games played.
MASON TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE U.S. HOCKEY HALL OF FAME ON MONDAY
Former Spartan coach Ron Mason will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday at the Motor City Casino in Detroit. The 41st Hall of Fame class also includes Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, Peter Karmanos, Jr., and Cindy Curley.
Mason spent 36 years behind the bench in college hockey, and finished his coaching career with a record of 924-380-83. In 23 years at MSU, he posted a 635-270-69 mark.. His career highlights include an NCAA Championship at Michigan State in 1986 and an NAIA Championship with Lake Superior State in 1972. He led MSU to 17 CCHA regular-season and playoff titles and guided 23 teams to the NCAA Tournament, an all-time record. In addition, he coached 35 All-Americans and 50 former Spartans who went onto to establish careers in the National Hockey League.
Former MSU coach Amo Bessone joined the Hall of Fame in 2002.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST IN ATTEDANCE
MSU finished last year ranked eighth in the nation in attendance, averaging 5,869 fans per game - its highest home-attendance average since 2003-04 when it averaged 6,438 over the span of 24 games. The Spartans set a Munn Arena single-game attendance record with 7,225 fans on Nov. 10, 2012 vs. Michigan. MSU went 5-0 in home games that were sold out in 2012-13.
Through five games so far this season, MSU ranks 14th nationally with an average of 4,700 fans per game. Nine of the 13 teams ahead of the Spartans with higher attendance averages have played more home games. MSU had a season-high attendance mark of 6,175 vs. Western Michigan on Nov. 22.
THE MUNN ADVANTAGE
Since its opening in Nov. 1974, Munn Ice Arena has provided the Spartans with an undeniable advantage. Now in its 39th season as the home of MSU hockey, Spartan teams have compiled a dominating 520-197-58 (.711) record in the building.
The Spartans went 8-8-1 at Munn Arena last season, continuing the streak of 32 consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better in the facility.
The Spartans' originally-scheduled Saturday, Jan. 25 game vs. Michigan at Joe Louis Arena has been moved to Thursday, Jan. 23. The game, which will still be played at Joe Louis Arena, will begin at 7 p.m. and be televised by Fox Sports Detroit.
True freshmen Joe Cox (2-2=4), Mackenzie MacEachern (4-0=4), Villiam Haag (1-1=2), Thomas Ebbing (0-3=3) and JT Stenglein (1-0=1) have combined for 14 points so far this season, which equates to 25.4% of the team's total points.
MacEachern's four goals tie him for 15th among all freshmen nationally.
ONE OF A KIND
Freshman Villiam Haag is one of 11 players from Sweden in Division I college hockey this season, and just one of 24 from Europe (11 - Sweden, 10 - Finland, 3 - Austria). The native of Gothenburg, Sweden, has appeared in each of the last three games of the season.
Geir Hoff (1986-87) of Oslo, Norway, is the only European letterwinner in MSU program history.
THE BIG TEN BEGINS
Michigan State will begin Big Ten play next weekend when it hosts Minnesota. In the inaugural Big Ten preseason poll as selected by the coaches, Michigan State was selected to finish fourth, along with Ohio State, while Wisconsin was picked to win the conference. Minnesota and Michigan were selected second and third, respectively, while Penn State was picked sixth.
The Spartans had two players selected to the Big Ten Players to Watch List in sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand and junior forward Matt Berry.
GLI PART OF THE HOCKEYTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
The 49th-annual Great Lakes Invitational will take place Dec. 27-28 at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival and the NHL Winter Classic. Michigan State will face host Michigan Tech in the first semifinal on Dec. 27 at 3:30 p.m. and Michigan will play Western Michigan in the other semifinal at 7 p.m. The third-place game and championship game are slated for 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 28. The GLI will lead off five consecutive days of hockey at Comerica as part of the Sirius XM Hockeytown Winter Festival. Two Ontario Hockey League games, an American Hockey League game and two Red Wings-Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Games are scheduled for the days following the GLI.
The Spartans have made 39 appearances in the GLI and have won 12 titles, most recently in 2009.
SPARTANS IN THE NHL
A total of 16 former Spartan hockey players have played in the NHL this season - the second-most alums from any college currently playing in the NHL. Spartans that have played in the NHL this season include: Torey Krug (Boston), Ryan Miller (Buffalo), Corey Tropp (Buffalo), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Shawn Horcoff (Dallas), Chris Mueller (Dallas), Justin Abdelkader (Detroit), Drew Miller (Detroit), Jeff Petry (Edmonton), Corey Potter (Edmonton), Derek Grant (Ottawa), Mike Weaver (Florida), Adam Hall (Philadelphia), Tim Kennedy (Phoenix), David Booth (Vancouver) and Jim Slater (Winnipeg).
Last season, MSU had 16 alums that appeared in the NHL, which was tied for the fourth most among all college programs.
The Spartans will host Minnesota in their inaugural Big Ten series next Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.) at Munn Ice Arena.