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Spartans Play Host to No. 4 Notre Dame This Weekend at Munn

Nov. 29, 2017

Games 15-16: No. 4/3 Notre Dame (12-3-1, 6-0 B1G) vs. Michigan State (7-6-1, 1-4-1-1 B1G)
 Dates | Times Friday, Dec. 1 -- 7:05 p.m. | Saturday, Dec. 2 -- 7:05 p.m.
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Munn Ice Arena (6,114)
 Tickets MSUSpartans.com
 BTN Plus on BTN2Go Friday | Saturday
 Live Stats Friday | Saturday
 Radio Spartan Sports Network (Listen Live) | WJIM 1240-AM
 Radio (Mobile) Broadcast available on Spartan Sports Network Mobile App: iPhone/iPad | Android
 Game Notes Michigan State | Notre Dame | Big Ten
 Social Media @MSU_Hockey   | Facebook | Instragram

The Last Meeting
Notre Dame1
Michigan State4
January 12, 2013
East Lansing, Mich.
Spartans Knock Off No. 2 Notre Dame, 4-1
Michigan State's solid effort was rewarded with a convincing 4-1 victory over No. 2 Notre Dame in front of a capacity crowd of 6,714 fans at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday night. Coming off a strong Friday game which saw the team go toe-to-toe with the Irish and suffer a 1-0 loss, MSU stuck to its game plan, getting a considerable scoreless streak off its back and recording its best win of the season thus far.

On The Fly...

• Michigan State returns home to host No. 4 Notre Dame this weekend at Munn Ice Arena ... The Spartans are coming off a loss and a tie -- with a shootout win -- at Penn State ... Notre Dame enters Friday's game on a nine-game winning streak.

• MSU and Notre Dame are meeting as conference foes for the first time since January 2013 when they were members of the CCHA ... The two schools were CCHA rivals for 23 seasons ... MSU leads the all-time series, 61-43-11, including a 36-15-4 mark at home.

• The Spartans went 3-4-1 in November and are 3-1-1 in their last five games entering Friday's contest.

•The Spartans' KHL line of Patrick Khodorenko, Taro Hirose and Mitchell Lewandowski has accounted for 48 points (18g, 30a) -- 49% of the team total ... At least one member of the KHL line has been involved in 12 of the Spartans' last 15 goals.

Mitchell Lewandowski continues to lead all freshmen nationally in points (18), goals (9), points-per-game (1.29), power-play goals (4) and game-winning goals (3) ... Lewandowski has points in five of the last six games with a 6-3-9 scoring line over the span.

• Sophomore Taro Hirose scored in both games last weekend, extending his point streak to six games with a 3-5-8 scoring line over the stretch ... It is the second six-game point streak of the season for Hirose, who began the season with a point in each of the first six games.

• Hirose is tied for third in the Big Ten in assists (12) and tied for fifth in the conference in points (17).

• Sophomore Patrick Khodorenko is on a career best five-game point streak as he has six assists over the last five games ... Khodorenko is tied with Lewandowski for the team lead in assists (9) and ranks third on the team in points (13).

• Michigan State has allowed two or fewer goals in four of its last five games ... The Spartans have allowed two or fewer goals a total of six times this year, going 5-0-1 in such contests.

• Sophomore goaltender John Lethemon owns a .916 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average, both of which rank third in the Big Ten ... Lethemon has started 12 games this year, including each of the last five.

• Senior defenseman Carson Gatt leads all MSU blueliners with 10 points (2g, 8a) -- two points shy of last year's career high, which tied for the lead among Spartan defensemen ... Gatt has six points (2g, 4a) over the last six games.

• MSU has killed 12 of the last 14 opponent power plays (85.7%) over the last five games.

• As the fourth-youngest team in college hockey, the Spartans have had just one senior skating in the lineup (defenseman Carson Gatt) in 10 of 14 games this season ... The sophomore class has accounted for 44% of the Spartans' total points, while the freshmen have produced 30%.

About Notre Dame
After a sweep of No. 6 Minnesota at home, Notre Dame brings a nine-game winning streak (longest in the nation) into Friday's game at Munn ... Sophomore goaltender Cale Morris has allowed three goals over the last six games, including three 1-0 shutout wins ... Morris leads the nation in save percentage (.952) and ranks third in goals-against average (1.62) ... Senior center Jake Evans leads the nation in points (25) and assists (19) ... A pair of defensemen in Jordan Gross and Bobby Nardella rank second on the team in assists with 10 apiece ... The Fighting Irish rank 13th in goals-per-game at 3.13 and second in goals-against per game (2.19) ... Notre Dame is second in the nation in faceoff winning percentage at 55.9%.

KHL Line Dominance
The Spartans' top line of Patrick Khodorenko, Taro Hirose and Mitchell Lewandowski has been nothing short of excellent so far this season. The trio, which has been together since game one, has combined for nearly half of the Spartans' total points with a combined 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points. At least one member of the KHL line has been involved in 12 of the last 15 Spartan goals - a span of six games.

Hirose and Khodorenko, who ranked second and third, respectively, on the team in points last season have helped Lewandowski flourish into one of the nation's top freshmen. Lewandowski leads all freshmen nationally in goals (9), points (17), points-per-game (1.29), power-play goals (4) and game-winning goals (3).

Hirose, the Spartans' top-returning point producer from last year with 24, has 17 points (5g, 12) and brings his second six-game point streak of the season into Friday's game.

Khodorenko, who was linemates in midget hockey with Lewandowski, ranks third on the team in points (13) and has assists in a career-best five straight games coming into the weekend.

The trio is a part of the Spartans' top power-play unit where they have combined for 20 points (7g, 13a) on the man-advantage.

Like the Old Days at Munn
Upon being hired, one of the first program goals cited by head coach Danton Cole was an emphasis on winning at home and making Munn a tough environment for opposing teams. So far so good for the Spartans as they are off to a solid 6-1 start - their best since 2007. MSU has outscored opponents, 27-17, at Munn and is averaging 3.86 goals per game at home, which is seventh highest in the nation. The Spartans have two shutouts through seven home games.

Of Note From the Penn State Series
John Lethemon made a career-high 41 stops in the 2-2 tie ... The Spartans blocked a season-high 32 shots in the 2-2 tie, led by Tommy Miller who had a game-high six ... The shootout win was the Spartans' second straight dating back to last season (March 11 at Minnesota, 2-1) ... Taro Hirose scored in both games to extend his point streak to six games ... Four different freshmen recorded points (Lewandowski 1a; Kamer 1a; Apap 1a; Miller 1a).

In Going 3-1-1 Over its Last Five Games, MSU has...
• Extinguished 12 of 14 opponent power plays (85.7%)
• Averaged 18.8 blocked shots per game
John Lethemon has a 1.87 GAA and .946 save percentage
• The KHL line has combined for 15 points (Khodorenko 6a; Hirose 3g, 4a; Lewandowski 4g, 2a)
• Freshmen Tommy Apap, Austin Kamer and Tommy Miller have all recorded points

Head Coach Connections
This weekend will mark the third time this season head coach Danton Cole will go against a fellow Michigan State alum behind the opposing bench (Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame; Bob Daniels, Ferris State; Damon Whitten, Lake Superior State). Michigan State has more alums -- four -- than any other school coaching NCAA Division I teams.

Jackson and Cole first crossed paths in youth hockey in metro Detroit. Jackson coached Cole for one season in midget hockey and then again the following year in juniors. Cole and Jackson also share a connection through the USNTDP as Jackson was the first head coach of the program, a spot Cole held before coming to MSU.

More on Lewy's Hot Start
Mitchell Lewandowski has recorded three, four-point weekends - earning Big Ten weekly honors after each. Most recently, he was named the Big Ten's Second Star of the Week and NCAA Third Star of the Week on Nov. 21 after his four-point (3g, 1a) weekend in a sweep of Ferris State. His other four-point weekends came vs. Western Michigan (3g, 1a) and Wisconsin (3g, 1a). His 17 points rank 10th in the nation and his nine goals rank sixth. Lewandowski's game-winning goals have come vs. Western Michigan (Oct. 20), LSSU (Oct. 28) and Ferris State (Nov. 18).

Specialty Notes
MSU has killed 12 of the last 14 opponent power plays (85.7%) over the last five games... The Spartan power play ranks third in the Big Ten and 24th in the country at 20.7% ... Taro Hirose is tied for the Big Ten lead in power-play points (9) with Notre Dame's Bobby Nardella and leads in power-play assists (8) ... Mitchell Lewandowski leads MSU in power-play goals with four and Cody Milan ranks second with three.

Lethemon Solid Between the Pipes
Sophomore John Lethemon has taken the lead in net for the Spartans as he has started 12 of 14 games and has been in net for all seven Spartan wins. He has turned away 140 of the last 148 shots he has faced over the last five games, good for a 1.87 GAA and .946 save percentage over the span. He has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his 14 appearances on the year and has two shutouts. He had a career-high 41 saves in the 2-2 tie at Penn State on Nov. 25.

Gatt Leading a Young D Corps
As the lone senior in the Spartans' lineup for 10 games this season and one of three assistant captains, senior defenseman Carson Gatt's leadership has been essential. Just as important has been Gatt's offensive production as he leads all Spartan defensemen with 10 points (2g, 8a). Gatt has points in four of the last six games with two goals and four assists over the stretch.

Gatt had a career-best 12 points last season and earned All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Spartans in the NHL
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).

Note This
The Spartans have been able to hold leads, going 5-0 when leading after the first period and 5-0-1 when leading after two ... The Spartans are 7-0 when scoring first ... MSU is 5-0 when generating at least 30 shots on goal, last year MSU was 3-6 when doing so ... MSU is 6-1 when scoring at least three goals ... The Spartans have allowed two or fewer goals a total of six times this year, going 5-0-1 in such contests; last season MSU allowed two or fewer goals a total of eight times 2016-17 season.

Up Next
Michigan State and Michigan will resume college hockey's most-played rivalry with a home-and-home series. The two teams will meet in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Dec. 7 and then at Munn the following night on Friday, Dec. 8.

 

 

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