Spartans Close First Semester; Host Ferris Saturday
Dec. 12, 2012
Michigan State hosts No. 19 Ferris State on Saturday. The two teams play just one game this weekend.
The Spartans are 66-30-15 all-time against the Bulldogs, which includes a 38-16-6 record in games played in East Lansing.
The Bulldogs have won four straight against MSU, all one-goal games.
The Spartans will look to snap a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) in Saturday's tilt against Ferris State. MSU is coming off a series at Notre Dame, in which the Spartans fell by 3-2 and 5-1 decisions.
Saturday's game will feature the annual Teddy Bear Toss, and fans are asked to bring a new stuffed animal to the game to throw onto the ice after the first Spartan goal.
Final exams on the MSU campus for first semester are being given this week (Dec. 10-14); MSU will play on Saturday, and the athletes will then begin traveling home to spend holidays with their families. The team will return to campus on Dec. 25 to begin preparation for the Great Lakes Invitational (Dec. 29-30).
MSU plays its first of four games this season against reigning national runners-up. The Spartans and Bulldogs will meet four times in a little over a month - Saturday's game, a Jan. 5 date in Big Rapids, and a home-and-home Jan. 18-19.
Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels is a 1982 Michigan State graduate, and assistant coach Mark Kaufman a 1984 graduate.
Saturday's honorary coach will be Lyle Miller, who played for the Spartans in the early 1960's and is the father of assistant coach Kelly Miller.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
MSU is currently winless in its last six games (0-5-1), the longest such streak under Tom Anastos. MSU's longest winless streak last season was three games, all at the end of the year - in the CCHA Quarterfinals and the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
This is the longest winless streak for the Spartans since a six-game winless streak from Jan. 17-Feb. 6, 2009 (0-5-1) - a streak that was snapped with a victory over Ferris State (1-0).
The Spartans split each of their first three CCHA series, but have not come away with a win in any of their last three conference weekends - a tie and a loss at Miami, and sweeps by Ohio State (home) and Notre Dame (road).
Last weekend, the Spartans were dealt a pair of losses by Notre Dame. On Friday, the Spartans battled back into the game from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits, with Brent Darnell getting both Spartan goals. Jake Hildebrand made 36 saves. his second-highest total of the season.
On Saturday, MSU played maybe its best period of the weekend in the first, but a defensive miscue led to a goal with eight seconds remaining in the opening frame. Notre Dame tacked on a pair of goals in the second and third periods before Matt Berry broke up the shutout at 17:22 of the third period. Will Yanakeff made his first start since Nov. 9, and made 18 saves.
Freshman Jake Hildebrand made his sixth consecutive start last Friday. He is the first freshman to make six consecutive starts since Jeff Lerg in 2005-06, who's first six consecutive starts came in January that season.
MSU has won on a Friday night just once this season, a come-from-behind victory over Niagara at home.
MSU is in a stretch where eight of 10 games are against Notre Dame and Ferris State (four each). The other two games are in the Great Lakes Invitational against Western Michigan and either Michigan or Michigan Tech. MSU has played 10 of 16 games on the road so far this season, and three of the next four are also away from Munn Ice Arena. Remaining on the schedule through the rest of 2012 are only Saturday's game and the Great Lakes Invitational (Dec. 29-30). After January 1, the Spartans have just one overnight road trip remaining in the regular season - when they play at Alaska (Feb. 22-23).
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.
Boston College head coach Jerry York earned his 924th career victory on Dec. 1 over archrival Boston University. He has tied former MSU mentor and college hockey's all-time wins leader Ron Mason.
At the game against Michigan on Nov. 10, a new Munn Ice Arena attendance figure of 7,225 was achieved, bettering the previous record of 7,121 set on March 1, 2001 - also against the Wolverines.
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 no longer receiving votes in the USCHO.com Top 20 poll or the USA Hockey Magazine poll (top 15).
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 23-26-5 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.
With the cancellation of the NHL Winter Classic, the Great Lakes Invitational has been moved back indoors, and will be played on Dec. 29-30 at its usual site, Joe Louis Arena.
Another side effect of the cancellation of the Winter Classic is that MSU wore its script "Michigan State" logo jerseys in the Saturday game vs. Michigan (Nov. 10), and again on Dec. 1 against Ohio State. The Spartans had planned on 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's penalty kill is at 86.8% (59/68), which is good for third in the CCHA and 14th nationally.
MSU allowed two power-play goals in five chances last Friday at Notre Dame, only the second time the Spartans allowed more than one power-play goal in a game this season. The first was a 3-2 loss at Lake Superior State.
Mario Lucia's power-play goal for the Irish in the second period Friday snapped MSU's streak of 20 consecutive successful penalty kills, dating back to the Michigan game on Nov. 10. The streak spanned all or part of six games. MSU's kill kept the Irish PP at bay on Saturday (5-for-5), and have a current streak of six consecutive kills over two games.
Brent Darnell's power-play goal in the third period Friday was MSU's only one on the man advantage over the weekend. On the season, the Spartans are 13/65 (20%), and rank third in the CCHA and 16th nationally.
MSU is one of seven schools to have both its power play and penalty kill ranked in the top 16 nationally. Union, Minnesota, St. Lawrence, and Boston College, Princeton, and Denver are the others.
Matt Berry has four goals and four assists on the man advantage, and his eight power-play points ranks as a tie first in the CCHA. Berry's four goals on the man advantage is tied for first in the CCHA and tied for sixth nationally.
TRENDS, STREAKS, AND TENDENCIES
Michigan State has scored 16 of its 34 goals this season in the third period. Conversely, 34 of the 47 the Spartans have allowed have come in the first or second period.
Matt Berry has points in seven of MSU's 16 games, but four of those five games have been multiple-point efforts. 14 of Berry's 15 points have come in the last 11 games, including two four-point outings.
NUMBERS DON'T LIE
MSU has allowed its opponent to score first in 12 of its 16 games this season; MSU is 3-1-0 when scoring first and 1-9-2 when allowing the first goal.
Fourteen skaters have appeared in all 16 games for MSU, and each of them have at least one point.
Seven different players have each had at least two multiple-point games each this season: John Draeger, Tanner Sorenson, Matt DeBlouw, Brent Darnell, Matt Berry, Lee Reimer, and Greg Wolfe. Berry and Darnell each have four, leading the team in multiple-point efforts.
The Spartans were shut out three times in eight games in the month of November. Since scoring seven goals against Michigan on Nov. 10, the Spartans have scored a combined six goals in the six games since.
MSU is 0-10-1 when scoring two goals or fewer.
On three occasions, the Spartans have allowed just one goal - but are 1-2-0 in those games. MSU has suffered 1-0 losses to both Bowling Green and Ohio State.
Freshman forward Ryan Keller (upper body) was injured in practice on Oct. 24. He missed the first four CCHA series against Lake Superior, Bowling Green, Michigan, and Miami. He returned briefly against Ohio State, but has missed the last three games with the same (re-aggrivated) injury.
Lee Reimer left last Friday's contest with an injury, and missed Saturday's game. He's out indefinitely, with a return targeted for the Great Lakes Invitational.
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.
The Spartans have been pleasantly surprised at the emergence of freshman goalie Jake Hildebrand. He ranks second in the CCHA in save percentage (.940) and third in goals-against average (1.91). He has started five of the last six games for MSU.
Hildebrand has five losses on the season, and the Spartans have scored just three goals in those five games combined.
Hildebrand made 36 saves in Friday's loss to the Irish, the second-highest total in a game for him this season. It was also the first time he's allowed more than two goals in a start this season.
Brent Darnell had both of MSU's goals in Friday's game at Notre Dame. It was his second multiple-goal game of his career and first of the season.
Sophomore Matt Berry is tied for fourth in the league in scoring (15 points) and is tied for third in the league in goals scored (8).
Berry leads the league and ranks in a tie for sixth nationally in power-play goals (4), and is atop the league leaderboard in power play points (8).
Matt DeBlouw's four goals and eight assists (12 points) has him second among CCHA freshmen in points behind Miami's Riley Barber (7-12-19). He ranks 16th nationally in points per game by freshmen (0.75 ppg).
MSU played both goaltenders in each of its first three CCHA series, but Hildebrand drew five straight starts (both games vs. Miami and Ohio State, and the Friday game at Notre Dame). Yanakeff drew the Saturday start against the Irish, and made 17 saves.
Tanner Sorenson had a 2-6-8 scoring line last year as a freshman. Through 16 games, he owns a 3-4-7 line in his sophomore season. He had six points in the first six games of the year.
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