Dec. 12, 2013
Weekly Press Conference
Head Coach Tom Anastos
On the Fly...
Michigan State hosts former CCHA-foe and fourth-ranked Ferris State on Saturday in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
The Spartans picked up two points in a pair of games in their inaugural Big Ten series last weekend vs. No. 1 Minnesota ... The Spartans and Gophers skated to a 2-2 tie on Friday night in the Spartans' inaugural Big Ten game ... MSU won the shootout, 1-0, to pick up two points in the Big Ten standings, while the Gophers earned a point.
Freshman Villiam Haag (4-2-6) and senior Greg Wolfe (2-3-5) both enter Saturday's game with four-game point streaks ... Haag has scored in each of the last three games ... Haag, Wolfe and Mackenzie MacEachern are the three Spartans that have had four-game point streaks this season.
Jake Hildebrand was named one of the Big Ten's Three Stars of the Week on Tuesday ... Hildebrand was named the league's Second Star after leading all conference goaltenders with a .940 save percentage and 79 total saves last weekend ... His 44 saves vs. No. 1 Minnesota in the 2-2 tie and eventual shootout win were a season high.
Michigan State ranks third in the nation in blocked shots per game at 18.07 ... The Spartans blocked 24 and 21 shots, respectively, in the two games vs. Minnesota ... MSU has blocked at least 20 shots in seven of 14 games this season.
The Spartans' .523 faceoff win percentage is 13th best in the nation.
Mackenzie MacEachern's six goals this season are second on the team to Greg Wolfe (seven) and rank in a tie for ninth among all freshmen nationally ... MacEachern has six points (3-3-6) in the Spartans' last five games.
Captain Greg Wolfe leads MSU in goals (seven) and points (12) ... He has recorded points in 10 of 14 games this season.
Since yielding eight power-play goals in the first five games of the year, MSU has held opponents to just 5-for-37 (.135) on the man-advantage over the last nine games.
Five freshmen have combined for 17 of MSU's 35 goals this season (48.5%) and 30 of 102 total points (29.4%).
GOOD TO BE HOME
Saturday's game will be the fifth consecutive at Munn for the Spartans, which is their longest home streak since they played six straight at the friendly confines from Jan. 6-21, 2012, going 2-2-2.
The Spartans' 16 total goals over the first four games of this home stand are their most in consecutive games at Munn since Oct. 27-Nov. 3 2006 when MSU scored 19 in three games with wins over St. Lawrence (5-3), Sacred Heart (7-5) and Michigan (7-4).
ROOKIE LINE CONTINUES TO CLICK
The all-rookie line of Mackenzie MacEachern, Thomas Ebbing and Villiam Haag has combined for a team best 14 points (7-7-14) over the last four games. Haag has a point in all four games (4-2-6), while MacEachern has points in three of the last four contests.
The trio has played together in five games this season, producing eight goals, which is the most of any Spartan line combination this season.
The defense pairing of Jake Chelios (plus-5) and Brock Krygier (plus-8) lead MSU in the plus/minus category this season. Krygier's plus-8 rating is tied for 13th among all freshmen nationally. He has been a plus or even-player in 10 of 14 games.
HAAG CONTINUES PRODUCTION
Freshman Villiam Haag has six of his eight total points this season over the last four games. He became the first Spartan to post consecutive two-point games this season after registering a goal and an assist vs. Minnesota on Dec. 6 and two goals vs. Princeton on Dec. 1.
HILDY STEPS UP
Sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand has yielded two or fewer goals in three of the last four games, boosting his save percentage by .020 and dropping his GAA by 0.33 over that time. Hildebrand's 305 saves are second among all Big Ten goaltenders this season.
His 31 saves in the Nov. 29 win were the most by a Spartan goaltender in a win this season and the most by Hildebrand in a win since he had 34 vs. Miami on March 15 last season.
WOLFE CONTINUES TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Senior Greg Wolfe leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 12 points. His current four-game point streak (2-3-5) ties his career high. He has been held pointless just four times in 14 games this season.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
Michigan State has won more faceoffs than its opponents in nine of 14 games this season. Three of four Spartan centers that have played at least 10 games have a faceoff winning percentage of .500 or better: Mike Ferrantino - .581 (96-67), Lee Reimer - .564 (136-105) and Matt DeBlouw - .509 (57-55).
ANOTHER SOLID TRIO
Dean Chelios, Mike Ferrantino and Joe Cox have played on the same line in eight games this season, combining for 15 points (6-9), which is tied for second among Spartan forward line combinations this season. When the trio is playing together this season, MSU is 5-2-1 and the line has a team-high combined plus/minus rating of plus-14.
AGAINST THE BULLDOGS
Among current Spartans, Junior Matt Berry has a team best five-career points (2-3-5) vs. Ferris State. Jake Chelios has appeared in 10 games against the Bulldogs, which is more than any other current Spartan.
MacEACHERN AND EBBING CONNECTION
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (6-3-9) and Thomas Ebbing (1-5-6) have played together in all 14 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 four of MacEachern's six goals.
Greg Wolfe and Villiam Haag both scored a pair of goals in the Spartans' 8-2 win over Princeton, marking the first time MSU had two, two-goal scorers in a game since Lee Reimer (3-2=5) and Mike Merrifield (2-2=4) on Oct. 29, 2011 in a 6-2 win over Robert Morris.
Mackenzie MacEachern (Nov. 3 vs. AIC) is the other Spartan with a two-goal game this season.
MASON INDUCTED INTO THE U.S. HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
Former Spartan coach Ron Mason was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Dec. 2 at the Motor City Casino in Detroit. The 41st Hall of Fame class also included 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.
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.
SPARTANS IN THE NHL
A total of 17 former Spartan hockey players have played in the NHL this season - tied for 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), John-Michael Liles (Toronto) , David Booth (Vancouver) and Jim Slater (Winnipeg).