Dec. 23, 2013
On the Fly...
The 49th-annual Great Lakes Invitational will take place Friday and Saturday 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 Friday 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., respectively, on Saturday.
Michigan State is making its 40th appearance in the Great Lakes Invitational ... The Spartans have appeared in each tournament since 1979.
The Spartans have an all-time record of 46-30-2 in the GLI and have won 12 titles, most recently in 2009 ... MSU is 25-13-1 all-time in GLI semifinal games.
Michigan State will be wearing throwback jerseys from its 1966 NCAA Championship season for this year's GLI ... The Spartans wore similar retro jerseys at the 1999 GLI when they claimed the title.
Friday's game will be the third meeting this season between the Spartans and Huskies, marking the first time the two programs have met more than twice in a year since 1983-84 ... MSU and MTU squared off seven times during the 1983-84 season with the Spartans going 5-2, including wins in the GLI (6-2) and a two-game sweep in the CCHA playoffs.
Dating back to 1992, MSU is 14-1 against the Huskies in the GLI ... The Spartans have won the last three GLI meetings, most recently in 2011 (3-1).
The Spartans' .528 faceoff win percentage is 11th best in the nation ... Sophomore Mike Ferrantino leads MSU in the dot with a .603 winning percentage.
Michigan State ranks second in the nation in blocked shots per game at 17.87 ... MSU has blocked at least 20 shots in seven of 15 games this season.
Mackenzie MacEachern's six goals this season are second on the team to Greg Wolfe (seven) and rank in a tie for 12th among all freshmen nationally ... MacEachern has six points (3-3-6) in the Spartans' last six games.
Captain Greg Wolfe leads MSU in goals (seven) and points (12) ... He has recorded points in 10 of 15 games this season.
Five freshmen have combined for 17 of MSU's 35 goals this season (48.5%) and 30 of 102 total points (29.4%).
Freshman Brock Krygier leads MSU in plus/minus rating at plus-7.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
This year's GLI will mark the third and fourth outdoor games in Spartan hockey history. Michigan State hosted the groundbreaking "Cold War" against Michigan on Oct. 6, 2001 at Spartan Stadium in front of a then-world record crowd of 74,554. The two teams played two a 3-3 tie in the inaugural outdoor NCAA game in the modern era.
The Spartans and Wolverines met outside again on Dec. 11, 2010 at Michigan Stadium in the "Big Chill" where U-M won, 5-0, before a world-record crowd of 113,411.
Entering 2013-14, there were a total of 15 college hockey games played outdoors. There are 11 scheduled outdoor games in college hockey this season.
ROOKIE LINE CLICKS
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 five games. Haag has a point in four of the last five games (4-2-6), while MacEachern has points in four of the last six contests.
The trio has played together in six games this season, producing eight goals, which is the most of any Spartan line combination this season.
Jake Chelios (plus-4) and Brock Krygier (plus-7) have played together in more games (nine) than any other Spartan defensive pairing this season. Krygier's plus-7 rating leads the Spartans, while Jake Chelios' plus-4 rating is tied for second best on the team. Krygier has been a plus or even-player in 10 of 15 games.
HAAG CONTINUES PRODUCTION
Freshman Villiam Haag has six of his eight total points this season over the last five 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.
STRONG IN THE CIRCLE
Michigan State has won more faceoffs than its opponents in 10 of 15 games this season. Three of four Spartan centers that have played at least 11 games have a faceoff winning percentage of .500 or better: Mike Ferrantino - .603 (108-71), Lee Reimer - .564 (136-105) and Matt DeBlouw - .504 (57-56). Ferrantino's .608 winning percentage ranks 20th in the nation and is seventh among all sophomores nationally.
HILDY STEPS UP
Sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand has yielded two or fewer goals in four of the last five games, boosting his save percentage by nearly .020 (to .915) and dropping his GAA by 0.14 (to 2.50) over that time. Hildebrand's 325 total saves are second among all Big Ten goaltenders this season.
Hildebrand's 31 saves in the Nov. 29 win over Princeton were the most by a Spartan goaltender in a win this season and the most by the native of Butler, Pa., in a win since he had 34 vs. Miami on March 15 last season.
THE IRON MAN
Jake Chelios is one of 10 players in the nation to have appeared in at least 130 consecutive games. He enters this weekend with a streak of 131 consecutive games played.
WOLFE CONTINUES TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Senior Greg Wolfe leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 12 points. He tied a career-high with a four-game point streak (2-3-5) from Nov. 29-Dec. 7. He has been held pointless just five times in 15 games this season.
ANOTHER SOLID TRIO
Dean Chelios, Mike Ferrantino and Joe Cox have played on the same line in nine 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 5-3-1 and the line has a team-high combined plus/minus rating of plus-14.
The Spartans and Huskies met for two games in Houghton, Nov. 8-9, in the first regular-season series between the teams since 1984. In the first meeting between the teams this season, Phoenix Copley made 19 stops to shut out the Spartans, 3-0. The following night, Lee Reimer scored a power-play goal early in the third period to tie the game, 2-2, but Alex Petan's goal at 3:52 of overtime gave the Huskies a 3-2 win and series sweep.
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.
True freshmen Mackenzie MacEachern (6-3-9), Villiam Haag (5-3-8), Joe Cox (4-2-6), Thomas Ebbing (1-5-6), and JT Stenglein (1-0-1) have combined for 30 points so far this season, which equates to 29.4% of the team's total points. Their 17 combined goals are nearly half of the team's total (35).
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).