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Spartans Open Second Half at Great Lakes Invitational

Brent Darnell

Dec. 26, 2012

48th Annual Great Lakes Invitational
Michigan State vs. No. 7/8 Western Michigan
 Dates Sat./Sun., Dec. 29/30, 2012  
 Game Times (Sat) 3:35 p.m. | (Sun) 3:35/7:35 p.m.
 Location Detroit, Mich.;  Joe Louis Arena (Cap. 20,058; 200x85)
 Televison FS Detroit
 Radio WJIM 1240 AM
 Tickets Ticketmaster
 Game Notes MSU (Download PDF)
 Internet Coverage Live Audio
 Social Media @MSU_Hockey   |  Facebook


• Michigan State participates in the 48th Annual Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 29-30. MSU tangles with Western Michigan in the first Saturday semifinal, then will play either Michigan or Michigan Tech on day two.

• The Spartans will hold a Meet & Greet Event - an open practice and autograph session - at Suburban Ice - Macomb on Friday, December 28 in advance of the GLI. This event is free and open to the public, and will run from 2-4 p.m. Full details can be found at

• MSU is making its 39th all-time GLI appearance, dating back to its first GLI in 1965. MSU has been an annual participant since 1979.

• The Spartans own a 48-30 all-time record in the GLI, and own 12 Tournament titles. MSU's most recent title came in December 2009. The 12 GLI crowns is second to Michigan's 15, and ahead of Michigan Tech's nine.

• Michigan State has appeared in the finals in three of the last four seasons and in 12 of the last 15, with seven titles in that time frame.

• The Spartans own a 40-25-1 record in GLI games played at Joe Louis Arena. They are 21-12-0 in semifinal games in the building.

• With the cancellation of the NHL Winter Classic, the Great Lakes Invitational was moved back indoors to be contested at its usual site, Joe Louis Arena. The original plans were for this tournament to be played at Comerica Park as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.


• Michigan State plays CCHA rival Western Michigan in the semifinal on Saturday.

• The Broncos are looking to become the just the second non-annual participant to win the GLI more than once - North Dakota, with two GLI championships, is the other. WMU won the GLI in 1986, and finished fourth in 1977.

• The Spartans own a 63-29-8 record all-time against the Broncos. The Spartans swept Western last October by 3-2 and 4-2 scores.

• The last five meetings of the teams have all been in Kalamazoo, with MSU last getting a home game on October 30, 2009. The teams will play their two-game CCHA series in March at Munn Ice Arena, the last-ever CCHA meetings between the teams.

• MSU will meet the Broncos for the second time in the GLI. WMU dealt the Spartans a 7-3 loss in the 1986 semifinals, then went on to down Michigan in the finals.

• MSU is 3-2-0 all-time against WMU in games played at Joe Louis Arena.


• MSU snapped a six-game winless streak with a 3-1 victory over Ferris on Dec. 15 to go into the hiatus on a high note. The six-game winless streak was the longest in the Tom Anastos era.

• The six-game skid was the longest winless streak for the Spartans since a six-game stretch 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).

• MSU has won on a Friday night just once this season, a come-from-behind victory over Niagara at home. The Spartans are a much more respectable 4-4-1 on Saturdays - the day which begins play at the GLI. MSU has not played a Sunday tilt yet this season.

• The Spartans have allowed the same number of goals this season in 17 games (48) as they did at the semester break in 2011-12 (48 goals in 18 games). The major difference is MSU's scoring output - the Spartans averaged better than three goals per game, (62 goals in the first 18 games last season), while they have struggled to score this fall and have scored just 37.

• MSU is in a stretch where eight of 10 games are against Notre Dame and Ferris State (four each). The other two games are here in the Great Lakes Invitational against Western Michigan and either Michigan or Michigan Tech. ` • MSU has played 10 of 17 games on the road so far this season, and open this second half with three straight away from Munn Ice Arena. After January 1, the Spartans have just one overnight road trip remaining in the regular season - when they play at Alaska (Feb. 22-23).

• The Spartan schedule thus far has featured stiff competition. MSU opened the season at No. 2 Minnesota, and played its other non-conference series against Atlantic Hockey leader Niagara. MSU has played an additional seven conference games against nationally-ranked opponents Notre Dame, Miami, Michigan, and Ferris State.

• 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. York will look for No. 925 when his Eagles play Alabama-Huntsville in the Mariucci Classic on Saturday.

• 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 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 24-26-5 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.

• Another side effect of the cancellation of the Winter Classic is that MSU debuted its script "Michigan State" logo jerseys earlier than anticipated. The Spartans had planned on unveiling 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.

• The Spartans wore their home white scripts in the Saturday game vs. Michigan (Nov. 10), on Dec. 1 against Ohio State, and on Dec. 15 against Ferris State. The Spartans are 2-1 in the home white thirds, but have yet to wear the road version of the script alternate jerseys.

• 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 87.3% (62/71), which is good for third in the CCHA and 14th nationally.

• MSU allowed two power-play goals in five chances on Dec. 7 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.

• Despite snapping a streak of 20 consecutive kills against Notre Dame on Dec. 7, MSU has built up another streak of 10 consecutive successful kills, dating back to that same game. MSU's kill was a perfect 5-for-5 in the second game of the series, then kept Ferris State off the board in four chances in the Dec. 15 matchup. Over the last six games, MSU has killed 34 of 36 chances against (94%)

• MSU's power play is operating at a 19.1% success rate, which is good for fourth in the CCHA and 20th nationally, despite being held off the board in the last two games (eight chances).

• MSU is one of seven schools to have both its power play and penalty kill ranked in the top 20 nationally. Union, Minnesota, St. Lawrence, Boston College, Princeton, and Western Michigan 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 second in the CCHA. Berry's four goals on the man advantage is tied for first in the CCHA and tied for sixth nationally.


• Michigan State has scored 18 of its 37 goals this season in the third period. Conversely, 35 of the 48 the Spartans have allowed have come in the first or second period.

Matt DeBlouw, Brent Darnell and Matt Berry lead the Spartans with points in eight of MSU's 17 games. Tanner Sorenson and Lee Reimer have points in six, and Greg Wolfe has points in five.

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.

• The line of sophomore wingers Brent Darnell and Matt Berry centered by freshman Matt DeBlouw has skated together in 15 games, and accumulated a 17-24-41 scoring line when playing together.

Matt Berry owns the team's current scoring streak, with a point in each of the last three games.

Jake Hildebrand has allowed more than two goals in just one of his nine starts this season, a 3-2 loss at Notre Dame on Dec. 7


• MSU has allowed its opponent to score first in 12 of its 17 games this season; MSU is 4-1-0 when scoring first and 1-9-2 when allowing the first goal.

• MSU has been outshot in eight of its last nine games. On the season, MSU averages 26.2 shots per game, compared to 30.5 per game for its opponents.

• As a team, MSU is winning 51.1 percent of its faceoffs. MSU's top two faceoff men are freshman Matt DeBlouw (57.1%) and junior Lee Reimer (51.9%).

• Fourteen skaters have appeared in all 17 games, 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. After scoring seven goals against Michigan on Nov. 10, the Spartans scored a combined six goals during the six-game winless streak. MSU had three tallies in its win over Ferris State on Dec. 15.

• 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 in the first game against Ohio State, but has missed the last four games with the same (re-aggrivated) injury. He is cleared to play in the GLI.

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.

• Senior forward Dean Chelios (upper body) and freshman defenseman Rhett Holland each had season-ending surgery in November will miss the 2012-13 season. Both plan to apply for a medical redshirt.

• Redshirt freshman Branden Carney has been medically disqualified from continuing his hockey career. Carney fractured his C1 and C2 vertebrae in a practice fall last October. While his career in a "collision sport" is over, he is expected to lead a full life with virtually no limitations.


• The Spartans have been pleasantly surprised at the emergence of freshman goalie Jake Hildebrand. He ranks second in the CCHA in save percentage (.941) and third in goals-against average (1.81). He has started six of the last seven games for MSU.

• Hildebrand has five losses on the season, and the Spartans have scored just three goals in those five games combined.

• Freshman Jake Hildebrand made his sixth consecutive start on Dec. 7 vs. Notre Dame. 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.

• Sophomore Matt Berry entered the break as MSU's leading scorer, with nine goals (two shy of his freshman year 11) and 16 points, which is three points south of his 19 as a first-year winger.

Matt DeBlouw's four goals and nine assists (13 points) has him second among CCHA freshmen in points behind Miami's Riley Barber (8-14-22). He ranks 14th nationally in points per game by freshmen (0.76 ppg).

Brent Darnell has matched his freshman-year total of 13 points (five goals, eight assists), and he shares the second spot in the team's scoring chart with DeBlouw (4-9-13).

Tanner Sorenson had a 2-6-8 scoring line last year as a freshman. Through 17 games, he has also matched his freshman-year point total, with eight points. He has doubled his goal output, however - he scored just twice last year, and has four goals at the unofficial midpoint of the season.

John Draeger leads the team with 38 blocked shots. Fellow freshman and blueliner Travis Walsh is second on the team with 24, and senior Matt Grassi checks in with 21.

• This is the second straight season that the Spartans will be captained by a junior (Greg Wolfe). Current Providence Bruin Torey Krug served as captain as a sophomore and a junior.



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