Spartans Set for 53rd Great Lakes Invitational
The Spartans will meet Michigan Tech in the first semifinal game at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 1
|53rd Annual Great Lakes Invitational | Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Michigan, Bowling Green|
|Dates | Times||Monday, Jan. 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Tuesday, Jan. 2 – 2:30 or 6 p.m.|
|Location||Little Caesars Arena | Detroit
|TV||Fox Sports Detroit (Tuesday)|
|Video Stream||Monday - WCHA.tv | Tuesday – FoxSportsGo.com|
|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 | Michigan Tech | Big Ten|
|Social Media||@MSU_Hockey | Facebook | Instragram|
On The Fly…
• Michigan State is making its 39th consecutive and 44th overall appearance in the Great Lakes Invitational … MSU has taken part in every tournament since 1979.
• The Spartans will meet Michigan Tech in the first semifinal game on Monday at 2:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the championship game on Tuesday against either Michigan or Bowling Green … Tuesday’s games will be played at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
• Four of the Spartans’ last five games in the GLI have been decided by a goal and three of the last four have gone into overtime.
• MSU is 23-6-1 against Michigan Tech in the GLI with each of the last two meetings going to overtime (2015, 3-2 L; 2013, 2-2 T, shootout loss).
• The Spartans are 26-15-2 all-time in GLI semifinal games.
• MSU is 48-35-3 all-time in the GLI … The Spartans’ .576 tournament winning percentage is second highest of the three teams (MSU, Michigan Tech and Michigan) that have the most tournament appearances.
• The most recent of the Spartans’ 12 GLI titles came in 2009 when they defeated Michigan Tech (10-2) and RPI (6-1), respectively.
• Freshman Mitchell Lewandowski leads all rookies nationally in goals (10), points (21), power-play goals (5) and game-winning goals (3).
• Lewandowski and sophomore Taro Hirose are tied for the team lead in points (21) and both had three points in the last regular-season game before Christmas vs. Michigan on Dec. 8.
• Hirose leads MSU and ranks eighth nationally in assists (15).
• John Lethemon earned his third shutout of the season the last time out on Dec. 8 vs. Michigan with 29 saves … Lethemon’s three shutouts rank second in the Big Ten, while his 2.28 goals-against average and .918 save percentage both rank third in the league ... Lethemon has increased his save percentage by .045 over last season.
• The Spartans killed 7-of-8 power plays in their last series vs. Michigan and have now extinguished 21-of-24 (.875) opponent power plays over the last nine games.
• Senior defenseman Carson Gatt leads all MSU blueliners with 11 points (2g, 7a) – a point shy of last year’s career high, which tied for the lead among Spartan defensemen … Seven (2g, 5a) of his points have come over the last 10 games.
About Michigan Tech
The Huskies enter the GLI having gone 3-1-1 over their last five games … In their last series before Christmas, the Huskies beat (3-0) and tied (3-3) Lake Superior State, Dec. 15-16 ... MTU is averaging 3.05 goals per game and yielding an average of 2.67, which ranks 24th and 19th, respectively in the nation … Junior Jake Jackson leads the team in goals (8) and points (16) … Sophomore defenseman Mitch Reinke leads the team in assists (13) … Junior Patrick Munson had made a majority of the starts in net and is 7-5-3 with a .904 save percentage and 2.82 goals-against average … Freshman Robbie Beydoun started each of the last two games in goal and made six starts total, going 2-1-1 with a .912 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against average.
Head coach Danton Cole and assistant coach Chris Luongo helped the Spartans capture the 1985 GLI title as freshmen and went 5-3 in the tournament as players from 1985-88 ... Against potential day two opponents, MSU has a 8-12-1 all-time record vs. Michigan in the GLI and is 1-0 against Bowling Green in the tournament ... Six of the Spartans’ 12 GLI games since 2011 have gone to overtime.
Tight Ones With the Huskies
Six of the last seven meetings between MSU and Michigan Tech have gone into overtime, including six straight contests from 2013-16. The Spartans went 1-3-2 in those six OT games.
KHL Line Delivering Offense
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 22 goals and 35 assists for 57 points. At least one member of the KHL line has been involved in 17 of the last 21 Spartan goals. The trio is a part of the Spartans’ top power-play unit where they have combined for 26 points (9g, 17a) on the man-advantage.
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 (10), points (21), power-play goals (5) and game-winning goals (3).
Hirose, the Spartans’ top-returning point producer from last year, is just three points shy of last year’s total with 21 (6g, 15a). He has a team-high six multi-point games, which equals his total from last season.
Khodorenko, who was linemates in midget hockey with Lewandowski, ranks third on the team in points (15) and is tied for second in goals (6). He tied a career high with two goals the last time out vs. Michigan and has points in six of the last nine games.
Lethemon Solid Between the Pipes
Sophomore John Lethemon has taken the lead in net for the Spartans as he has started 16 of 18 games and has been in goal for all eight victories. Over the last nine games, Lethemon has a 1.94 GAA and .937 save percentage, having allowed two or fewer goals - including two shutouts - in six games. His last shutout was a 29-save effort against Michigan on Dec. 8. He had a career-high 41 saves in the 2-2 tie at Penn State on Nov. 25.
The native of Northville has improved his save percentage by .045 and lowered his goals-against average by 1.30 over last season. His current .918 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average both rank third in the Big Ten, while his three shutouts are second best.
The Last Time Out
Michigan State topped the USNTDP U-18 team in an exhibition game, 3-0, on Dec. 16 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth ... MSU was led by a pair of NTDP alums in sophomore Patrick Khodorenko, who scored twice, and senior goaltender Ed Minney, who made 20 saves ... MSU extinguished all seven NTDP power plays while going 2-for-7 on the man-advantage.
Of Note From the Michigan Series
The Spartans snapped a five-game power-play goal draught by going 3-for-5 in the 5-0 win … The three power-play goals were tied for their most in a game this season … The 5-0 win was the Spartans’ first shutout victory over Michigan at Munn since Nov. 14, 2009 … The KHL line accounted for eight points (3g, 5a) … John Lethemon’s shutout was his third of the season.
MSU extinguished 7-of-8 Michigan power plays in its last series and has now killed 21 of the last 24 (87.5%) opponent power plays over the last nine games ... Helping the Spartans’ cause is the fact they rank 58th nationally in penalty minutes per game (8.5) as opponents have had just one power play in four of the last six games ... The Spartan power play ranks third in the Big Ten and 21st in the country at 21.4% … Taro Hirose leads the country and the Big Ten in power-play assists (11), while his power-play point total (12) also leads the conference … Mitchell Lewandowski leads MSU in power-play goals (5), while Cody Milan and Patrick Khodorenko are second (3) ... The Spartans started the year with at least one power-play goal in each of the first four games, going 5-for-19 (26.3%).
Gatt Leading a Young D Corps
As the lone senior in the Spartans’ lineup for 13 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 11 points (2g, 9a) - one shy of last year’s career high.
Gatt began the year with points in four of the first five games, while he has seven points (2g, 5a) over the last 10 games.
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).
The Spartans will have just two days off before Ohio State comes to East Lansing to meet the Spartans, Jan. 5-6 at Munn.