Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Night Woes Continue: Buckeyes Blank Spartans 1-0

At times both Michigan State and Ohio State have struggled to find the net this season. Tonight was one of those nights where neither team could get much to the net - as both teams defended well in front of their own goals.

In fact, one of the few times either team got anyone to the net, it resulted in goals - or near goals. Ohio State thought they had a 1-0 lead in the second period, but replays confirmed the puck went off the post and crossbar - never crossing the goal line. The Spartans later on in the second period tallied what they thought was a goal good enough for a 1-0 lead, but that too was disallowed after replays showed goaltender interference.

That set the stage for the 3rd period when Ryan Dzingel crashed the net with 2:13 remaining to lift the Buckeyes to the 1-0 victory before over 6,400 at Munn Ice Arena. Michigan State actually played one of their better first periods of the season out-shooting the Buckeyes 14-8 in the opening frame, but the Buckeyes slowly gained control of the pace and eventually out-shot MSU 33-31 for the game. Neither team could convert on the power play as Ohio State went 0 for 3 and Michigan State went 0 for 1.

The officials might as well not have been on the ice over the final 10 minutes as they missed a handful of potential penalties. I swear Philo does this all the time. He missed a potential one on MSU, but all the officials missed a too many men on the ice penalty on Ohio State along with deciding to ignore Brady Hjelle's side kick interfering (and tripping) a streaking Spartan forward. But it's tough to lean on any CCHA official.

It wasn't for a lack of effort, but the Spartans need to try to get to the net more. Ohio State did a great job in front of Hjelle, but the Spartans didn't really challenge him much tonight. On the flip side, the Spartans defense did a nice job in front of Hildebrand, until the final couple minutes when Ohio State finally chipped one in. It was a solid road game by Ohio State - and a well earned three points.

Michigan State is now 1-5-1 on Friday nights this season. They've only scored nine goals in those seven games, and three came in one. Oddly enough, the three goal game was the win. The good news? MSU is 3-2-1 on Saturday (both losses on the road against top 5 teams - at Minnesota, at Miami)

The Spartans haven't scored a goal since November 16th at Miami (2-2 tie).  To be fair that's only two games - or to be exact - 146 minutes and 7 seconds (18:53 of the 2nd period in Miami, Jake Chelios).

The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 6 pm at Munn. The game can be heard on 1240 AM or seen on Comcast Channel 900.

Across the Country

 Boston University 4 Boston College 2. I only bring this up, because Jerry York could have tied Ron Mason for most career coaching victories. Obviously he'll get it at some point this season (possibly tomorrow).

Ferris State 5 Michigan 0. Ouch. That's a butt kicking in Big Rapids. Michigan continues to struggle.

Notre Dame 3 LSSU 2. The Lakers played tough in South Bend, but Notre Dame continues to roll in CCHA play.

Western Michigan 4 Northern Michigan 2. No surprise here as the Broncos hold home ice.

Miami at Alaska (result pending)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Know Thy Enemy: Ohio State University

The Michigan State Spartans are looking to get things rolling after a weekend off over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Spartans currently sit in 9th place in the CCHA with a 3-4-1 league and 4-6-2 overall mark. The 10 points is only 6 points behind first place Miami in a league that continues to be tight from top to bottom. Michigan State hosts Big 10 rival Ohio State this weekend at Munn Ice Arena.

The Buckeyes come into the weekend sitting in a tie for second place with 15 points (4-2-2-1 CCHA, 5-4-3 overall). Ohio State is on a bit of a roll going 4-2-2 in their last eight games. Last weekend, they split with LSSU winning 4-1 on Friday and dropping a 3-2 game on Saturday.

TV Notes

Both games are on TV this weekend. Friday's game is on the BTN at 8:05 pm. Saturday's game is at 6:05 pm on Comcast (Channel 900). Both games are on 1240 AM on your radio dial.

All-Time Series

The Spartans hold a slim 84-26-8 edge in the series. This includes a much slimmer 40-8-3 mark at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans won three of the four games last season, but the two teams actually split in East Lansing. Ohio State actually hasn't been swept in East Lansing since 2002. 

The teams actually have played six series in East Lansing since that 2002 sweep, and Ohio State is 7-4-1 in those (one of the series MSU won & tied the second game - so it wasn't a clean sweep).

After this season, you'll see the Buckeyes four times a year - twice in East Lansing, twice in C-Bus - yay! (Yes, I can't wait for B1G hockey).

Buckeyes Leading Scorers

Tanner Fritz      2 goals, 11 points
Ryan Dzingel   5 goals, 10 points
Max McCormick   4 goals, 8 points
Matt Johnson      4 goals, 5 points
Chris Crane       3 goals, 5 points

In Goal:

Brady Hjelle  3-2-2,  1.45 GAA, .950 save %
Collin Olson  2-2-1,  2.68 GAA, .914 save %

OSU Power Play:  10.5%  (6 for 57)
OSU Penalty Kill:  83.0%  (44 for 53)

Ohio State has scored and given up 25 goals this year (7-8, 8-8, 10-9). It doesn't get much more even than this. Ohio State is 4-1 when leading after 1. They are 1-3-3 when tied or losing after 1. By comparison MSU is 3-0 when leading after 1, and they are 1-6-2 when tied or losing after 1. MSU has tallied 30 goals and given up 35 (7-15, 9-11, 14-9).

Final Thoughts:

So, the rumor is Ohio State is actually bringing their entire student section to this series (approx. 75 students). I chuckled when I heard this, because I've gone to games in Columbus before, and it's tough to really see much of a student section in the giant basketball stadium they use for a hockey rink. 75 actually sounded about right. So beware Spartan fans - bring your shouting voice to shutdown the Buckeye travelers.

The end of the video includes Ohio State's Regional Win Over MSU at Yost sending them to the Frozen Four (yes, those are Michigan fans cheering for Ohio State)

Ohio State has always been the "little engine that couldn't" in the CCHA. The University obviously has the money to support the program. That "large basketball stadium of a hockey rink" actually is a nice arena to watch a game - the only bad part is that it's usually half filled (which still means about 6-7k in the stadium, though it feels very empty) unless Michigan or MSU roll into town (I imagine Miami might draw a good crowd too). Yet, they've never been able to find any consistency. A lot people refer (or used to) to Michigan State football as the 'sleeping giant' of the Big 10. Ohio State is a lot like that in the CCHA - only the history isn't quite as rich. They just have one Frozen Four appearance (Ohio State defeated Michigan State at Yost - if you ever wanted to see Michigan fans cheering for Ohio State - you just needed to be at Yost that day). They only have one conference championship (1971-72), two tournament titles (1972, 2004), and only six NCAA appearances (last in 2009). With that said, I've always thought the Buckeyes were a 'sleeping giant'. If they ever get it going - they could be one of the best programs in the country. Maybe the switch to the Big 10 conference will be the final boost they need.

Also, what a lot of people don't remember is Ohio State was actually in first place in the CCHA on January 1, 2012. They were 15-4-1. After back to back ties against Bowling Green that pushed their record to 15-4-3, the wheels not only fell off - but exploded. They finished the 2012 portion of their season 1-11-4 (which includes the two ties to BGSU). The lone win was February 11th at Western Michigan. Heck, they even lost all four shoot-outs they played in. This resulted in a first round loss at Notre Dame - and a team that was 15-4-1 failed to make the NCAA tournament.


But that was last year, and this season the young Buckeyes are looking to improve and make the tournament. They seem to be somewhat starting to put it together. They've played well lately (despite the set back last weekend). They are in second place in the CCHA, and they are gaining confidence through a difficult stretch of their schedule.

Bottom line: The Spartans need to come to play 60 minutes both nights. They will also need to come with the emotion that they had in the Michigan game. The crowd usually is larger when Ohio State is in town, because even the casual MSU fans know the "Ohio State" name. It'll be tough to top the last home crowd though, so the Spartans need to play with some fire from the get go.

This should be two hard hitting, tightly contest games.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Hangover - Recap

Michigan State may have enjoyed the weekend off, but there was action across the country, and the CCHA.

Around The CCHA


Ohio State at LSSU. The Buckeyes come to East Lansing this weekend, but this past weekend they were at the Soo and earned a three point split. The Buckeyes controlled Friday's action 4-1, but the Lakers responded with a 3-2 victory the next night.

Alaska at Northern. The Nanooks made the long trip back to Michigan this week to take on the reeling Wildcats. Northern Michigan took five out of a possible six points this past weekend though winning 4-3 in overtime on Friday night and winning in a shoot-out on Saturday.

North Dakota at Notre Dame. The Irish split a big non-conference series this past weekend dropping a 2-1 contest on Friday and dominating Saturday night with a 5-2 victory.

Bowling Green at Michigan (Wednesday). Michigan ended their losing streak on Wednesday with a 3-1 victory over Bowling Green.

Michigan vs. Cornell (New York, NY). Cornell dominated Michigan 5-1 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

CCHA Standings

GPWLTSOWPointsTotal Points Possible
Notre Dame651001581
Ferris State853001575
Ohio State842211575
Western Michigan632111177
Michigan State834101070
Northern Michigan1025311064
Bowling Green91621663

Games This Week:


Michigan at Ferris State
Ohio State at Michigan State
LSSU at Notre Dame
Miami at Alaska
Northern Michigan at Western Michigan


Michigan at Ferris State
Ohio State at Michigan State
LSSU at Notre Dame 
Miami at Alaska
Northern Michigan at Western Michigan

Nothing but true home series this weekend (no home & home). Miami making the long trip west could be interesting, as Alaska has to be desperate for points after a poor showing in Marquette. Notre Dame is looking to get back to their winning ways in the CCHA - and potentially take over first place. Michigan is trying to find some answers as they play a team that they've historically done very well against - but it's on the road (Michigan has yet to win away from Yost). The Spartans host Big 10 rival Ohio State. Overall, Ohio State hasn't done well in East Lansing. Bowling Green is off this weekend - so they will remain in last place.

CCHA Power Rankings

1. Notre Dame (9-3-0, LW: 1). The Irish picked up a good split this week against North Dakota.

2. Miami (7-2-3, LW: 2). Miami enjoyed the weekend off - now they make the long trip out west.

3. Western Michigan (6-3-1, LW: 3). The Broncos welcome Northern Michigan to town.

4. Ferris State (6-4-2, LW: 4). The Bulldogs look to make a statement against Michigan.

5. Ohio State (5-4-3, LW: 5). The Buckeyes face a tough test in East Lansing this week.

6. Alaska (6-5-3, LW: 5). The Nanooks look to rebound against one of the league's best.

7. LSSU (7-7-0, LW: 7). Any takers on when LSSU sweeps their first weekend series? Or gets swept?

8. Northern Michigan (5-6-3, LW: 10). NMU basically got what they needed at home, but can they carry that over to Kalamazoo?

9. Michigan State (4-6-2, LW: 8). The Spartans look to get back on track this week.

10. Michigan (5-7-1, LW: 9). A much needed win against Bowling Green was followed up by one of their worst efforts of the season. Michigan's NCAA streak may be in jeopardy - but there is still time to turn things around.

11. BGSU (2-9-3, LW: 11). A much needed weekend off as the Falcons look to get something going in December.

Big Ten Power Rankings

1. Minnesota (9-2-2, LW: 1). The Golden Gophers dominated in Vermont over the holiday.

2. Ohio State (5-4-3, LW: 2). A Big 10 showdown this weekend.

3. Michigan State (4-6-2, LW: 4). Spartans only have 8 true road games left on the schedule.

4. Penn State (6-5-0, LW: 3). Reality check: Union sweeps Penn State 2-0, 4-1. An exhibition series against Arizona State (club) gives them a chance to fine tune some things.

5. Michigan (5-7-1, LW: 5). They might be better than the three teams in front of them in these rankings, but they aren't playing like it.

6. Wisconsin (1-7-2, LW: 6). Panic in Madison? Maybe if they get swept in Denver.

PairWise Rankings - It's Always Too Early

Yes, it's too early to look at these rankings, but we're going to anyways..... The only day these rankings matter is after the last conference tournament is played in March.

The Top 16

1. Boston College
2. New Hampshire
3. Dartmouth
4. Denver University
5. Yale
6. Union
7. Boston University
8. Notre Dame
9. Miami University
10. Minnesota
11. North Dakota
12. Quinnipiac
13. Harvard
14. Western Michigan
15. Niagara
16. St. Cloud State

Other CCHA Schools:

24. Ferris State
25. Alaska
27. Ohio State

 The CCHA only has three schools (ND, Miami, WMU) in the top 16. That's not good for a conference expected to be one of the best. Though, one could point to all the conference splits as a potential reason. The conference needs to do a good job in its remaining non-conference games to really help out their own RPI and PWR. Keep in mind only teams with an RPI of .5000 or better are considered. Ohio State is right on the cliff at .5071 right now. On the flip side, Northern Michigan (.4936) and LSSU (.4909) aren't far behind. Michigan is 35th at .4887, and the Spartans are 39th at .4730. In case you're curious, Sacred Heart (0-10-2) at .3191 is the worst rated RPI D-I team. Bowling Green is 50th (out of 59) and the worst rated CCHA team. Wisconsin is tied for 55th - the worst rated Big Ten school.

Interesting to look at, but just to look. Don't touch. You'll have to wait for March for that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Recap - A Day Later.

Michigan State went down to Oxford looking to end the curse Miami has held over the Spartans lately. The Spartans battled hard, but could only manage a point on the weekend with a 2-2 tie on Friday night (Miami won the shoot-out 2-0). Miami dominated the action on Saturday winning 2-0 and out-shooting the Spartans 36-13 for the game. Freshman Jake Hildebrand played well stopping 34 shots.

Lee Reimer missed the second half of the game after he was assessed a five minute major and a game disqualification for a hit-from-behind. Reimer will be out for Michigan State's next game which won't occur till November 30th when the Spartans host Big 10 rival Ohio State.

Around the CCHA

Notre Dame earned the CCHA's first clean sleep when they went into Yost Ice Arena and won a pair of games in the league's only Thursday-Friday series. Notre Dame won 4-1 on Thursday and 3-1 on Friday.

Ohio State also earned a clean sweep by taking care of business against Northern Michigan. Ohio State won 2-0 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday.

Ferris State swept Bowling Green on the road with a 4-3 (OT) and 3-1 victory.

LSSU was stunned at home on Friday by Alabama-Huntsville 2-1. The Lakers dominated the scoreboard the next night by a 4-0 score.

Alaska and Western split their series in Fairbanks. The Nanooks won 6-1 on Friday and Western managed a 3-2 victory on Saturday.

CCHA Standings

GPWLTSOWPointsTotal Points Possible
Notre Dame651001581
Ferris State853001575
Ohio State631211278
Western Michigan632111177
Michigan State834101070
Bowling Green81511565
Northern Michigan81510363

Edit Note: Total Points Possible has been waaaaaaay off until I just noticed the bad math
this morning...... The corrected points possible is now included above

Games This Week


Bowling Green at Michigan


Ohio State at LSSU
Alaska at Northern Michigan
North Dakota at Notre Dame


Ohio State at LSSU
Alaska at Northern Michigan
North Dakota at Notre Dame
Michigan vs. Cornell  (New York, NY)

With the holiday weekend coming up a portion of the league, Michigan State included, is taking the weekend off. The best action looks to be in South Bend with North Dakota and Notre Dame. Northern Michigan is entering must win situation with Alaska coming to town, and Michigan's game on Wednesday against Bowling Green is looking like a must win for the Wolverines, if they want to compete for a league title.

CCHA Power Rankings

1. Notre Dame (8-2-0, LW: 3). The Irish climb back on top with the road sweep in Ann Arbor - no BCS computers needed here.

2. Miami (7-2-3, LW: 2). A win and a tie isn't a bad weekend, but right now the Irish look a step ahead.

3. Western Michigan (6-3-1, LW: 1). Losing at Alaska isn't unheard of, but that loss could come back to haunt the Broncos if they want to win the CCHA title.

4.  Alaska (6-4-2, LW: 4). A home split against Western looks good on paper. They need to show they can do it in the lower 48, and this weekend they will face a desperate Northern Michigan team.

5. Ferris State (6-4-2, LW: 5). The Bulldogs are hanging around.

6. Ohio State (4-3-3, LW: 10). Are the Buckeyes waking up? A tough road test against LSSU followed by another tough road test in East Lansing awaits the Buckeyes.

7. LSSU (6-6-0, LW: 6). A home split against UAH doesn't look good, but the Lakers focus returns to CCHA play this weekend.

8. Michigan State (4-6-2, LW: 7). The Spartans ended the losing streak to Miami last week, and now they have a couple weeks to prep for Ohio State.

9. Michigan (4-6-1, LW: 8). If things don't turn around, Michigan might be faced with a task like they had in 2010 - win the CCHA tournament or miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990.

10. Northern Michigan (4-6-2, LW: 9). The Wildcats are in a must win situation this week if they want to keep themselves in a decent spot for a run at the top 5.

11. Bowling Green (2-8-3, LW: 11). The Falcons are close to winning some big games within the league, but the end results remain the same.

Big Ten Power Rankings

1. Minnesota (7-2-2, LW: 1). A win and tie against the Badgers has a lot of folks in Minneapolis smiling.

2. Ohio State (4-3-3, LW: 5). A sweep bumps the bucks up.

3. Penn State (6-3-0, LW: 4). A tough road series in Union coming up for PSU.

4. Michigan State (4-6-2, LW: 2). Spartans get a weekend to regroup.

5. Michigan (4-6-1, LW: 3). A ton of questions remain in Ann Arbor.

6. Wisconsin (1-5-2, LW: 6). Tough start in Madison - Wisconsin gets Minnesota State this weekend.

Note: With the holiday weekend coming up, and the off weekend for Michigan State, updates will likely be light this week. Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spartans Battle RedHawks to 2-2 Tie

The Spartans have been looking for ways to end the Friday curse. Michigan State entered this weekend with only one win the entire season (1-4) on Fridays. Michigan State also had lost five straight against Miami being outscored 20-2 in the process.

Chalk it up as another gritty effort, as the Spartans battled all night and rallied from a 2-0 deficit to earn the 2-2 tie. Miami ended up picking up the extra point in the shoot-out (2-0). This game means Michigan State is now 4-5-2 on the season (3-3-1-0 CCHA, 10 points).

Alex Gacek got the scoring started at the 11:15 mark of the first period to give Miami a 1-0 lead. Miami built that lead up to 2-0 just 5:47 into the second period, and it looked like the Miami curse was going to continue.

Matt Berry responded though at the 7:38 mark to score his fourth goal in his last two games to pull the Spartans back to within one. Jake Chelios then ripped a shot on the power play with 1:07 to go in the period to pull Michigan State even with Miami. The shots through two periods of play were 17-14 in favor of Miami (MSU held a 9-6 edge in the opening period). Freshman goaltender Jake Hildebrand stood tall in the second period keeping MSU in the game. In the final period, Miami carried quite a bit of the play, but the Spartans defense improved and the goalkeeping was strong once again. Miami held a 8-6 edge in shots in the 3rd period.

In overtime, both teams had a chance to end it, but the goalkeepers made big saves. Miami had a 2-1 edge in shots in the overtime period and the total for the game 27-21.

Miami then would take the extra point by winning the shoot-out 2-0. Barber and Wideman scored for the RedHawks. Barber's goal was initially waived off, but after a short review, the officials determined the puck did go in the net. Berry and Sorensen missed for Michigan State.

Overall, it was a strong defensive game by both teams. While the Spartans are happy to get any points, it's a little disappointing to give up the extra one in a shoot-out. Both teams will meet again on Saturday night at 7:05 pm. The game can be heard on 1240 am starting at 6:30 pm.

Stop the Presses: Inside MSU-Miami

A look around the world of the press on the MSU-Miami series:

The Lansing State Journal offers up a (very) brief summary on the series

The Miami Student takes a look at the series

The State News article on the series

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coach Anastos Announces Two Signees For Fall 2013

Earlier today Michigan State and Coach Anastos announced the addition of two new Spartans for the fall of 2013.

The Spartans officially welcomed Joe Cox (Chelsea, MI) and JT Stenglein (Greece, NY) to the Spartan family. They will join Mackenzie MacEachern (Troy, MI) as the recruiting class of 2013.

Each of these players bring a need to the table, whether it's solid defense, size, a physical presence, or a scoring touch - between the three of them, they should all have strong careers at Michigan State.

Click on the article above for more information.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Know Thy Enemy: Miami (NTM)

The Michigan State Spartans hit the road once again to face-off against Miami(Not That Miami), better known as Miami(OH) or Miami in hockey circles. The RedHawks are trying to cap the final CCHA season with a regular season title. They are off to a good start as they sit in first place in the CCHA with a 3-2-1-1 league and 6-2-2 overall record. They are a young team as well featuring ten freshman. They are currently ranked 4th in the latest poll.

Miami swept Michigan State last year during the regular season and playoffs. Miami won the pair in Munn (2-1 (ot), 4-0) and the playoff series in Oxford (6-0, 4-1). Michigan State holds the all-time series edge 68-31-5, and that includes a 28-13-2 mark at Miami. The problem is Miami has dominated the series of late winning seven of the last nine games (including the last five games by a combined score of 20-2). Safe to say, Michigan State is trying to reverse the trend this year.

Miami is unbeaten in its last three games (2-0-1) after beating Northern 5-2 and then skating to a 2-2 tie the next night (Miami picked up the extra point in the shoot-out).

The Friday night game starts at 7:35 pm and Saturday's face-off is scheduled for 7:05 pm.

Top Scorers

Riley Barber      5 goals, 14 points
Austin Czarnik  6 goals, 13 points
Blake Coleman  4 goals, 6 points
Cody Murphy    4 goals, 6 points
Alex Wideman  2 goals, 5 points
Curtis McKenzie  2 goals, 5 points


Jay Williams  5-2-1,  2.50 GAA, .911 save %
Ryan McKay  1-0-1, 0.46 GAA, .984 save %   (injured at Michigan)

Miami's power play has converted 20.4% of its chances, and the PK has stopped 86.8%. Miami's opening period has been their worst getting outscored 10-9. Miami though has outscored opponents in the second (9-3) and third (11-8) periods. Miami is averaging 31.5 shots on goal a game and allowing 28.8.

Final Thoughts

Miami has been trying to reach the mountain top under Coach Blasi. They've been close - going to the Frozen Four twice under Coach Blasi (the only two appearances in school history). Their first visit to the Frozen Four ended in heart break. Back in 2009, Miami was up 3-1 on Boston University in the national championship game with one minute to go in the game. Then - this happened:

That finish lead to one of the more unluckiest game ending goals (in the eyes of a Miami fan at least)

If it weren't for bad luck, you'd have no luck at all.....

The fact remains that Coach Blasi has built up an impressive program in Oxford. He was hired back in the 1999 - 2000 season. Prior to his arrival, Miami had won 1 CCHA title (1992-93), 0 tournament titles, made 2 NCAA tournament appearances (1993, 1997), and had zero Frozen Four appearances. Since his hire, Miami has won 2 CCHA titles (2005-06, 2009-10), 1 tournament title (2011), made 8 NCAA tournament appearances (including seven in a row - since 2006), and 2 Frozen Four appearances. It's safe to say that Miami isn't far from the mountain top. With the great mix of youth and seniors they have on this team, they might be able to make a run in the spring time - but the future remains bright as they move to the NCHC next season. 

Michigan State's youth will be tested this game. The Spartans need to figure out this Friday & Saturday thing, so much so Coach Anastos has jokingly said that MSU will be playing doubleheaders on Saturday from now on. I wonder if he still has any pull in the commissioner's office. Seriously though, Michigan State is 1-4-0 on Friday night's this year getting outscored 17-7 in those games. The lone win was a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Niagara on October 19th. On the flip side, MSU is 3-1-1 on Saturday outscoring teams 21-14 on Friday, and if you take away the Minnesota game, that record goes to 3-0-1 with the goal margin 20-7.

Miami has been a tough match-up lately for Michigan State, but the Spartans finally are getting some size on the ice to help negate one of the biggest advantages Miami always has had. I wouldn't expect anything less than an all-out effort from both teams that should lead to a pair of exciting games.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Recap: Spartans Split With Michigan

The season long trend continued this weekend as the Michigan State Spartans split the weekend series with rival Michigan.

Friday Night

Michigan used three unanswered goals in the final period, including two in the final five minutes to pull away from Michigan State for a 5-1 victory. Michigan got on the board early scoring a pair of first period goals less than four minutes apart from each other to build a 2-0 lead. Michigan dominated the opening period out-shooting the Spartans 15-5. Michigan State got stronger as the game went along, settling in for a good second period, and Kevin Walrod pulled the Spartans to within one with a late marker. The Spartans out-shot Michigan 13-9 in the middle stanza. The final period Michigan got up 3-1 4:09 into the period on a goal by Derek DeBlois, and that goal seemingly put the game out of reach. Kevin Lynch and Jacob Trouba added the insurance goals late in the period. Will Yanakeff ended the game with 29 saves. Michigan went 1-4 on the power play, and the Spartans went 0-2.

Saturday Night

The season long trend continued, as Michigan State rebounded with an impressive 7-2 victory over Michigan in front of a record crowd at Munn Ice Arena (7,225). It didn't take long for the Spartans to get going as Matt Berry put Michigan State ahead 1-0 just 34 seconds into the game. MSU would score the next two goals as Brent Darnell tallied a power play goal and Anthony Hayes put MSU up 3-0 just 23 seconds after Darnell's goal. The game wasn't seven minutes old, but the Spartans held a 3-0 lead. The wild first period continued as Michigan scored a power play goal at the 7:54 mark, and Matt Berry added his second goal of the game with a power play goal 10:42 into the game. The final period ended with MSU up 4-1. The Spartans out-shot the Wolverines 16-11.

Michigan got the scoring going in the second period, but Matt Berry completed his hat-trick at the 15:08 mark of the second period to give MSU a three goal lead once again. Michigan out-shot the Spartans 16-6 in the middle period.

The final period belonged to Michigan State as Matt DeBlouw and Kevin Walrod rounded out the scoring to give Michigan State the 7-2 victory. Michigan out-shot Michigan State 15-7 in the final period, and freshman Jake Hildebrand made 40 saves for his first career victory over Michigan. The Spartans went 2-7 with the extra man, and Michigan went 1-7.

Around The CCHA

There were no clean sweeps in the CCHA this weekend, though two teams did earn five points. Western Michigan defeated Bowling Green 3-1 on Friday, but they needed a shoot-out on Saturday to earn the extra point. Miami needed a shoot-out on Saturday as well to earn the extra point over Northern, but Miami did earn the full three points on Friday with a 5-2 victory. Lake Superior downed Ferris 4-1 on Friday before the Bulldogs earned the road split the next night 2-1. Ohio State won in a shoot-out over Alaska on Friday, but the Nanooks won 3-1 on Saturday. Finally, in the only non-conference game, the Irish lost at Boston College 3-1 on Friday.

CCHA Standings

GPWLTSOWPointsTotal Points Possible
Notre Dame431009165
Ferris State633009159
LSSU 633009159
Michigan State633009159
Western Michigan421118164
Ohio State411216162
Bowling Green612216156
Northern Michigan613205155

Games This Week:


Notre Dame at Michigan


Ferris State at Bowling Green
Michigan State at Miami
Northern Michigan at Ohio State
Western Michigan at Alaska
Notre Dame at Michigan
Alabama-Huntsville at LSSU


Ferris State at Bowling Green
Michigan State at Miami
Northern Michigan at Ohio State
Western Michigan at Alaska
Alabama-Huntsville at LSSU

A tough series awaits Michigan State, as Miami hasn't lost at home yet this season. Besides this series, Notre Dame and Michigan should be a good one to watch as well as Western Michigan and Alaska. The Nanooks quietly sit in second place, so this will be a good test to see if they can contend this season.

CCHA Power Rankings:

1. Western Michigan (5-2-1, LW: 2). The Broncos climb back on top after an unbeaten weekend. A strong road test awaits.

2. Miami (6-2-2, LW: 3). Miami moves up one spot with an undefeated weekend as well.

3. Notre Dame (6-3-0, LW: 3). Critical Pairwise points may have been lost on the East Coast, but the Irish must refocus with a tough league road series this weekend.

4. Alaska (5-3-2, LW: 6). Are the Nanooks for real? We will see this upcoming weekend.

5. Ferris State (4-4-2, LW: 4). The Bulldogs are looking to build a winning streak after another split.

6. LSSU (5-5-0, LW: 8) The Lakers are looking for a bit of consistency as well. A non-conference series that they can build on awaits them.

7. Michigan State (4-5-1, LW: 9). The Spartans move ahead of Michigan based on an 8-7 total goal victory this weekend.

8. Michigan (5-4-0, LW: 5). For a team most people expected to contend for a CCHA and even a national title, the Wolverines have way too many question marks at this point in the season.

9. Northern Michigan (4-4-2, LW: 7). Getting a point in Oxford isn't easy, but the Wildcats are digging a hole early on in the CCHA.

10.  Ohio State (2-3-3, LW: 10). Not much really separates most of the CCHA, and the Buckeyes certainly could be higher. They can't afford to give up many home points though.

11. Bowling Green (2-6-3, LW: 11). They put up a fight, but Western just had too much this weekend.

Big Ten Power Rankings:

1. Minnesota (6-2-1, LW: 1). The Gophers continue along their way with a win and tie at Anchorage.

2. Michigan State (4-5-1, LW: 4). The total goal victory moves MSU past Michigan, and I'm still skeptical of Penn State's early success.

3. Michigan (5-4-0, LW: 2). Michigan is off to a rocky start once again - but Michigan fans have come to known the few things you can guarantee: Death, Taxes, and a 2nd half run by a Coach Berenson team.

4. Penn State (6-3-0, LW: 3). Another split with a win over Air Force. PSU gets this weekend off.

5. Ohio State (2-3-3, LW: 5). The Buckeyes continue to look to take a step forward.

6. Wisconsin (1-4-1, LW: 6). Another early weekend off for the Badgers - can they turn around next weekend in Minnesota?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Know Thy Enemy: Michigan

Well. It's that time of year (perfect timing for MSU with the football bye week).

Excuse me while I shower to clean myself for posting that logo......

Seriously though, it's time for the first installment of the most played rivalry in college hockey history. It's Michigan week.

Yeah, We really can't blame you for reacting this way.....

Friday night the teams will get together at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, and Saturday the teams will play at Munn. Both games can be seen on Comcast (Channel 900), at 7:35 pm on Friday and 7:05 pm on Saturday. If you can't tune in, you can turn on your radio to 730 am on Friday and 1240 am on Saturday. 

This will be the 290th and 291st time the two rivals have met. According to MSU records, the Wolverines lead the series 145-125-19. Last season Michigan went 3-1-1 against Michigan State (includes GLI). Michigan State went 1-0-1 at Munn (MSU won the shoot-out). Michigan won at Yost and then won two overtime games at Joe Louis Arena.

MSU is 64-48-10 at home against Michigan. Michigan holds a 71-44-4 edge at Yost. Both teams have done well in the regular season at home against the other one. Michigan last won a regular season game at Munn on December 6, 2008 (a 5-3 win). Michigan did win two play-off games at Munn back in March of 2010. Michigan State last won at Yost (3-2) on November 13, 2009. That was the last time MSU also swept a weekend series from Michigan (MSU won the next night at Munn 2-0).

Although it's not likely - you never know when Shegos will be in the middle of a MSU-UM brawl

Highlights From The Last MSU-UM game at Munn

The bad news for Michigan State fans is Torey Krug isn't walking out on the ice. The good news for MSU fans is that Michigan still seems to be figuring things out right now. They have question marks on the blue line and in goal. They only earned two out of a possible six points last weekend at Northern Michigan, and it took a three goal third period comeback on Friday just to force OT and eventually a shoot-out. Plus, the last goal Michigan scored in regulation happened at the 19:59 mark of the final period. 

I guess it goes without saying that you'll need to play 60 minutes against Michigan to try to beat them in regulation. 

Top Scorers:

A.J. Treais        7 goals, 10 points
Mac Bennett     3 goals, 9 points
Alex Guptill     4 goals, 8 points
Kevin Lynch    2 goals, 6 points
Jacob Trouba   2 goals, 6 points
Phil Di Giuseppe  1 goal, 6 points

In Goal:

Steve Racine   3-1-1, 2.96 GAA, .885 save %
Jared Rutledge  0-2-0, 4.52 GAA, .852 save %

Michigan is averaging 41 shots a game, and they are only allowing 27 shots a goal. The one period that stood out was the 105-57 shot edge in the 3rd period this year. 92-62 in the opening frame isn't bad either. Michigan out-scores teams 16-8 in the 3rd period. Michigan holds a slim 8-6 edge in scoring in the first period, and trails 9-7 in the second period this season.

So this could be interesting, because MSU has outscored teams 11-4 in the third period. They still need to work out the first two periods though as MSU has been outscored 19-3 in the first two periods combined.

Michigan's power play is clicking at a 21.9% rate right now, and the PK is at 82.1%. MSU has been out-shot 218-201 on the season. 

Final Thoughts

This can be said about any hockey game, the start is important. In a rivalry game, it adds to the importance to put the first goal in the net. Michigan State probably needs to get off to a faster start than Michigan (meaning it seems Michigan would be more apt to come from behind than Michigan State), but you just never know what could happen in this series. Anything is possible - so it wouldn't be surprising to see a 6-5 type game or a 1-0 type game. Michigan State has to have some confidence coming from the six goal outburst on Saturday at Bowling Green, but this weekend starts  quite the stretch of games to end the 2012 calendar of games (including series with Miami & Notre Dame). Every point matters, and you can't really expect anything less than an all-out effort from both clubs not wanting to give up a single inch to their arch-rival.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekend Recap: Splits Become The Norm

For most people, the CCHA has really become a difficult league to earn points in as the conference depth has improved a great deal in recent years. This weekend shows just what can happen - five series - basically five splits. The lone exception is going to be Michigan-Northern as one game went into a shoot-out, so it wasn't a clean 3 point split for both teams.

Michigan rallied to earn the extra point on Friday, but Northern held on for the regulation win on Saturday. Western stunned Notre Dame in South Bend on Friday, but the Irish rebounded with a dominating win on Sunday afternoon. Miami and Ferris split as the Bulldogs won on Friday, and Miami returned the favor the next night. Bowling Green won in East Lansing for the first time since 2007 on Friday, but the Spartans dominated the game on Saturday to earn the split in Bowling Green. Finally, LSSU made the long trek out west and earned a split in Alaska.

CCHA Standings:

GP W L T SOW Points Total Points Possible
Notre Dame 4 3 1 0 0 9 165
Alaska 4 2 2 0 0 6 162
Ferris State 4 2 2 0 0 6 162
LSSU 4 2 2 0 0 6 162
Miami 4 2 2 0 0 6 162
Michigan State 4 2 2 0 0 6 162
Bowling Green 4 1 2 1 1 5 161
Michigan 4 1 2 1 1 5 161
Northern Michigan 4 1 2 1 0 4 160
Ohio State 2 1 0 1 0 4 166
Western Michigan 2 1 1 0 0 3 165

Right now it looks like if anyone can go on a winning streak, they might pull away from the pack early on in the season. However, if the depth really is improved, it's going to be hard for anyone to pull away.

Games Next Weekend:


Ferris State at Lake Superior State
Northern Michigan at Miami
Alaska at Ohio State
Bowling Green at Western Michigan
Michigan State at Michigan
Notre Dame at Boston College


Ferris State at Lake Superior State
Northern Michigan at Miami
Western Michigan at Bowling Green
Michigan at Michigan State
Alaska at Ohio State

While everyone in East Lansing will be focused on the series against Michigan, there are other series that should peak your interest. Alaska going down to Columbus for a pair should be interesting to see if either team can come away with a sweep. Ferris State traveling up to LSSU will be a good series, as well as Northern Michigan visiting Miami (though I bet most people will have Miami sweeping that series). Then there is the single non-conference game between Notre Dame and Boston College.

Around the country, Penn State won again this weekend against Buffalo State (D-III), and it's rivalry week in the Big 10 as Wisconsin and Minnesota face-off against each other. 

CCHA Power Rankings:

1. Notre Dame (6-2-0, LW: 1). The Irish benefit from everyone splitting.

2. Western Michigan (4-2-0, LW: 3). The Broncos earned a split in South Bend - let's see how many other teams can do that this season.

3. Miami (5-2-1, LW: 2). Miami finally returns home after a decent 2-2 road trip.

4. Ferris State (3-3-2, LW: 6). The Bulldogs may have just sent a message to the rest of the CCHA that they still are a force this year.

5. Michigan (4-3-0, LW: 4). A lot of question marks remain in Ann Arbor, as they needed a miracle finish to manage any points against Northern.

6. Alaska (4-3-1, LW: 5). The Nanooks return to the lower 48 again trying to show they can do it away from home.

7. Northern Michigan (4-3-1, LW: 9). Despite the collapse on Friday, Northern still managed to earn four out of a possible six points against Michigan.

8. LSSU (4-4-0, LW: 7). Really not much separating the Lakers from anyone else in these rankings.

9. Michigan State (3-4-1, LW: 8). Same can be said about the Spartans - not much difference from them and the rest of the middle of the pack in the CCHA.

10. Ohio State (2-2-2, LW: 10). It might be time to move up if the Buckeyes can sweep Alaska.

11. Bowling Green (2-5-2, LW: 11). They could have moved up by sweeping MSU, but it has to be a disappointing split for the Falcons after winning at Munn on Friday.

Big Ten Power Rankings:

1. Minnesota (5-2-0, LW: 1). Splits seem just as popular early on in the WCHA.

2. Michigan (4-3-0, LW: 2). I just can't move Penn State this high this early on.

3. Penn State (5-2-0, LW: 3). Anyone else notice they are tied with Minnesota for best record among Big 10 teams?

4. Michigan State (3-4-1, LW: 4). Big series awaits MSU this week (and next).

5. Ohio State (2-2-2, LW: 6). The Buckeyes looking for as many CCHA points as possible this week.

6. Wisconsin (1-4-1, LW: 5). Starting off 0-4 "at home" is never a good thing.  A big series against rival Minnesota awaits the Badgers.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spartans Rebound & Dominate Bowling Green 6-1

What a difference a day makes.

A night after the Spartans couldn't seem to find the back of the net, Michigan State pretty much found nothing but net for their second straight road victory of this young season.

The Spartans power play proved to be the difference scoring four times as MSU posted a 6-1 win at Bowling Green to move to 2-2-0 in league play and 3-4-1 overall. With the loss, BGSU falls to 1-2-1-1 in the CCHA and 2-5-1 overall.

The Spartans will face arch-rival Michigan next weekend in a home and home series. More to come later tomorrow and throughout the week.

Bowling Green Posts Shutout For First Win At Munn Since 2007

The last time Bowling Green came into East Lansing and won was the 2006 - 2007 season. That streak is now over, as the Falcons defeated the Spartans 1-0 at Munn Ice Arena last night. The good news for MSU fans is that was the same season MSU won the national title. But, we could be getting a little ahead of ourselves with that stat.

The Falcons came out with a bit of jump, out-shooting MSU 9-5 in the opening period, and the pressure finally paid off with just under four minutes to go in the period as the point shot from Kucera was deflected off of the MSU defense in front of a mass off bodies in front of the Spartan goal - Jake Hildebrand had no chance.

The Spartans may have played better as the game progressed, but they didn't get many offensive chances, despite out-shooting Bowling Green 29-25 for the game. The best opportunity for the Spartans came on a 5 on 3 for a full minute in the third period. The Spartans did get some pressure on goal there, including hitting the goal post once, but they could not solve Hammond in goal.

The loss drops the Spartans to 1-2-0 in the CCHA and 2-4-1 overall. Bowling Green improves to 1-1-1-1 in the league and 2-4-2 overall. The two teams play again tonight down in Bowling Green. The puck drops at 7:05 pm.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Know Thy Enemy: Bowling Green State University

Michigan State (1-1-0-0 CCHA, 2-3-1 overall) plays a home and home with the Falcons from Bowling Green State University (0-1-1-1 CCHA, 1-4-2 overall). Friday night the game will get underway at 5:05 pm at Munn Ice Arena, and the teams make the two hour trek down to Ohio for a 7:05 pm puck drop. Friday's game is on Comcast Local. Friday's game is on 1240 AM on your radio dial, and 730 am on Saturday.

Bowling Green is coming into the weekend winless in three games. They did manage to get the extra point against Ohio State in the shoot-out last Saturday though. Their last actual win came back on October 19th at Colgate. In fact, that stands as their only win in this young season so far.

Don't sleep on the Falcons though, they will make you work for everything on the ice.

Bowling Green is looking to start an unbeaten streak this weekend, and MSU is looking to start a winning streak.
Series History

This might be one of those historic series that MSU fans may be sad to see come off the schedule (if it actually does next year). Michigan State and Bowling Green's rivalry might have peaked in the 1980s, but for MSU fans and BGSU fans alike, they always enjoy this series when it comes up.
 MSU holds a 71-29-8 all-time record against Bowling Green

MSU is 40-9-3 in East Lansing against BGSU, and 24-18-5 at Bowling Green.

Michigan State has won four straight in the series, and they are unbeaten in the last eight games in this series.

Bowling Green last won a game in this series on February 21, 2009 - a 4-0 decision at Bowling Green. February 24, 2007 was the last time Bowling Green won in East Lansing - a 2-1 game. All MSU did that year was win the national title. No pressure.

MSU is 1-0 in shoot-outs against BGSU

Top Scorers:

Dajon Mingo              2 goals, 5 points
Ryan Carpenter           2 goals, 5 points
Adam Berkle              1 goal,  5 points
Dan DeSalvo              0 goals, 5 points
Mark Cooper              3 goals, 3 points

In Goal:

Tommy Burke              1-2-1, 2.22 GAA, .913 save %
Andrew Hammond      0-2-1, 3.60  GAA, .869 save %

Special Teams:

Power Play - 9.1%  (3 for 33)
Penalty Kill - 80.0% (20 for 25)

Final Thoughts:

Bowling Green's power play actually got off to a decent start, as they scored a goal in each of their first three games. However, the last four games the power play is 0 for 16. It's going to be tough to win anywhere with a power play that cannot convert. The good news for Bowling Green is the PK has been very strong in the last four games going a perfect 13 for 13. Really, the PK only had one bad weekend against Union in which it went 4 for 9.

Getting off to a strong start is obviously important for both teams. Michigan State did a better job against LSSU (especially Saturday), and it should be key once again. Bowling Green has been outscored 8-4 in the first period, but only 12-10 in the last two periods. BGSU is 1-0-1 when leading after the first period, but 0-4-1 when trailing or tied. The Falcons are a very young team - their lone senior in the top 10 of scoring on the team is defenseman Robert Shea. I only see four seniors on the roster, so it will be a very interesting match-up of two young teams simply trying to go out and get points in the CCHA standings.

This weekend stands to be big for Michigan State, as the Spartans have to take on Michigan and Miami in back to back weekends starting next week. If the Spartans get off to a good start, then maybe they can get on a roll and sweep the series. A three game winning streak would be nice going into the Michigan series. Also, anytime you can sweep anyone in this league, you'll take it.  

USHL Standout Picks Michigan State

Ricardo Cooney of is reporting that Michigan State has picked up standout Youngstown Phantoms winger JT Stenglein for the 2013 - 2014 season.

JT, a 1993 birthday, is currently listed at 6-0, 195 lbs (USHL website has him at 200 lbs). He finished 5th in the USHL last season with 31 goals - a Youngstown record. In 11 games this season he has 6 goals and 11 points to share the goal lead on his team. He's also registered 56 penalty minutes so far this year (Yes, 56). In 56 games a year ago he had 31 goals and 51 points with 132 penalty minutes.

He is the leading returning scorer in the USHL this season. He originally was verbally committed to UMass-Lowell.

Going on a hunch, I figured a guy with those numbers had to be on YouTube....

I wasn't disappointed....

JT Stenglein Mixing It Up (White Jersey)

JT With The Big Hit (:45 mark)

Stenglein Scores Shorthanded (2:12 mark)

A great pick-up for Michigan State.