Scouting the Broncos

Michigan State will face-off against the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday and Saturday night. The Friday night game will be played in East Lansing at 7:05 p.m. and the Saturday night game is a 7:35 p.m. start in Kalamazoo. Friday night's game will be televised on Comcast.

Western Michigan is 4-0 on the season with two of their wins coming against Mercyhurst and two against Alabama-Huntsville. They are off to a good start for a team that is predicted to finish 11th in the CCHA's coaches poll. Trevor Elias, former teammate of Derek Grant, is the Broncos top freshman, who has tallied a point in each game this season. J.J. Crew scored four goals and recorded two assists in their first weekend against Mercyhurst, so the Spartans better keep an eye on him. WMU's Riley Gill is the starting goaltender, and he has three of the four wins this season. Both teams come into the weekend with a lot of confidence with WMU's undefeated start and Michigan State beating the top-ranked team in the country. I suspect it will be two games filled with energy and physical play. I give the edge to the Spartans, who are a more talented team. A sweep and six points is a great possibility this weekend. I'm anxious to see how we play at Lawson Arena, which has always been a tough place to play for MSU.


Early Spartan Hockey Memories

I will be making my first trip to Western Michigan for a hockey game since Jan. 31, 1997. I was seven years old at the time and I still have the Broncos puck that was tossed to me during a promotion event at the end of the period. The game ended in a 3-2 overtime victory for Western Michigan on a disputed face-off in our zone. A bench-clearing brawl ensued afterwards and its a game that I will never forget. If anyone would like to share their Spartan hockey memories on the blog, email me at spartanhockeyblog@gmail.com. I will post a few responses. Also, check back soon for the scouting report on the Broncos.

Game Promotions

Check out the Official Michigan State hockey site for upcoming events and promotions.

Corey Tropp- CCHA Offensive Player of the Week

Corey Tropp had a goal and two assists this weekend to be named the CCHA offensive player of the week. This was his first time receiving the weekly award this season. Tropp's 12 points leads the country. Also, he is atop the CCHA in goals (6), assists (6), power play goals (4), and points (12). Tropp has led the Spartans into the rankings, where they sit at #20 in the USCHO.com poll.


Michigan State 3 Miami 2

Andrew Rowe scored an overtime goal to push the Spartans past the RedHawks in the Saturday night game 3-2. Michigan State led 2-0 through two periods, but Miami came back with two goals in the third. Corey Tropp and Derek Grant scored the Spartan goals. Drew Palmisano saved 35 shots in the win.

Wow, what a great win for the Spartans! They go on the road to the #1 ranked team in the country and play two tough games. They split the series and feel pretty good about their start in the CCHA . I was cautiously optimistic after the first two weekends because I thought the competition wasn't the greatest, but the Miami series shows that the Spartans have, at the very least, significantly improved from last season. I'm not expecting championships this season, but I just want to see competitive games against the top teams in the conference. Hopefully this weekend is a preview of what's to come this season. The line of Sucharski, Grant, and Tropp has carried the load offensively, thus far. MSU scored three power play goals against one of the nation's best penalty killers. Both goalies played solid games and we were able to win a close game on the road. I'm not trying to overemphasize these games, but it's a step in the right direction for Michigan State hockey.

Miami 2 Michigan State 1

Michigan State fell to Miami 2-1 on Friday night in Oxford. They played the RedHawks tough all game, but just couldn't come out on top. Miami's Tommy Wingels scored with 2 minutes left in the game to put the RedHawks ahead. Derek Grant had the lone goal for the Spartans. Bobby Jarosz made his first career road start and finished with 24 saves.

The Spartans showed they are an improved team by hanging tough with the #1 ranked team in the country. It's a hard game to lose when you let up a goal so late in the game, but there were many positives from the game. We stepped up our play from the first four games and showed that we are a force to be reckoned with in the CCHA. Grant continues to impress with all the points he has tallied in the first few games. Bobby Jarosz played a nice game on the road as well.


Friday and Saturday Night- Miami Series

The Michigan State Spartans will take on the Miami RedHawks on Friday Night at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday night at 8:05 p.m. Both games will be on the radio (Fri. 1240 AM, Sat. 730 AM) or at msuspartans.com. The Saturday night game will be televised on Comcast, which is ch. 900 in the Lansing area. There will also be a live game tracker at msuspartans.com.


Scouting the RedHawks

Michigan State will travel this weekend to Oxford, Ohio to take on the #1 ranked Miami RedHawks. Miami is coming off a win and a tie at New Hampshire. They opened the season with a sweep of St. Cloud St. and their overall record is 3-0-1. Sophomore Matt Tomassoni was the CCHA's defensive player of the week for his play against New Hampshire. He and Carter Camper scored two goals in the series. Curtis McKenzie, Jarod Palmer, and Tommy Wingels had four points each. Palmer leads the team in points with six (2 goals, 4 assists). Camper is on the Hobey Baker list and his three goals leads the team. Connor Knapp and Cody Reichard have alternated in goal with the Friday-Saturday rotation.

Michigan State will have its hands full this weekend. This is without a doubt the toughest team they will have played so far and may end up being the toughest team they will face all season. The young team did have the chance to play in a hostile environment last weekend, so they know what it feels like. Palmisano will have to be real sharp in net and the Spartans must score early to keep the crowd out of the game. Miami has only allowed one power play goal this season, so we'll see how that matches up with a very good Spartan power play. I think that a split would be huge for Michigan State, but we'll take any points we can get against the #1 ranked team in hockey.


Maine 5 Michigan State 3

Maine came away with a 5-3 hard-fought win over Michigan State. The teams were tied 3-3 with 1:39 left in the game before Gustav Nyquist scored a power play goal. An empty-net goal sealed it and gave Maine their first win. Corey Tropp, Mike Merrifield, and Andrew Rowe scored for the Spartans. Drew Palmisano made 20 saves in the loss.

The Spartans are 3-1 heading into Oxford next weekend to play the number one ranked Miami RedHawks. In the CCHA, Michigan State leads in scoring, as well as, Corey Tropp in individual scoring. Penalties really hurt the Spartans on Saturday night with three straight penalties late in the game, which led to a Maine goal. We will need to both improve our penalty killing and take less "avoidable" penalties. A split seems reasonable this weekend with a young team on the road, but it always hurts to lose a close one.
News Release

Michigan State 5 Maine 3

Michigan State beat Maine by a score of 5-3 for their first road win of the season. Corey Tropp recorded a hat trick for the Spartans and Grant had two assists. In the first period, Maine scored an early goal on the power play, but the Spartans responded. They answered another Black Bear goal later in the period with a power play goal of their own. The Spartans never trailed from that point on. They added two more goals in the second period and Maine netted one. Jeff Petry's third period goal sealed the 5-3 win.

The Spartans have shown that they can respond when they get down early in the game. This was a great win, especially on the road. If Tropp keeps up this early offensive production, Michigan State will win a lot of games. I see a team that has put last year in the past and has come out firing on all cylinders.
News Release


Live Blog

Nathan Fournier from the Maine Hockey Journal will have a live blog for Friday night's game. Tune into the radio broadcast from msuspartans.com and follow the live blog from Maine.


Scouting the Black Bears

The Michigan State Spartan hockey team travels to Maine to take on the Black Bears in a two game set. Michigan State is coming off two wins against Clarkson and Maine dropped their first couple to Union. Maine is a member of the Hockey East conference. Last season, they had an overall record of 13-22-4 and a conference record of 7-17-3. The Black Bears are predicted to finish eighth of ten teams in Hockey East. They have six of their top eight scorers coming back this season. Sophomore Gustav Nyquist led the way for Maine with 13 goals and 19 assists a year ago. Senior goalie Dave Wilson started the first two games in losses to Union, so they may resort to playing sophomore Scott Darling (10-14-3, 2.76 GAA in 08-09). Spencer Abbott has three assists on the season to lead the team in points. Maine has nine new freshman on campus just like the Spartans. Freshman Adam Shemansky scored two goals in the Union series.

Michigan State is coming off a very successful first weekend. They have a lot of confidence heading into the Maine series. It will be a test for this young team on the road. I think that getting at least three points this weekend would be great and we couldn't be too unhappy with a split. It's important that we keep up the offensive production this weekend, especially against a team that doesn't look to be that solid in net. The Spartans need the upperclassmen to step up this weekend just like they did against Clarkson. Games are at 7:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.


Rookie of the Week

The CCHA named Michigan State's Derek Grant the Rookie of the Week for the first week of the season. This award was well deserved as Grant had a goal and an assist in each game for the Spartans in their two victories over Clarkson. Its a great accomplishment for the freshman and the Spartans expect that kind of play out of Grant to continue all season long.
News Release


Michigan State 4 Clarkson 3

With under three minutes to go, freshman forward Chris Forfar scored the game-winning goal to defeat Clarkson 4-3. Sucharski, Grant and Leveille also added goals for the Spartans, and Petry notched two assists. Bobby Jarosz made 28 saves in his first start since 2007.

The Spartans played another solid game on both ends of the ice. Clarkson definitely played a better game on Saturday night and Michigan State was able to answer with a clutch goal at the end of the game. The freshmen seem to be stepping up so far this season with all of them playing except for the injured Grassi. The line of Grant, Sucharski, and Tropp looks to be without a doubt the top line. Jarosz will compete for time in net after a nice performance last night. He let in a weak goal on the first shot of the game, but was very steady thereafter. I think the Spartans are feeling pretty good right now heading to Maine next weekend with a 2-0 record.
News Release


Michigan State 6 Clarkson 1

The Spartans opened up the season with a 6-1 victory over the Golden Knights of Clarkson. Freshman defenseman, Zach Josepher led the way with a pair of goals and assists in a four point outing. Andrew Rowe, Derek Grant, Dustin Gazley, and Corey Tropp added the other goals for the Spartans. Drew Palmisano was solid in net, making 28 saves and only allowing one goal. MSU was 3 of 8 on the power play on the night.

Overall, it was a well played game by the Spartans. After a lack-luster first period by both teams, Michigan State really took over in the second period and did not let up the rest of the game. They showed that they can really produce offensively, especially on the power play. Palmisano looked sharp and our defense seemed much improved from last season. I was disappointed on faceoffs because that was one thing that really hurt us a season ago and we struggled with them last night, but we will get better. A win tonight would be huge for the our confidence going into Maine next weekend.
News Release


Clarkson Game Tonight

The Michigan State Spartans open the regular season with two home games against Clarkson. Tonight's game starts at 7:05 p.m. and tomorrow's game is at 5:05 p.m. It will be interesting to see how the Spartans come out and play tonight. I'm sure they are just looking to put last season behind them and get off to a fast start. They need to get a couple of wins this weekend because the schedule looks pretty tough with a trip to Maine next weekend and to Miami the weekend after. The key will be the Spartans coming out fast and setting the tone physically. I wouldn't be surprised if we got 3 or 4 points this weekend. Check out the season preview here.


Clarkson Series

Here is a look at Clarkson from their athletic site. I don't know too much about their hockey team, other than what is listed on the site. The Golden Knights are a member of the ECAC conference. Last season, they were 10-19-7 overall and finished tied for eighth in the conference with a record of 8-10-4. Clarkson leads the series against Michigan State 7-4-1, but the Spartans did defeat the Golden Knights in the 1966 National Championship game.
Clarkson Season Outlook

LSJ Season Preview and Palmisano Story

If you haven't checked out the Lansing State Journal today, there are two articles about Michigan State hockey. Both are written by Neil Koepke, one discusses the upcoming season and the other features Drew Palmisano.
Season Preview
Drew Palmisano


Line Combinations (As of 10/5)

Grant Sucharski Tropp
Rowe Leveille Gazley
Walrod Forfar Golembiewski
Chelios Nill Hayes

Krug Petry
Josepher Buttery
Crandell Shelgren

MSU 5 Western Ontario 2

Michigan State won its lone pre-season exhibition game last night. Tropp, Leveille, Grant, Golembiewski, and Nill all had tallies for the Spartans. They beat a very good Western Ontario team that had beat Ohio State the previous night. It was nice to see the freshman get involved offensively with a couple of goals and assists. Tropp and Leveille are two players that will be counted on heavily this season, and it was good to see them put a couple of pucks in net. The goaltending seemed fine with Palmisano and Jarosz letting in just one goal apiece. The Spartans did not capitalize on some power play opportunities, but they were sure getting scoring chances. Grant had one goal, but he could have easily had a hat trick. Also, the Spartans looked more physical in that game than they did probably all of last season.
Press Release

Green wins 3-2

The Spartans played the annual Green and White game on Sunday. Green was able to prevail 3-2 with goals from Crandell, Sucharski, and Grant. The White team was led by goals from Gazley and Perlini. It's always hard to tell how the game went in an inter-squad scrimmage, but the Spartans did appear much bigger and stronger out there. I was awed by the breakaway goal that Grant scored off a turnover and I thought Perlini's snipe was equally impressive. The game had its sloppy moments, but it seems like the Spartans are ready to go this year.

Spartans in the NHL

Eleven former Michigan State hockey players are on opening-night rosters for teams in the National Hockey League. Only one former Spartan was in action when the 2009-10 NHL season officially opened on Thursday evening, but five more will join action today when games get underway at noon eastern time... continue.


Green and White Game Tonight

Don't forget that the Green and White game will be played tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. Ticket sales will benefit the Blue Line Club. It will be interesting to see how the Spartans look tonight and we will get a chance to see all the new freshmen. Hopefully, many of you will be at the game tonight and can give your analysis of the team for us.


My Pre-Season CCHA Picks

1. Notre Dame
2. Miami
3. Michigan
4. Ohio State
5. Nebraska Omaha
6. Michigan State
7. Northern Michigan
8. Alaska
9. Ferris State
10. Lake Superior State
11. Western Michigan
12. Bowling Green

Any thoughts? What would your rankings be?