Minnesota 2 Michigan State 1

Michigan State lost a tough one at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday night. Drew Palmisano played really well with a season-high 4o saves, but the Spartans managed only one goal on 38 shots. Andrew Rowe scored the lone goal, his 7th of the season. Michigan State will move down in the rankings this week after slipping to 9-5-2 on the season.

The coaching staff made some lineup changes to start the game to try and get the Spartans going. Trevor Nill played in favor of Mike Merrifield and Tim Buttery replaced Brock Shelgren. Rowe and Sucharski switched places on their respective lines, and Hayes and Chelios moved up on the wings of Forfar's line. That left Golembiewski, Nill, and Walrod on the other line. The lines were changed throughout the game and they ended up close to what they have been all season long towards the end of the game. The guys really hustled and got some good scoring chances, but were just unable to put the puck in the net. It will be interesting to see what the lineup will look like next weekend at Northern Michigan. There is no need for anyone to panic after three straight losses. All the teams they lost to are very good and the Spartans will get back to playing well soon.

Wisconsin 7 Michigan State 3

The first game of the College Hockey Showcase for 2009 was one for the Spartans to forget. Give credit to Wisconsin because they are a very good team. Five of the six of their defensemen are either first or second round draft picks. We did not give ourselves a chance to win though. We turned the puck over way too many times and the goaltending was not what we're used to. There is no one thing or one person to blame the loss on. I think it's just a sign of a young team going through a rough patch. We will learn from a game like this and move on. The power play was a bright spot for the Spartans because we were able to score two goals after not recording one in several games.


Scouting the Badgers and Gophers

Michigan State will play host to the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a Friday and Saturday night game. The games will begin at 7:05 and are part of the College Hockey Showcase. Friday's opponent, Wisconsin, is 7-4-1 on the season and ranked #15 in the USCHO poll. The Badgers split with unranked St. Cloud State last weekend. The only currently ranked team they have played was #5 Colorado College in which they lost and tied the two games. Wisconsin also has a split against our Saturday night opponent, Minnesota. Junior defenseman Brendan Smith (13) and senior forward Blake Geoffrion (10) are the top two point-getters. Scott Gudmanson and Brad Bennett share the net-minding duties. Craig Smith is the team's top freshman with 9 points. Minnesota is unranked and 4-7-1 on the season. They lost both their games against #14 Minnesota-Duluth last weekend. Their best win came against #6 Bemidji State. Senior forward Tony Lucia leads the team with 11 points. Zach Budish is the top freshman with 5 points. Alex Kangas is the starting goaltender with a 4-5 record and 2.49 GAA.

This will be the last time that the College Hockey Showcase will be played at Munn Ice Arena. Next year will be the final year of a great Thanksgiving tradition. I will miss watching MSU play two fellow Big Ten schools. Hopefully, we are able to keep one or both of them on the schedule. There is talk that a Big Ten conference would be formed, along with keeping the CCHA in place. I know I would like to see the Spartans play more games against Big Ten schools. Who knows what will happen? There should be a big crowd at Munn this weekend as we face-off against two stellar opponents. Go Spartans!


Notre Dame 4 Michigan State 1

The Spartans fell 4-1 to the Fighting Irish on Sunday afternoon in a game played at the Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Michigan State out-shot Notre Dame, but just couldn't seem to bury the puck. The Irish did a good job in capitalizing on their scoring opportunities, as well. Maybe MSU needed to have a weekend like this to get them back down to earth after going from an unranked team to #6 in the country. They have played so well throughout this season and did not play too bad in either game this weekend, but were not able to come out with wins. They must refocus this week in practice and prepare for the College Hockey Showcase. They will face a tough Wisconsin Badger team on Friday night. The Spartans have shown a lot so far this year and will continue to improve. They need to get their power play back on track this weekend after starting out so good and then hitting a bit of a lull lately. The Spartan defense was supposed to struggle as a unit, but they have been impressively sound so far. I will be coming out with a scouting report on both Wisconsin and Minnesota later this week.


Notre Dame 1 Michigan State 1; Notre Dame wins shootout 2-1

Derek Grant had the lone goal in a 1-1 tie against Notre Dame on Thursday night. The Spartans went on to lose to the Irish in a shootout by the score of 2 to 1. Notre Dame was one of the toughest teams MSU has faced all season. The Spartans played an average game in which they started off really slow and progressively played better. Palmisano kept up his great play in net, making 25 saves. Michigan State had two 5 min power plays in the game that they couldn't capitalize on. The game was very physical throughout with big hits by both teams. Michigan State has lost in their only two shootouts this season. They really miss a guy like Kurt Kivisto, who seemed to score in every shootout opportunity. Andrew Rowe made a nice move in the ND shootout, and hopefully a couple guys will step up for the Spartans in future shootouts. MSU will face Notre Dame tomorrow afternoon in Ft. Wayne, IN at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum at 4 p.m.


Two New Spartans for 2010

Michigan State hockey coach Rick Comley has announced that Lee Reimer (Landmark, Manitoba) and Willie Yanakeff (Jerome, Mich.) have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Spartans, beginning in the fall of 2010... News Release

Palmisano Named CCHA Goalie of the Week

With the loss of the all-time saves leader and one of the greatest goalies in Spartan history, Michigan State was relying on young sophomore, Drew Palmisano to fill big shoes in the 2009-2010 season. Palmisano has really come through so far this year. In the last six games, he has a 1.30 GAA and a .954 save percentage. He has compiled a 5-0-1 record in that span with two shutouts. Against Michigan this weekend, he allowed only two goals in two games and recorded a shutout on Saturday. His efforts in the two victories earned him the weekly CCHA Goaltender award.
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Scouting the Fighting Irish

Notre Dame has an overall record of 5-5-2 and a 2-2-2 CCHA record. They are ranked #14th in the nation by USCHO and are tied for sixth in the conference. Last weekend, they lost one game to Northern Michigan and won the other game in a shootout. The Irish split with Alaska in Fairbanks and got five points in a weekend set with Ohio State in their other CCHA contests. Notre Dame has a road win against Boston University, but BU has since fallen out of the rankings. Junior forward Ben Ryan leads the team with ten points (3 goals, 7 assists). Riley Sheahan is the top freshman with seven points. Brad Phillips (1-3-2) and Mike Johnson (3-2) have split time in net this season. Notre Dame has started the season slow, but they should be one of the top teams in the CCHA at the end of the season. They play well on both ends of the ice and have some very talented young freshman. Michigan State will have two tough games this weekend against the Fighting Irish.

Michigan State Moves to #6

The Spartans garnered one first-place vote and moved from #13 to #6 in the country according to United States College Hockey Online. MSU has the most wins with 9 and split with the #1 ranked Miami RedHawks. They face-off against #14 Notre Dame this weekend.


Michigan State 2 Michigan 0

The Michigan State Spartans overtook the CCHA lead with their 2-0 victory over the Michigan Wolverines. The Spartans took six points this weekend over the #6 ranked team in the country. They swept Michigan for the first time since 1997-1998. Chris Forfar and Andrew Rowe had the Spartan goals. Drew Palmisano recorded a 31-save shutout. State has the national lead with a record of 9-2-1 and a conference lead at 6-1-1.

First of all, I would just like to congratulate the Spartans on two huge wins this weekend. Beating Michigan always feels good, especially after struggling against them last year. The fans were amazing at Munn on Saturday night, and hopefully it will be that way for the rest of the season. It was such a great atmosphere for the team to play in and they are really on a roll. We need to stay humble after the weekend, knowing that the CCHA is such a tough conference and any team can beat you on a given night. I'm not going to say that we should win the conference right now, but we will sure contend for it. I took a look at the pre-season conference picks and they are pretty far off at this point of the season. The next couple weeks are crucial for the Spartans with tough games against Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Why the Spartans are playing so well...
There are nine freshman all contributing significantly so far on both offense and defense. Corey Tropp is leading the nation in goals and points. Derek Grant was the National and CCHA player of the month in October. Jeff Petry and all the defenseman have been blocking shots, moving the puck well, and stopping odd-man rushes. Drew Palmisano has really played well replacing one of the top goaltenders in Spartan history in Jeff Lerg. The Michigan State power play has been real successful so far (just not this weekend). The Spartans are executing their system well, and they have great team chemistry. I credit all the coaches for developing the young players in such a short time and providing that positive mind-set in the locker room after a rough 08-09 campaign. Also, there is no question that the leadership of captains Jeff Petry and Nick Sucharski is another main reason why they are winning games.


Michigan State 3 Michigan 2

The Spartans defeated the Wolverines in their first match-up this season in Ann Arbor. Michigan State ended its six-game losing streak against Michigan. They will play the second game of weekend set tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena. Michigan State's goals were scored by Rowe, Tropp, and Leveille. Matt Crandell dished off two assists and was named the first star of the game.

The Michigan State-Michigan game is always a heated rivalry and the teams seem to be evenly matched year in and year out. The Spartans needed this win after they lost all their games to Michigan last season. I think its a big confidence boost to win on the road at such a tough rink. We stay disciplined all game and never took any bad penalties. We weren't able to score on the power-play, but we killed off all five Michigan power-plays. The game never got out of hand after-the-whistle, but I expect some more emotion tonight out of Michigan because they have lost three straight games. Leveille came up with a big goal that turned into the game winner. I had said earlier that he will start scoring and it couldn't have come at a better time. Palmisano was sharp in net, facing 19 shots. Corey Tropp added to his national lead in goals and points with a snipe last night. Michigan State will look to extend its second-longest in the country winning streak to seven games tonight in East Lansing.
News Release



Michigan State has moved into #13 in the USCHO poll and to #14 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. The Spartans sat at #17 in USCHO and unranked in USA Today/USA hockey Magaizine polls a weeks ago. It's nice to see MSU getting some respect for a great start to their season. Two wins over Michigan this weekend could jump them into the top ten.

Scouting the Wolverines

Michigan State will play the Michigan Wolverines in a home and home series on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday's game is at 7:35 at Yost Ice Arena and Saturday night's game is at 7:05 at Munn. Michigan is 4-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play. They are coming off two home losses against Miami, but they defeated LSSU in their CCHA opening weekend. Penalties really hurt the Wolverines in a 5-1 loss on Saturday in which Miami scored 5 unanswered goals. They are ranked #6 in the country in both the USA Today and the USCHO polls. Michigan has faced some tough competition in the early-going with Alaska, Boston, and Miami all on the schedule, but those games account for their four losses. Junior Matt Rust is Michigan's leading scorer with eight points (4 goals, 4 assists). Chris Brown is Michigan's best freshman with seven points on the season. Their captain is a solid defenseman, Chris Summers. Junior Bryan Hogan is a very good goaltender, but has struggled so far this year with a 2.51 GAA. I expect two very heated rivalry games. After the incident that happened last year at Yost, look for a ton of emotion early in the contest and there may be some more after-the-whistle hitting than usual. It will be a battle of who can be more disciplined because both teams have spent too much time in the box so far this season. Michigan State looks to avenge last season's five losses to the Wolverines, while Michigan needs to get back on track after some early losses.


Nebraska-Omaha 3 Michigan State 3 OT/UNO wins shootout

Michigan State tied Nebraska-Omaha 3-3, but lost in the shootout 2-1. Mike Merrifield, Chris Forfar, and Nick Sucharski had the Spartan goals. Drew Palmisano took the shootout loss after a shut-out the previous night.
Overall, a pretty good weekend for Michigan State hockey. They took four points from a very good UNO hockey team, including a dominating 3-0 victory on Thursday night. Friday's game proved to be a little bit of a letdown because we could have gotten the win. It was just disappointing not to come out with a win after the way we played on Thursday, which seemed to be the mood in the locker room. Michigan State is still looking good at second place in the CCHA, but have to two tough tests in the coming weeks against Michigan and Notre Dame. Penalties hurt us again on Friday night, so limiting them will be important especially in the heated Michigan State-Michigan rivalry. On a side note, Derek Grant was named National Rookie of the Month for his play in October. Check back soon for a quick scouting report on Michigan and some other insight into the rivalry.


Michigan State 3 Nebraska-Omaha 0

Michigan State defeated the #10 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 3-0 in a Thursday night match-up. Drew Palmisano made 31 saves in the shutout victory for the Spartans. Derek Grant, Anthony Hayes, and Corey Tropp scored the goals for MSU. Michigan State has moved to 4-1-0 in the CCHA and 7-2-0 overall.

The Spartans started their tough road stretch with a very good win over a team that outscored them 10-2 last year in Omaha. There are a few important things that I think will be key for the Spartans in the next few weeks. First of all, special teams must continue to be a strength for MSU. Their penalty kill was 4-4 last night and they scored a power-play goal. The Spartans have done well on the power-play without an actual unit. The lines have remained intact on the power-play and line match-ups are sought to give us the biggest advantage to score. Secondly, Daultan Leveille is a talented scorer, but he has only one goal this season. Look for him to light the lamp a few times in the next few weeks. He plays on a great line with Gazley and Rowe, and he has great speed and stickhandling ability. Finally, can the Spartans stay out of the penalty box late in games? They did well with that last night, but the last few games before that they have taken some costly ones. With these three things in mind, we'll see how Michigan State plays tonight against UNO, next weekend versus Michigan, and then the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame the following week.


Grant: CCHA Rookie of the Month

The Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced today that forward Derek Grant of Michigan State has been named the CCHA Rookie of the Month for October... Full Release

Derek Grant has been a significant contributor to the Spartans all season. Coach Comley was saying very good things about him before the season, and he has exceeded expectations in my opinion. Michigan State needed a freshman to come right in and score, which is exactly what Grant has done thus far. Grant is on one of the top lines in the country with Tropp and Sucharski. He will be counted on as the season progresses not only to score, but add a physical presence to the game. He should be in the running for the top freshman in the conference. I see nothing but good things in his future this season and in his hockey career. Congratulations to Derek Grant on winning CCHA rookie of the month.

Scouting the Mavericks

Michigan State will host Nebraska-Omaha in a Thursday-Friday set this weekend. The Mavericks are coming off of a disputed shoot-out loss to Bowling Green and a 3-1 victory over the Falcons. UNO has a record of 4-1-1 on the season. On October 10th, they beat a very good UMass Lowell team at home 4-3. The Mavs are led by senior defenseman Eddie DelGrosso,who was named the CCHA's Defensemen of the week for his play against BGSU. Rich Purslow leads the team in goals (5) and points (8). John Faulkner is the starting goaltender and he has compiled a record of 3-1-1. Currently, the Mavs sit at #10 in the USCHO rankings. Michigan State has another tough conference test upcoming in Nebraska-Omaha.

USCHO Rankings

Michigan State moved up three places to #17 in the USCHO rankings. Their opponent this weekend, Nebraska-Omaha moved up to #10. Other CCHA teams are Miami (#1), Michigan (#4), Notre Dame (#9), and Alaska (#13).

Complete Rankings


Michigan State 5 Western Michigan 3

On a Halloween night, Western Michigan was looking for treats at Lawson Arena, but Michigan State only gave them tricks with a 5-3 victory (Thanks to Coach Woodward for the opening to my post). Dean Chelios and Anthony Hayes both had their first collegiate goals in the game. Michigan State looked stronger throughout the game than they had the previous night in East Lansing. It was another close game though and the Spartans had to kill a penalty for the last four minutes of the game after Krug was whistled for checking from behind and Walrod was already in the box for boarding. The Broncos scored one goal to make it 4-3, but Gazley sealed the win with an empty-netter.

The Spartans needed to play better on the road and they did just that. The sweep of Western Michigan puts them into a tie for first place with Miami in the CCHA. Michigan State battled hard all game and were rewarded for their efforts. They received some offensive contributions from two fourth liners and Bobby Jarosz was able to get another win. Coach Comley will continue to hammer out the point that we can't take penalties late in games. I thought Krug's was a penalty, but should not have been a 5 and game. The young Spartans are still learning and I expect to see the team make progress throughout the season. We have Nebraska-Omaha coming to town this week and then a home and home with Michigan the following week. Check back later in the week for a quick scouting report on UNO.
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Michigan State 2 Western Michigan 1

In this game, a tenth of a second made all the difference in a 2-1 Michigan State victory over Western Michigan. The Broncos' goal at the end of the game was disallowed because the time had run out on the clock. The Spartans started off the game well and put pressure on WMU goaltender, Riley Gill. Chris Forfar scored a nice goal off a Jeff Petry pass in the first and Dustin Gazley netted a power play goal in the second. In my opinion, Michigan State played the worst third period that they have all season. With around five minutes to play, the Broncos scored a power play goal and were within a second of tying the game at the end. Palmisano made some great saves in the third period to come away with the win for the Spartans.

It was a win and three points for Michigan State, but it sure wasn't the kind of hockey that the Spartans have been playing. They couldn't seem to sustain momentum after getting the two-goal lead in the second period. It hurt that Matt Grassi received a five minute penalty and a game misconduct, which brought them down to five defensemen. MSU was luckily to escape with a win in regulation. They need to avoid the penalties late in the game, which have been costly as of late. On a positive note, the Spartans have won some close games and beat a previously undefeated team in Western Michigan.
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