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Spartans host Miami in renewed rivalry

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In accordance with campus-wide indoor mask mandates, all fans, media, and individuals working at Michigan State hockey games at Munn Ice Arena must properly wear masks.

WEEKEND DETAILS

Michigan State closes a four game homestand with a series against Miami (Ohio) at the Munn Ice Arena.

Both games will have a live web stream this weekend on B1G+, the streaming channel of the Big Ten Network.

Scott Moore and Rob Woodward call the action on the Spartan Media Network. The game will be broadcast live on both WJIM 1240 AM in the Lansing area and on the web via MSUSpartans.com.

MSU and Miami are reviving a rivalry from when both teams were members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). This will be the teams’ first meeting since 2013, the last season of the former conference. MSU leads the all-time series by a 69-34-6 margin, including a 36-18-3 mark in games played in East Lansing.

head coach Chris Bergeron is entering his third season at his alma mater. Bergeron was an assistant coach for the RedHawks for 10 seasons before serving as head coach at Bowling Green (2010-19) for nine years. He is 14-40-7 in his first two seasons back at Oxford and 185-194-51 overall in his head coach career.

Miami split a series at Ferris State last weekend, winning the opening game 7-4 before dropping a 4-3 OT decision on Saturday. Miami’s 10 goals came from nine different players.

TEAM COMMENTS
Splitting their opening weekend against the Air Force Academy, the Spartans dropped the first in an OT heartthrob (3-2) before bouncing back on Saturday with a 5-1 win.

MSU has taken over last year’s dominance in the faceoff circle. MSU won 72 of 118 draws in its first two games (.610), finishing third in the Big Ten and third nationally.

The Spartan powerplay came to the fore in the opening weekend with three extra man goals in seven chances (.429). The Spartans are third in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in conversion rate.

Michigan State is coming off a 7-18-2 record in the 2020-21 Covid-19 shortened season, in which the Spartans only played a Big Ten (plus Arizona State) schedule. MSU finished seventh in the Big Ten.

MSU averaged 16.5 penalty minutes per game in its first tier of the year, which is third in the Big Ten and 10th nationally.

MSU scored five goals in Saturday’s game, a total it reached only once in 2020-21 (a 5-1 home win over Penn State)

After playing just four non-conference games in 2020-21 (all against ASU), the Spartans have 10 scheduled for the upcoming season. MSU will play two-game sets at home against Air Force and Miami, on the road at UMass-Lowell, a home-and-home with Ferris State, and will host the two Great Lakes Invitational games against Western Michigan and Michigan Tech.

Michigan State returns 19 letter winners for the 2021-22 campaign and welcomes seven new players. Of the newcomers, four come in with previous college hockey experience, and three are actual freshmen.

Of the 15 attackers from MSU on the roster, they will return to Green & White from 2020-21. With the support of some transfers, MSU’s forward corps has a combined 678 college hockey games under its belt. Seven defenders return with 346 games played (all at MSU), and the three goalkeepers have a total of 52 games played.

MSU’s four newcomers with previous experience (Chris Berger, Jeremy Davidson, Griffin Loughran, and Erik Middendorf) bring 222 man games to the Spartan lineup, and a combined score of 54-62-116. All have at least two seasons remaining to qualify.

The Spartans were selected sixth in the Big Ten preseason coach’s poll. Minnesota topped the coaches poll, followed by Michigan, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Penn State, MSU and Ohio State. Wisconsin is the regular season defending champion, while Minnesota captured the 2020-21 tournament title.

In 2020-21, Michigan State was one of the top teams in the country in the faceoff circle, seventh nationally and second in the Big Ten with a win rate of .537.

The Spartans were 5-9-1 at home in 2020-21 and 7-8-1 the year before, the season was halted due to Covid-19. MSU has 20 home dates on its schedule at Munn Ice Arena.

Eighteen of MSU’s 27 games a year ago were decided by two goals or less, with MSU going 6-12 in those games. MSU was 4-5 in business with one goal.

MSU conceded 77 goals a year ago, the third lowest of all B1G teams behind Minnesota (51) and Michigan (64).

PLAYER COMMENTS – FORWARD

Just five players appeared in all 27 games a year ago – Mitchell Lewandowski, Dennis Cesana, Josh Nodler, Kyle Haskins, and graduated in 2021 Tommy Miller. The top four will return to MSU’s lineup this season.

Three Spartan seniors Lewandowski, Cesana and Drew DeRidder all garnered All-Big Ten Preseason honorable mentions.

MSU’s top three scorers from a year ago all return to the roster and will serve as captains. Cesana will wear the C, and both Lewandowski and Nodler A’s.

Lewandowski led MSU last weekend with three goals and an assist. His goal on Friday was the 50th in his career and he had a couple of goals and an assist in Saturday’s win. His 1.50 goals per game is tied for first nationally, and his 2.0 ppg ranks eighth among Division I players.

Lewandowski has the sixth highest career point total among active NCAA skaters with 105. He also ranks fifth in power play goals (18) and tied for first place in game winners (10). Lewandowski has never missed a game in his four plus collegiate seasons.

Lewandowski earned the Honorable Mention Preseason All-Big Ten honors this season. He led the Spartans in scoring a year ago (6-713), splitting the team by six goals. He already has three scores this season.

Griffin Loughran made a splash in his first series in Green and White. He took an assist on the first MSU goal of the season, then added two scores of his own less than two minutes into the first period in Saturday’s game.
Loughran’s two power play bouts put him in joint third place in the national standings in that category.

Loughran is the highest-scoring transfer to join the Spartan line-up this season. He scored 72 points (35 goals, 37 assists) in three years at Northern Michigan.

With both Lewandowski and Loughran scoring twice on Saturday, it was the first game since December 1, 2013 that MSU had two goalscorers in one game. Both Villiam Haag and Greg Wolfe scored twice in that game in an 8-2 win over Princeton.

Josh Nodler scored the opening goal of the 2021-22 series for MSU, with the lamp lit at 6:24 a.m. of the first period on Friday. He added a few assists on Saturday to give him a three-point weekend. Nodler was also 23-35 on faceoffs (.657), which ranks seventh nationally, and his 23 faceoff wins rank fifth in the Big Ten.

Jeremy Davidson made an assist in every game last weekend. Born in Kalamazoo, Davidson played for the Fargo Force in 2020-21 after playing collegiately with UMass (2019-20) for a year. He had a goal and two assists for the Minutemen.

sophomore Kristof Pappa had an assist, a few blocked shots and won 74.1% of his face-offs (20-27) last weekend. His faceoff percentage ranks fourth nationally.

Erik Middendorf scored his first run as a Spartan in Saturday’s win and was third among Spartans in shots at the net over the weekend.

Middendorf played two seasons with Colorado College before returning to junior hockey for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, where he won a Clark Cup with the Chicago Steel (USHL). He comes to MSU with seven goals and 13 points in 47 games at CC.

Middendorf played in the USNTDP before moving to CC where he played Danton Cole in 2016-17 for the U-17 team.
Junior Nicolas Muller registered his first point of the season in the second game against Air Force.

freshman Jesse Tucker put his first collegiate point on the power play on Saturday. He comes to MSU from the Green Bay Gamblers, where he holds the career assist record (88).

Freshman Winger Tanner Kelly also made his collegiate debut in the Air Force series. He is from San Diego and played in the USHL for the Muskegon Lumberjacks (21-26–47 in 2020-21).

Senior Adam Goodsir was the team’s third deputy captain last weekend. He was awarded three penalties (17 minutes) over the two games.

PLAYER COMMENTS – DEFENDERS

Cesana skated in his 100th career game in Friday’s season opener against Air Force, scoring a high on Saturday to open his season scoring. He led the team with a +3 over the weekend.

Cesana has been one of the Big Ten’s top-producing defenders for the past three seasons. The two-time All-Big Ten roster has 59 points (13g, 46a) in 101 career games for Green and White. He earned the preseason Honorable Mention All-Big Ten this fall.

Nash Nienhuis had his second career multi-point game with a pair of assists in the second game against Air Force. His first came against the state of Arizona last February 14.

Christian Krygier had his first point of the season with an assist on Saturday and shared the team lead with three penalties last weekend. He added two blocked shots. Twin brother Cole also played in both games, taking one penalty and a few blocks. The pair are both approaching 100 games – Cole has played 89 games, while Christian has logged 96.

Powell Connor skated in both games last weekend and had a combined five blocked shots to lead all Spartans.

David Gucciardi is the only freshman on the Spartan Blue Line and he is coming to East Lansing after two seasons at Waterloo (USHL).

Aiden Gallacher played in Saturday’s game when the Spartans clothed seven defenders. He had one blocked shot.

PLAYER COMMENTS – GOALKEEPERS

MSU divided its weekend between senior Drew DeRidder and sophomore Pierce Charleson. DeRidder made 36 saves in his season debut on Friday in the OT loss, while Charleson retired 28 pucks on Saturday.

DeRidder was named MVP of the Spartans last season and winner of the most improved player award. The resident of Fenton recorded a mark-up percentage of 2.76 GAA and a mark-up percentage of 0.923. DeRidder led the Big Ten in total with 723 saves and saves per game at 30.12.

DeRidder started 24 of 27 games a year ago, posting a pair of shutouts and a 7-15-2 record. He was named as a junior on the Mike Richter Award Watch List.

Charleson made three starts and last season played in seven games for Michigan State in the range. He put together a 2.57 GAA and a 0.938 serve in those games, making 210 saves in 326:49.

Sources

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