Thursday, December 04, 2008

10 Things to Know About Michigan State

A reminder: TV tomorrow is on FSN Plus but if you want to catch it on a dish or at a sports bar, check out Fox Sports Arizona or Fox Sports Rocky Mountain (1 hour tape delay). Saturday is on Comcast 900 or the NHL Network if you're in Canada. It'll be re-aired Sunday afternoon on the NHLN. Or you could buy tickets since there are still lots available for a game at Munn. I looked earlier and could still get 10 together.

1) MSU is 10th place in the CCHA with an overall record of 4-9-3 and a conference record of 2-6-2-2. They haven't won a game since Halloween night when they beat WMU 3-1. Since then they lost seven in a row, bookended by two ties. Before exploding for four goals in a 4-4 tie against Minnesota, the Spartans had scored 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 goal in their last seven games. It's like they're starting Billy Sauer in net every night. They've scored more than 2 goals just three times this season. Wins: U-Mass, Mass-Lowell, NMU, WMU.

2) The other problem? They aren't keeping the puck out of their net. They haven't given up fewer than 3 goals in a game since November 1, a span of 8 games in which they've given up 31 goals.

3) For the season they've got 25 goals in 16 games and they've got 14 goals in 8 games of CCHA play. Only Michigan Tech (get your GLI tickets now!) and RPI have worse offenses. Defensively they're 27th at 2.69 goals per game.

4) Tim Crowder (he's still there?!) leads the team in points with 10. Daultan Leveille and Matt Schepke lead the team in goals with 5 apiece.

5) Jeff Lerg actually has pretty good numbers for a guy who has been getting shelled lately. He's got a 2.57/.920 for the year, but has just a 3-8-1 record. So much for that Hobey campaign. Tear. Freshman Drew Palmisano (who is from Ann Arbor) has a 1-1-2 record with a 2.40/.915. He played 3 games in November and got the start against the Gophers after Wisconsin presumably wore Lerg out, outshooting MSU 53-12.

6) For as bad as they are, they aren't taking a ton of penalties. They're just 38th in the country at 14.9 minutes per. The power play is just 10.5%, but they have scored 8 of their 25 goals with the man advantage. A couple guys have two, but no one is going crazy with the man advantage for them. The PK is surprisingly good, 88.6%, but no shorties for.

7) For the record, MSU hasn't finished sub-.500 since 1990-91. Michigan leads the all-time series 128-118-18 (MSU has it at 132-119-18), though it seems like all of those ties must have come in the past 5 years. Actually seven have come in the last 20 games.

8) MSU has played their opponents even in the first period with 7 goals for and 7 allowed. The rest of the game though? Avert your eyes. They have a 14-8 defecit in the second period and a 22-10 defecit in the third.

9) Michigan will be down their leading point-man against MSU. Mark Mitera leads the team with 8 career points vs. Sparty. Chris Summers is next with 3-3--6 in 10 games. Palushaj has 3 points in 4 games. Hogan has never faced the Spartans, but rumblings have been that he might get both games this weekend. Sauer has a 4-4-5 record with a 2.77/.900. He's been money against them in Ann Arbor, though it appears he's played his last game against Sparty at Yost.

10) The Spartans have been getting smoked on faceoffs this year, winning just 44%. Leveille takes the majority of the draws and he's an abysmal 37.1%. Warda is the only guy who plays that is over 50%. Tim Crowder has been the Wolverine-killer with 7-5--12 in 15 games, with 5 on the power play. Sucharski, who is out for the year, had six points. Jeff Petry has 4 points in 4 games. Jeff Lerg is 6-4-4 with a 2.51/.918 against Michigan.

Two other things:
Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News did a feature story about Luke Moffatt. Moffatt apparently fancies himself as a power forward, which kind of surprised me because I was under the impression he was tiny. He's listed as 6'0" 165, so Jason Ryznar he is not. I guess he really likes Keith Tkachuk though.

I don't care for the uncertainty in this paragraph:

Moffatt’s next destination is still unsettled, but he could be staying right where he is, thanks to a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan, also located in Ann Arbor.

Also, Chris Dilks wrote a very nice piece as a diary entry over at MGoBlog about the fellas who are committed but have yet to put on the Michigan sweater.


Unknown said...

You wouldn't happen to have the sections for the Michigan fans travelling to the game, would you?

Packer487 said...

This might not be overly helpful, but when I was in the Michigan section, we were always on the goalline in the end we defended twice (and center ice was to our left). I want to say we were on the side opposite the penalty boxes and MSU's bench...

Also I'm pretty sure our students ended up in that endzone when we sent a bus out there.

Anonymous said...

Check out Dish Network ch 447 tonight.... its showing up on the channel guide on my dish network

Anonymous said...

Game is on... Dish Network Ch 447.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a MSU team this void of discipline, talent or both.Big, loping team bent on starting crap when things aren't flowing their way.
Lerg was left hung to dry multiple times.

Just hope that Michigan can go up there and get it done, too.