The Wolverines and Spartans face-off in a home-and-home this weekend. Tonight's game is at Yost. Tomorrow they'll play at the Munn Memorial Library. The best part is that *gasp* both games are on TV! Tonight's game airs on FSN Detroit and tomorrow is on the Big Ten Network. Also, the premiere of the Blue Ice documentary airs following the game tonight.
The Spartans got off to a bit of a rough start under first-year head coach Tom Anastos, going 2-4 out of the gate. Since then, they've gone 8-1-1, including a win and a tie against Minnesota and a road sweep of Western Michigan.
The offense has come alive for them. In the past ten games, they've been held below three goals on just one occasion and have only scored fewer than four twice. They've also been really strong on defense, giving up more than two goals just twice (both to Minnesota, neither of which they lost).
It's a good start for The Commish, and I'll eat some crow over that one if they keep it up since I made fun of that hiring an awful lot.
They're led offensively by a pair of sophomores, Lee Reimer (7-13--20) and Greg Wolfe (5-11--16). Mike Merrifield, in 12 games, has exceeded his goal and point totals for the rest of his career combined. He had 6-6--12 in 60 games. This year he has 8-5--13 in 12 games. Captain Torey Krug has also chipped in with 11 points from the blueline.
In net, ANN ARBOR NATIVE Drew Palmisano and Will Yanakeff have split the duties. Palmisano is 4-3-1 in his eight starts with a 2.73/.910. Yanakeff is 6-2-0 with a 2.26/.923. The starts haven't been a direct split. Palmisano played both games against Minnesota while Yanakeff played both games against WMU and NMU.
Yanakeff was 2-0 against Michigan last year (making 37 and 31 saves and giving up 4 goals total). Palmisano gave up 9 on 69 shots last year. Gut feeling, I'd expect to see Yanakeff.
The Spartan power play is just 15.9% (38th), but they're 4th-nationally with an 89.2% success rate on the PK. They've also given up 19 fewer power play chances than Michigan.
The Only Colors has a preview from the FYS side.