Hockey opens Homestand with Air Force series

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In accordance with campus-wide indoor mask mandates, all fans, media, and those working at Michigan State hockey games at the Munn Ice Arena will be required to properly wear a mask.

SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE WEEKEND
• Michigan State opens the 2021-22 campaign with four straight home games, with the first series against the Air Force Academy. Both games at Munn Ice Arena will drop the puck at 7 p.m.

• Both games this weekend will have a live webcast on B1G +, the Big Ten Network’s streaming channel.

• Scott Moore and Rob Woodward will call the action on the Spartan Media Network. The game will be broadcast live on WJIM-FM in the Lansing area as well as on the web via MSUSpartans.com.

• MSU is 6-0 in the series with the Falcons, but five of those meetings took place almost 50 years ago – the teams met five times in the calendar year of December 28, 1972 until December 8, 1973. The teams last met in the 2011 Ice Breaker consolation game in Grand Forks, a Spartan 3-2 overtime victory.

• The Air Force finished 10th in Atlantic hockey a year ago with an overall record of 3-10-1 and a goal differential of 35-56 in those 14 games. Like the Big Ten, Atlantic Hockey played a conference-only roster.

• Head coach Frank Serratore begins his 25th season with the Air Force with a 410-378-93 record at the Academy. He has an overall rating of 459-470-102 in 28 seasons as a college head coach.

• The Air Force played a demonstration Saturday against Colorado College to claim a 2-1 victory. Senior goaltender Alex Schilling made 29 saves in the win, while Parker Brown and Jacob Marti scored both goals for the Falcons. Air Force blocked 23 shots in the contest.

TEAM NOTES
• Michigan State just broke a 7-18-2 record in the shortened Covid-19 season in which the Spartans only played a Big Ten schedule (plus the State of the ‘Arizona). MSU was seventh in the Big Ten.

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

• The State of Michigan returns 19 letter recipients for the 2021-22 campaign and welcomes seven new players. Of the newcomers, four come with previous college hockey experience, and there are three real freshmen.

• Of the 15 MSU forwards on the roster, nine go to the 2020-21 Greens and Whites. With the strengthening of some transfers, MSU’s forward corps has a total of 678 college hockey games to its name. Seven defenders are back with 346 games played (all at MSU), and the three goalkeepers have a total of 52 games played.

• The four newcomers from MSU with previous experience (Chris Berger, Jeremy davidson, Griffin loughran, and Erik Middendorf) brings 222 man-matches to the Spartan roster and a combined score line of 54-62-116. All have at least two remaining qualifying seasons.

• The Spartans were selected sixth in the Big Ten preseason coaches poll. Minnesota leads the coaching poll, followed by Michigan, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Penn State, MSU and Ohio State. Wisconsin are the reigning regular season champions, while Minnesota won the 2020-21 tournament title.

• In 2020-21, Michigan State was one of the nation’s top teams in the faceoff circle, placing seventh nationally and second in the Big Ten with a .537 winning percentage.

• The Spartans were 5-9-1 at home in 2020-21 and 7-8-1 the year before before the season ended 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 competitions. MSU was 4-5 in the one-goal business.

• MSU gave up 77 goals a year ago, the third under of any B1G team behind Minnesota (51) and Michigan (64).

PLAYER NOTES
• Only five players appeared in the 27 games a year ago – Mitchell lewandowski, Dennis Cesana, Josh nodler, Kyle Haskins, and graduate 2021 Tommy miller. The top four return to MSU roster this season.

• Three Spartan elders – Lewandowski, Cesana and Drew DeRidder – all received honorable All-Big Ten Preseason honors.

• MSU’s top three scorers from a year ago are all back in line and will serve as captains. Cesana will wear the C, and both Lewandowski and Nodler A.

• Lewandowski, a fifth-year senior, enters the 2021-22 campaign with the sixth-highest career points total among active NCAA skaters at 101. Lewandowski, a three-time All-Big Ten winner, has 49 goals and 52 assists in 135 career games and has never missed a game in his first four college seasons.

• Lewandowski won honorable mention in the preseason All-Big Ten this season. He led the Spartans in goals a year ago (6-7-13), sharing the team in the lead with six.

• Lewandowski is the 17th Spartan since 2000 to achieve at least 100 career points and the 71st overall in MSU history.

• Cesana has been one of the Big Ten’s best defensemen over the past three seasons. The two-time All-Big Ten selection has 58 points (12g, 46a) in 99 career games for the Greens and Whites. Friday’s season opener will be his 100th career competition.

• Cesana finished tied for ninth among Big Ten defensemen a year ago (2-10-12) and earned the All-Big Ten Preseason Honorable Mention this fall.

Drew DeRidder was named the Spartans MVP and won the Most Improved Player award last season. The Fenton native posted an average of 2.76 and a save percentage of .923. DeRidder led the Big Ten in aggregate with 723 saves per game at 30.12.

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

Pierce charleson has made three starts and appeared in seven games for Michigan State in the crease. He compiled an GAA of 2.57 and a save percentage of .938 in those contests, making 210 saves in 326: 49.

Josh nodler contributed three goals and eight assists a year ago for 11 points and is MSU’s top faceoff player, 367-347 (0.514).

• Senior Adam goodsir appeared in 24 games a year ago with a score of 1-3-4. Classmate Mitchell mattson also had four points (2-2-4) in 21 games.

• Mattson, Goodsir, and both Christian and Cole krygier will alternate matches with an A this season. They will serve as the third assistant captain along with Lewandowski and Nodler.

• Junior Nicolas Muller posted a 2-6-8 record last season, his two goals being match winners – the OT scorer in a 3-2 win at Ohio State on November 28, and also in a 2- 1 home win over Arizona State (Feb. 15).

• Second year Kristof Papp played 25 Spartan games a year ago, collecting four assists.

Kyle Haskins is the only Spartan rookie to play in all 27 games in 2020-21 and he led the freshman class with five points (1g, 4a).

• Junior Joshua Jagger and senior Mitchell mattson are the Spartans’ largest corps in the lineup and contributed five and four points last season. Joshua led the attackers in penalty minutes a year ago (15/41).

Griffin loughran is the best performing transfer to join Spartan squad this season. He scored 72 points (35 goals, 37 assists) in three years at Northern Michigan.

Chris Berger played three years at Brown before Covid-19 derailed his last two seasons. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ivy and is pursuing a master’s degree at the State of Michigan. In 65 career games with the Bears, he has 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points.

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

• Middendorf played in the USNTDP before heading to CC, where he played for Danton Cole in 2016-17 for the U-17 team.

• A native of Kalamazoo, Jeremy davidson played for the Fargo Force in 2020-21 after a year of college play at UMass (2019-20). He scored one goal and two assists for the Minutemen.

• Two real freshmen join the Spartans on the forward lines. Tanner kelly is a San Diego native who played in the USHL for the Muskegon Lumberjacks (21-26–47 in 2020-21), while Jesse tucker comes to MSU from the Green Bay Gamblers, where he holds the career record for assists (88).
• Cole and Christian Krygier return with Cesana to give the Spartan defense a definitive veteran presence. Both are left-handed defensemen who collected three points last season. The pair are both approaching career 100 games – Cole has played 87 games, while Christian has recorded 94.

• Three first-year defensemen had a considerable time last season. Nash Nienhuis ranked second behind Cesana in defensive scorers a year ago and has four assists in 25 games. Classmate Aiden Gallacher played 26 games on the blue line and collected two assists, while Powell connor played in 15 contests.

David Gucciardi is the only freshman on the Spartan blue line and he arrives at East Lansing after two seasons with Waterloo (USHL).

• Second year students Calvin Dybicz and Jon Mor seek to expand their roles in 2021-2022. Dybicz appeared in one game a year ago and also took part in last Saturday’s exhibition against the USNTDP, while Mor is looking for his first collegiate action in a talented goaltending corps.


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