Outlook bright for MSU hockey
Spartans returning players at key positions
MSU hockey’s season came to an end in heartbreaking fashion, a game that ultimately summed up the entire 2013-14 season.
MSU fell in overtime to Ohio State, 2-1, of the first round of the inaugural Big Ten Tournament on March 20, ending the season.
MSU finished 11-18-7 and was never able to get over its long scoring droughts to take that step to the next level. But, the future looks bright for MSU as the Spartans enter the head coach Tom Anastos’ fourth year.
MSU will return 21 of 27 players for the 2014-15 season, including some of its leading scorers and top defenders. Here’s an early look by position at what MSU will bring to the ice next season.
-Robert Bondy, The State News
Key Losses: Greg Wolfe, Lee Reimer and Dean Chelios
Key Returns: Michael Ferrantino, Matt Berry and Villiam Haag
Key Additions: Dylan Pavelek of U.S. National Team Development Program in USHL
Overview: Scoring was the biggest issue for MSU this past season, and it’s something Anastos said the team must improve on for next year.
Lucky for him, MSU will return a talented corps of forwards in 2014-15. MSU will lose two-time captain and Mr. Do-it-all Greg Wolfe, but the future looks bright with plenty of underclassmen returning.
With so much returning talent, expect MSU to drastically improve on this year’s 2.2 goals per game average.
Key Losses : Jake Chelios
Key Returns: John Draeger and Travis Walsh
Key Additions: Josh Jacobs of Indiana Ice in USHL
Overview : MSU was sound on the defense this season, ranking in the top ten for fewest goals against during the season.
The one loss MSU will experience on the back end is Jake Chelios. He was third on the team in points with 21, with the next defenseman only producing eight points.
The Spartans will return six defenders who have seen substantial playing time this season.
They also will introduce a high-caliber prospect in Josh Jacobs, who is projected to go in the first few rounds of the 2014 NHL Draft.
If the unit can improve scoring from the blue line, it could be one of the best in the Big Ten.
Key Losses: Will Yanakeff
Key Returns: Jake Hildebrand
Key Additions : Edwin Minney of U.S. National Team Development Program in USHL
Overview: Goaltending easily was MSU’s best feature in 2013-14 and looks to only improve next year.
Jake Hildebrand played in all but four games this season, and averaged only 2.44 goals against per game.
MSU will lose senior Will Yanakeff, but appears to be upgrading with incoming freshman Edwin Minney.
Like Jacobs, Minney is projected to be drafted in the first few rounds of the 2014 NHL Draft. Expect Hildebrand to be the starter for MSU next year, but Minney likely will see some action as well.