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Sunday, December 21, 2014


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Outlook bright for MSU hockey


Spartans returning players at key positions




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Sophomore forward Michael Ferrantino fights for the puck against Wisconsin forward Nic Kerdiles on March 15, 2014, at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans were defeated by the Badgers, 4-3. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



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

Forwards

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. 

Michael Ferrantino and Matt Berry proved to be scoring threats toward the end of the season, and MSU has four skilled freshmen that saw plenty of ice time. 

With so much returning talent, expect MSU to drastically improve on this year’s 2.2 goals per game average.

Defensemen

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.

Goaltending

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.


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