Two MSU Hockey players make Big Ten preseason watch lists
MSU Hockey already knows its talent depth, but now two of the team's top returners have garnered some early conference recognition.
The Big Ten Conference recently released its 12 member deep Preseason Players to Watch List, and two Spartans grace this year’s list. Senior goaltender Jake Hildebrand and junior forward Mackenzie MacEachern garnered the honors Monday morning.
Hildebrand has backstopped the Spartans for the past three season and is no stranger to the Preseason Players to Watch List.
The goaltender has appeared on the list the past two seasons making this his third straight Preseason Player to Watch List nomination.
Hildebrand is one of four unanimous selections to this year’s list and the only player on this year’s list to appear for the third time. This only adds to Hildebrand's awards list as he was named Big Ten Player and Goaltender of the Year this past season.
Hildebrand was also one of eight 2015 Academic All-Big Ten honorees on this year’s list.
MacEachern appeared for the first on the Preseason Players to Watch List and with good reason. MacEachern finished second on the team, three points behind since graduated forward Matt Berry, in points with 26 in 35 games.
He has come into his own throughout the past couple of seasons and is poised for a breakout year that should see him lead MSU in points. He was also one of the eight 2015 Academic All-Big Ten players named to this year’s list.
The Big Ten also recently announced its preseason coaches poll. MSU is slated at third behind second place Minnesota and first place Michigan. Rounding out the bottom three in the poll is Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. This past season MSU finished second in the Big Ten during the regular season behind Minnesota, and lost to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament in the conference semifinal game.
MSU is not nationally ranked but amassed 37 votes in the poll.
MSU opens the regular season on Oct. 9 at Maine in the Icebreaker Tournament held in Portland, ME. MSU plays in a home exhibition game on Oct. 4 against Western Ontario at 4:05 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena.