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Lighting the Lamp

Ferrantino named Spartan hockey captain

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 04/21/14 7:52pm         

Junior forward Michael Ferrantino will be the 70th captain in MSU hockey history, according to a release from MSU Athletics.

Head coach Tom Anastos announced the decision to name Ferrantino as two-time captain Greg Wolfe’s replacement on Monday.

“Michael embodies all of the characteristics that we value in a leader,” Anastos said in a statement. “He puts the team and his teammates first, he brings positive energy and a very high compete level to the rink every day, he’s committed academically and he is very active in the community. Most importantly, his teammates have great trust and respect for his commitment to our team and to the program.”

Ferrantino finished the 2013-14 season with nine goals and 11 assists and became one of MSU’s go-to scorers late in the season. His 20 points were the most of any Spartan underclassmen.

He also finished with 14 points in conference games and was second on the team in conference goals with seven.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Ferrantino said in a statement. “I learned a lot from Greg Wolfe last season and we have a great group of guys with a lot of leadership qualities returning next year. To be named captain by my teammates and coaches is truly an honor and something special.”

Hildebrand among finalists for best college goaltender

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 02/28/14 5:26pm         

Sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand was announced as a one of 18 finalists on Friday for the inaugural Mike Richter Award for best goaltender in the country.

The 18 finalists were selected by all 59 NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey coaches, with the winner set to be announced at the 2014 Men’s hockey Frozen Four in Philadelphia, according to a press release from MSU hockey. A committee of coaches, scouts and media members will make the selection for the award.

The award will take performance, as well as academics and community service into consideration.

Hildebrand has been a rock for MSU this season, keeping the low-scoring Spartans in every game. Hildebrand ranks third in save percentage in the Big Ten, and has faced more shots than any other goalie in the conference.

Hildebrand ranks seventh in the country in total saves with 851.

Hildebrand has played in the last 23 games for MSU.

Hildebrand earns Star of the Week honors from Big Ten

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 02/18/14 5:45pm         

Sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand was named to his fourth Big Ten Star of the Week on Tuesday. He won the third star this week.

Hildebrand saved 53 of 56 shots in the two-game road series against Penn State, posting a .946 save percentage. Hildebrand also stopped all seven Penn State skaters in Friday’s shootout victory.

Hildebrand last won Big Ten Star of the Week on Jan. 21. He won the first star on that occasion.

Hildebrand leads all Big Ten goaltenders in save percentage in conference games. He also has held opponents to two goals or less in 11 of the 14 Big Ten games.

Wolfe earns Big Ten honors

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 02/11/14 5:43pm         

MSU hockey senior forward and captain Greg Wolfe was recognized on Tuesday for his stellar play against Ohio State this past weekend, earning Big Ten Third Star of the Week.

Wolfe had a hand in all four Spartan goals in the two-game series against Ohio State, scoring three goals and notching one assist. Wolfe recorded his second two-goal game of the season, scoring two power play goals on Saturday.

Wolfe now leads the team in points in Big Ten games with four goals and six assists.

The award was the first of such kind for Wolfe, and fifth time a Spartan won any of the Big Ten three stars. Sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand has won the award three times and linemate and senior forward Lee Reimer has won the award once.

Penn State gets first conference win, Minnesota suffers first Big Ten loss

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 02/10/14 7:20pm         

Big Ten hockey saw history this past weekend, with Penn State recording its first conference win in program history and Minnesota losing its first.

Penn State (5-18-1 overall, 1-9-0 Big Ten) knocked off No. 10 Michigan (14-7-3, 6-3-1-1) on Saturday night, 4-0, to earn its first conference win in program history. The night before, U-M won 7-3, scoring three unanswered goals after Penn State tied the game at 2-2 in the second period.

Friday’s game was the first ever meeting between these two teams on the ice. Penn State will travel to Ann Arbor in a couple weeks for the second two-game series.

The Big Ten also saw another first on Friday night, with mighty No. 2 Minnesota (19-4-5, 8-2-2) finally losing in conference play, dropping both games over the weekend against archrival No. 8 Wisconsin (16-8-2, 7-4-1). Bucky Badger was able to hold its own on its home ice, winning both games 2-1.

With the two wins over Minnesota, Wisconsin is only four points back from first place in the conference standings.

Wisconsin and Minnesota split the season series, each winning both games on their home ice.

MSU (8-13-6, 2-5-5-3) and Ohio State (14-9-3, 4-5-3-2) also battled to a couple close fought games over the weekend. Both games ended in shootout victories for Ohio State. The Buckeyes used two goals within the final 1:34 on Friday night to send the game to overtime and another late third period goal on Saturday to tie it up.

Ohio State came away with four points in the weekend and MSU with two.

Wisconsin jumping ahead of U-M is the only change in the standings from last week to now. Click here for the full standings.

Wisconsin moved up four spots back into the top ten this week to give the Big Ten three top ten teams. Minnesota also dropped from the top spot for the first time since Dec. 9 rankings. U-M didn’t move from last week’s ranking.

More conference two-game series are on tab for this week. U-M will head to Minnesota, Wisconsin to Ohio State and MSU to Penn State. All the games are on Friday and Saturday.

MSU road trip, series with Wisconsin and U-M lead league action

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 02/03/14 5:34pm         

Big Ten hockey was in full swing this weekend, with three sets of conference series taking place.

MSU (8-13-4 overall, 2-5-3-3 Big Ten) traveled to No. 1 Minnesota (19-2-5, 8-0-2), with the Golden Gophers getting the best of the green and white. MSU earned two points in the standings on Friday night, battling to 2-2 tie with a shootout victory. This was the second time of the season MSU beat Minnesota in a shootout. Minnesota regained its dominance in the league the following night with a 1-0 shutout victory over MSU.

The two teams have completed their season series, with Minnesota winning two of the games and the other two going down as ties with MSU winning both shootouts.

No. 12 Wisconsin (14-8-2, 5-4-1) and No. 10 Michigan (13-6-3, 5-2-1-1) also wrapped up their season series, with two games in Ann Arbor on Friday and Saturday. Michigan took all but one point in the series, winning 3-1 on Friday and notched two points in a 2-2 tie with a shootout victory on Saturday.

With the five-point weekend, Michigan climbed from fourth place just two weeks ago to second in the Big Ten. However, they still trail Minnesota by nine points in league play.

Despite struggling this weekend, Wisconsin finished with the better record in the season series against Michigan. Wisconsin finished with a 2-1-1 record against the Wolverines on the season.

Ohio State (14-9-1, 4-5-1) and Penn State (4-17-1, 0-8-0) met for the first time of the season with the Buckeyes dominating the last place Nittany Lions in both games. Ohio State won, 5-1, on Friday and, 5-2, on Saturday at home.

Penn State still has yet to earn a single point in conference play.

For the complete Big Ten standings, click here.

Minnesota remained at the top of this week’s rankings. Michigan moved up two spots back into the top 10 and Wisconsin dropped three spots. Ohio State again received votes but remains non-ranked.

All the Big Ten teams will be back in action again this week. MSU welcomes Ohio State to Munn Ice Arena for the third and fourth games of the season series. Minnesota travels to Wisconsin to complete their rivalry season series. And Michigan travels to Penn State for the first two games between the two conference foes on the season.

Outdoor hockey, MSU shutout highlight conference play this past weekend

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 01/21/14 6:42pm         

Big Ten hockey saw some history over the weekend, including the leagues first two shutouts and an outdoors classic.

MSU (8-10-3 overall, 2-2-2-2 Big Ten) swept Penn State (4-14-1, 0-6-0) this past weekend, winning 3-0 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday.

Sophomore goaltender Jake Hildebrand recorded the first shutout in Big Ten history on Friday night. He also recorded a career-best 48 saves that night. His play earned him Big Ten First Star of the Week.

No. 1 Minnesota (17-2-3, 7-0-1) remained unbeaten in conference play, also sweeping conference foe Ohio State (11-8-1, 1-4-1). Minnesota won, 1-0, on Friday night in the Hockey City Classic taking place outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Golden Gophers football team. Minnesota would return to its home rink the following night and beat the Buckeyes, 4-2.

It would only take a few hours for Hildebrand to have company in the Big Ten shutout club, with Golden Gopher sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox also recording a shutout on Friday night.

Both No. 9 Wisconsin (13-6-1, 4-2-0) and No. 14 Michigan (10-6-2, 2-2-0) were idle this week.

With the MSU picking up six points in Big Ten play, the Spartans have moved up to third place in the latest standings. Minnesota also earned six points, increasing its tight grip on the conference with a 10 point lead over second place Wisconsin.

Click here to see the complete Big Ten standings.

There wasn’t much movement for Big Ten teams in the national rankings this week. Minnesota remained the top dog in the nation, receiving all 50 first place votes. Wisconsin didn’t move from last week’s No. 9 ranking and U-M dropped one spot.

This week’s conference play begins a day early with MSU and U-M renewing their rivalry on Thursday night in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena. The two teams will also play on Friday at Munn Ice Arena. Friday’s game begins at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s at 6:30 p.m.

Last time these two teams met MSU won, 3-0, in the Great Lakes Invitational consolation game on Dec. 28.

Ohio State travels to Wisconsin for a two-game series on Friday and Saturday. This will be the first time these two teams have met this season.

Minnesota will compete for state bragging rights this weekend in a non-conference tournament featuring all-Minnesota teams. The Golden Gophers will play No. 5 St. Cloud State (12-4-4, 7-3-2 NCHC) on Friday night and depending on results the winner or loser of Minnesota State (14-10-0, 12-6-0 WCHA) and Minnesota-Duluth (9-9-2, 5-6-1 NCHC) on Saturday. All games will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Penn State also will play a non-conference match-up this weekend. The Nittany Lions will host No. 2 Boston College (16-4-3, 10-1-1). This is the second time these two teams have met this year, with Boston College winning the most recent game, 8-2.

All six Big Ten teams back in action this past weekend

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 01/14/14 6:10pm         

Big Ten play resumed this past Friday with all six Big Ten teams matching-up in two-game conference series.

MSU (6-10-3, 0-2-2-2 Big Ten) and Ohio State (11-6-1, 1-2-1 Big Ten) faced off in Columbus over the weekend, with Ohio State winning on Friday, 5-3, and the two teams tying on Saturday, 2-2, with a shootout win for MSU. Buckeye junior forward Ryan Dzingel had a stellar weekend, scoring a hat-trick on Friday. Spartan junior forward Matt Berry also had a strong weekend finishing with three goals and one assist in the two games.

Ohio State earned four points in the two game series and MSU earned two due to the shootout win for the additional point.

Across the same weekend, No. 9 Wisconsin (13-6-1, 4-2-0 Big Ten) made quick work of No. 13 Michigan (10-6-2, 2-2-0), sweeping the Wolverines. Wisconsin beat U-M, 5-3, on Friday and, 3-1, on Saturday. Both games were played at Wisconsin.

With two more losses, U-M hasn’t won a game since Dec. 2.

No. 1 Minnesota (15-2-3, 5-0-1 Big Ten) took its show on the road to Penn State (4-12-1, 0-4-0 Big Ten) for a unique Sunday-Monday night series. The top vs. the bottom of the conference went as planned with Minnesota winning both games, 3-2 on Sunday and 5-2 on Monday.

To see the Big Ten standings, click here.

U-M continued to drop in the rankings after another a couple more losses, dropping five more spots. Minnesota remained as the top team in the country for another week and Wisconsin moved up five spots into the top 10. Ohio State remains unranked but is just outside the top 20, with the second most received votes out of the non-ranked.

This week Big Ten play will continue with Penn State traveling to MSU and Ohio State to Minnesota. Both Wisconsin and Michigan have the weekend off and will return to action the following week.

New episode of hockey's 'Spartan All Access' released

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 01/09/14 6:13pm         

Spartan All-Access released its second episode of the season on Wednesday, with the crew going behind the scenes of the 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational and a personal feature on Equipment Manager Tom Magee.

The episode follows the team before the historic Great Lakes Invitational that took place outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit, with players and head coach Tom Anastos talking about childhood memories associated with outdoor hockey. It also gives highlights of both games of the tournament.

The episode also went into detail of the daily routine of Magee, with him talking about his love for the job.

To watch the episode, click here.

Surgery ends Bondra's season

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 01/07/14 6:25pm         

Head coach Tom Anastos announced Tuesday that sophomore forward David Bondra will be shut down for the season after receiving shoulder surgery during the winter break. Bondra was suffering from a torn labrum.

“David Bondra had surgery during the break on his shoulder so he’s out for the remainder of the season,” Anastos said. “I believe he had a labrum tear, like he had on the other shoulder so he’s out of shoulders, so hopefully this is the last repair of this sort that he’ll need. But he was going to try to slug it out and play, but there was no question that the damage that was already done that he’d experience it again and again, so it just seemed it was the appropriate time for him.”

Anastos also said the decision to get the surgery was up to Bondra. He will be able to apply for a medical redshirt.

Bondra played in five games this year and recorded his first goal as a Spartan on Nov. 9 against Michigan Tech. The goal against the Huskies was his only point on the season.

Bondra played in 35 games last season as a freshman, finishing with three assists.