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Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | Last updated: 11:46am

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Lighting the Lamp

Big Ten teams getting back in swing of conference play

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 01/06/14 5:22pm         

No. 1 Minnesota (13-2-3, 3-0-1) and No. 14 Wisconsin (11-6-1, 2-2-0 B1G) were the lone Big Ten teams to take the ice this weekend, both playing in non-conference games.

Minnesota hosted the Maruicci Classic, tying Colgate (8-9-3, 5-3-1 ECAC) 2-2, with a shootout loss, and beat Rensselaer (8-8-4, 3-3-3 ECAC) 6-2. With the shootout loss counting officially as a tie, the Golden Gophers haven’t lost since Nov. 24.

Wisconsin finished up its non-conference schedule, splitting a weekend series against Alaska-Anchorage (9-9-2, 5-7-2 WCHA). The Badgers fell on Friday 3-2, but came back the next night to win, 4-3.

MSU (6-9-2, 0-1-1-1 B1G) along with Penn State (4-10-1, 0-2-0 B1G), Ohio State (10-6-0, 0-2-0 B1G) and No. 8 Michigan (10-4-2, 2-0-0 B1G) all had the weekend off but will return to the ice this week in Big Ten play.

Minnesota remained No. 1 for the third straight week, receiving 42 of the 50 first place votes. Both U-M and Wisconsin dropped one spot to No. 8 and No. 14. Ohio State again received votes but is still outside the top 20.

Big Ten play resumes this weekend with all six teams matching up in conference games. MSU travels to Ohio State on Friday and Saturday, U-M heads to Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday, and Penn State hosts the top ranked Golden Gophers on Sunday and next Monday.

Heading into this weekend’s Big Ten play, Minnesota sits at the top of conference with 10 points, with Wisconsin and U-M right behind the Gophers with six points. MSU has two points and is in fourth place. To see the full standings click here.

This week will be the beginning of the Big Ten Network’s new program “Frozen Fridays,” which will feature hockey doubleheaders for eight consecutive weeks. MSU-Ohio State and U-M-Wisconsin are this week’s games, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

All but one Big Ten team sees hockey action this past week

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/31/13 1:06am         

Big Ten hockey was in full swing this past week, with all but one team taking to the ice in non-conference matchups and some teams having better luck than others.

MSU (6-9-2, 0-1-1-1 B1G) was one of the Big Ten teams that experienced success over the weekend, playing to a hard-fought shootout loss, officially ruled a 2-2 tie, against Michigan Tech (6-10-6, 4-4-4 WCHA) on Friday and a 3-0 shutout victory against archrival then-No. 3 Michigan (10-4-2, 2-0-0 B1G) on Saturday. Both games were part of the 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park in Detroit.

While Saturday’s matchup was between MSU and U-M, the game did not count toward Big Ten standings.

U-M ended up losing both games during the weekend holiday tournament, dropping its Friday matchup to Western Michigan (9-8-3, 3-5-0 NCHC) 3-2 in overtime. This was the first time all year that the Wolverines dropped back-to-back games. Including an exhibition game, UM is 0-3-1 in its last four games.

Penn State (4-10-1, 0-2-0 B1G) also participated in a holiday tournament this past week in the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Nittany Lions topped Robert Morris (2-12-2, 2-5-2 AHA) 3-2 in the semifinals on Friday but was smacked around in the championship game, losing 8-2 against No. 6 Boston College (12-4-2, 6-1-1 HE) on Saturday.

The win on Friday was the second time this year Penn State beat Robert Morris.

Ohio State (10-6-0, 0-2-0 B1G) and No. 13 Wisconsin (10-5-1, 2-2-0 B1G) both collected non-conference series sweeps this past week. The Buckeyes beat Mercyhurst (9-9-2, 7-1-1 AHA) on Saturday 6-3 and on Sunday 7-2, with both games being played in Columbus. Wisconsin beat Alabama-Huntsville (1-19-0, 1-11-0 WCHA) on Friday 5-0 and on Saturday 3-2.

No. 1 Minnesota (12-2-2, 3-0-1 B1G) was the only Big Ten team not to play this past week.

Not much change occurred in the rankings for Big Ten squads, with Minnesota keeping its top spot for another week, Wisconsin moving up one spot to No. 13 and UM dropping from No. 3 to No. 7.

Minnesota and Wisconsin are the only two Big Ten teams to lace up the skates this week. The Golden Gophers are hosting the Maruicci Classic, and will face Colegate (7-9-2, 5-3-1 ECAC) in the first round on Friday. Depending on the results from the first round games, Minnesota will face either No. 2 Ferris State (14-2-3, 10-0-2 WCHA) or Rensselaer (8-6-4, 3-3-3 ECAC) on Saturday.

Wisconsin will be hosting its final non-conference series against Alaska-Anchorage (8-8-2, 5-7-2 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday.

In live chat, Hollis talks plans for future of Munn Ice Arena

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/30/13 4:48pm         

MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis held a live chat with the Detroit Free Press on Monday, fielding questions from across the board including future renovations to Munn Ice Arena, the home of MSU hockey.

When asked if there would be any chance of a new hockey arena in the near future, Hollis responded with the current future plans for the renovation of the fairly new facility.

“Plans are moving forward with a dramatic renovation to Munn Ice Arena creating a front door to the venue along with amenities for student-athletes and spectators,” Hollis said in the live chat.

Munn Ice Arena was built in 1974 and has 6,470 seats. The venue has seen improvements since its opening, with luxury boxes, club seating and a press box beind added before the 1999-2000 season. The arena was also issued new energy saving lights before this season.

The Board of Trustees authorized the university to move forward with renovations during a June meeting. The upgrades consist of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with also a replacement of the arena;s ice making system. These renovations are scheduled to be complete by the 2014-15 academic year.

Hollis also told The State News this past fall that Munn Ice Arena renovations was one of the few projects that are on the horizon.

MSU hockey is 5-4-1 at home this year.

MSU to wear throwback jerseys in Great Lakes Invitational

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/26/13 9:50pm         

If the 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational, or GLI, at Comerica Park in Detroit wasn’t already intriguing enough, MSU (5-9-1, 0-1-1-1 B1G) will be sporting throwback uniforms throughout the holiday tourney honoring the 1966 National Championship team.

Click here to see a promotional video of the 1966 throwback jerseys MSU will be wearing for the two games.

Head coach Tom Anastos said the team also has a similar green jersey they could wear depending on whether MSU is home or away in the tournament.

MSU will be taking on Michigan Tech (6-9-5, 4-4-4 WCHA) in the first round at 3:30 p.m. on Friday with No. 3 Michigan (10-2-2, 2-0-0 B1G) playing Western Michigan (7-8-3, 3-5 NCHC) at 7:00 p.m. MSU will be play the winner or loser of the UM-WMU game the following day in the consolation game at 3:30 p.m. or championship game at 7:00 p.m.

All of the games will be played outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival in partnership with the NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day.

“We wanted to honor that group as another way to connect with the past and this is what they wore when they won the National Championship in 1966,” head coach Tom Anastos said. “I’m not sure what the other schools are doing at the GLI, but we thought it was appropriate to honor that ’66 team.”

Anastos added that the team will wear the throwback jerseys for another game this year, when MSU plays No. 3 Michigan (10-2-2, 2-0-0 B1G) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Jan. 23, with the Wolverines also sporting throwback uniforms.

Big Ten teams ready to get back into action with post-holiday tourneys

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/23/13 6:27pm         

After a week where no Big Ten teams laced up the skates, all but one will return to the ice this week with non-conference holiday weekend tournaments taking place throughout the league.

MSU (5-9-1, 0-1-1-1 B1G) will return to practice on Christmas in preparation for the 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational taking place outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit. This year’s event features an all-Michigan blend, with MSU taking on familiar foe Michigan Tech (6-9-5, 4-4-4 WCHA) and No. 3 Michigan (10-2-2, 2-0-0 B1G) against Western Michigan (7-8-3, 3-5 NCHC) in the 1st round on Dec. 27.

The following day will consist of the championship and consolation games between the winners and losers of the day one games.

MSU already has faced off with both Michigan Tech and WMU earlier this year, with both in-state rivals sweeping the Spartans.

Penn State (3-9-1, 0-2-0 B1G) also will compete in a holiday tournament in the upcoming week. The Nittany Lions, Robert Morris (2-10-2, 2-5-2 AHA), No. 7 Boston College (10-4-2, 6-1-1 HE) and Bowling Green State University (8-8-4, 6-6-2 WCHA) participating in the Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Penn State will take on Robert Morris on Dec. 27 in the 1st round with an additional game the next day in either the championship or consolation game.

Penn State beat Robert Morris earlier in the season.

Both No. 14 Wisconsin (8-5-1, 2-2-0 B1G) and Ohio State (8-6-0, 0-2-0 B1G) will play non-conference series this weekend. The Badgers will welcome Alabama-Huntsville (1-17-0, 1-11-0 WCHA) to Madison, Wisc., for games on Dec. 27-28. Ohio State will take on Mercyhurst (9-7-2, 7-1-1 AHA) at home on Dec. 28-29.

No. 1 Minnesota is the lone Big Ten team to not play this week. The Golden Gophers will return to action on Jan. 3 against No. 2 Ferris State (14-2-3, 10-0-2 WCHA).

Quiet weekend in Big Ten hockey for teams

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/16/13 7:03pm         

MSU (5-9-1, 0-1-1-1 B1G) was one of the few Big Ten teams that took to the ice this past week, with only four games in total. Each were non-conference matchups.

With there being no Big Ten conference games this past week, the standings remain the same with No. 1 Minnesota still sitting at the top with 10 points. MSU remains fourth in the league with two points in conference play. For the full standings, click here.

MSU fell 2-0 to then-No. 4 Ferris State on Saturday night, with the Bulldogs improving their nation-leading unbeaten streak to 15 games. With the loss, MSU is now 0-5 against fellow state of Michigan teams, with losses to Michigan Tech, Western Michigan and Ferris State.

MSU has an opportunity to earn some revenge against the Huskies of Michigan Tech on Dec. 27 in the first round of the Great Lakes Invitational.

Like MSU, No. 3 Michigan laced up the skates this past week against Ferris State but had a better result with a 2-2 tie last Wednesday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.

No. 14 Wisconsin was the only team to play multiple games this week, sweeping Colorado College. The Badgers beat Colorado College 4-1 on Friday and 4-3 in overtime on Saturday.

No. 1 Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State each had the week off.

While Minnesota didn’t take to the ice this past week, the Golden Gophers moved back into their No. 1 position after spending a week at No. 2. Michigan remained at No. 3 and Wisconsin moved up from No.15 to No. 14. Ohio State also received votes in the USCHO.com poll.

All six of the Big Ten teams will be off until at least Dec. 27 and Big Ten play will resume on Jan. 10 with MSU traveling to Ohio State and U-M at Wisconsin.

Wood to play for Muskegon team for remainder of season

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/14/13 3:41pm         

?Redshirt freshman forward Connor Wood will spend the remainder of the 2013-14 season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.

?Wood will return to MSU for the 2014-15 season.

?Wood was redshirted during the 2012-13 season and has yet to play in any of the Spartans’ 14 games this season. Wood is the only skater on the roster who hasn’t played in any games this year.

??“We’ve been really happy with Connor’s progress to date and this is an opportunity for him to get more games in this season and continue his development,” head coach ?Tom Anastos told MSUSpartans.com. “We look forward to having him back with us next season.”

?MSU has a strong relationship with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, with four current Spartans previously playing with the USHL club before coming to East Lansing. Former head coach and athletic director Ron Mason also is the senior advisor with the Lumberjacks.

?“From a hockey standpoint, it’s the best case scenario,” Wood told MSUSpartans.com. “I can get a lot of game experience now, so when I come back to campus in the fall I`ll be better able to contribute.”

MSU in fourth place after first weekend of Big Ten play

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 12/09/13 9:20pm         

MSU (5-8-1, 0-1-0-1 B1G) kicked off Big Ten play this weekend against then-No. 1 Minnesota (12-2-2, 3-0-1-0 B1G), taking two of the possible six points in the weekend series.

MSU earned two points on Friday night’s 2-2 tie and shootout win. According to Big Ten hockey rules, both MSU and Minnesota were awarded one point after the additional five-minute overtime period ended, and MSU was awarded an additional point after winning the shootout, 1-0. The Golden Gophers would salvage the series taking all three points the next night, holding off the Spartans’ comeback effort and winning, 3-2.

The weekend series’ outcome cost Minnesota its position as the top-ranked team in the USCHO.com poll, dropping to No. 2 after seven consecutive weeks at the top. MSU still remains unranked and didn’t receive any votes in the rankings that was released on Monday.

With two games down and 18 more to play in the Big Ten, the Spartans currently find themselves in 4th place in the newly-formed conference. The full standings are here.

Like MSU, Penn State (3-9-1, 0-2-0-0 B1G) started its Big Ten campaign over the weekend at No. 17 Wisconsin (6-5-1, 2-2-0-0 B1G). The Badgers took both Friday and Saturday’s matchups, winning 7-1 and 4-3.

Both No. 3 Michigan (10-2-1, 2-0-0-0 B1G) and Ohio State (8-6, 0-2-0-0 B1G) were off last weekend. U-M took the ice in a non-Big Ten exhibition game on Thursday, losing 5-4 to the U.S. National Training Development Program U-18 team.

Big Ten play now will be on hold until Jan. 10, when MSU travels to Ohio State and U-M heads to Wisconsin. MSU and U-M potentially could meet up in the championship game of the Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 28 at Comerica Park but the game would not count toward the two teams Big Ten records.

MSU will return to the ice on Saturday against No. 4 Ferris State (13-2-2, 10-0-2 WCHA) in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena.

Spartans ink two recruits for 2014-15

By Robert Bondy          Last updated: 11/26/13 9:24pm         

MSU announced Monday that it will be welcoming at least two new faces to the 2014-15 roster with the signing of prospects defenseman Josh Jacobs and goalie Edwin Minney. Both signed national letters of intent on Monday to join the Spartans in 2014-15.

Jacobs is from Shelby Township, Mich. and currently plays with the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League. The 6’2”, 193-pound defenseman has one goal and seven assists in 14 games this season with the Indiana Ice and was one of 40 players selected to play in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh.

He also was on Team USA for the World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia earlier this month.

“Josh is a strong-skating, puck-moving defenseman that has very good offensive instincts and skill,” head coach Tom Anastos said in a statement. “His size, skating mobility and reach make him difficult to play against. Josh comes from a highly successful amateur hockey background where he has proven championship-level experience.”

Minney, who is 6’4” and 191 pounds, currently plays with the U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 team.
He’s posted a 8-4-1 record, 2.99 goals against average and .896 save percentage through 15 games this season. Originally from Wind Gap, Penn., Minney also participated in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

“Ed is a big, athletic goaltender who has gained incredible experience as part of the U.S. National Development Team,” Anastos said in a statement. “He has excellent work habits and a strong skill set. We feel he will be an outstanding collegiate goalie.”

Minney will get an early look at MSU and East Lansing when the Spartans face-off against the U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 on March 1 at Munn Ice Arena.

Grassi, Hayes, Walrod sign try out contracts with amateur teams

By Milan Griffes          Last updated: 03/25/13 10:05pm         

Three MSU hockey seniors have signed Amateur Try Out, or ATO, contracts with professional hockey teams.

Senior defenseman Matt Grassi signed with the Hamilton Bulldogs, a team in the American Hockey League, or AHL.

Senior forward Anthony Hayes signed with the Florida Everblades, current champions of the East Coast Hockey League, or ECHL.

Senior forward Kevin Walrod signed with the Bakersfield Condors, also in the ECHL.

Grassi played 41 games with MSU this season, scoring three points and receiving 22 penalty minutes. Grassi played on the MSU team from 2009-13, recording 19 points. The British Columbia native will return to Canada to join the Ontario-based Bulldogs.

Hayes will head south to Estero, Fla., to play with the Everblades. Last May, the Everblades won the Kelly Cup in the championship game of the ECHL. Hayes has played with MSU for the past four years. This season, Hayes played in 42 games, scoring eight points and receiving 34 penalty minutes.

Walrod played his first games with the Bakersfield Condors in California this weekend.

The Condors lost to the Las Vegas Wranglers on Friday and won against the San Francisco Bulls on Sunday. Walrod played with MSU since 2009.

This season, the senior forward played in 34 games, recording 15 points and receiving 20 penalty minutes.

The Spartans played their final game of the season March 17, losing to the Miami Redhawks in the CCHA Playoffs. The Spartans went 14-25-3 in the 2012-13 season.