Young Spartans Hope To Make Run Through CCHA Playoff
The 2013 season hasn’t gone quite as they had hoped, but that can all change with a few wins in a row for the Green and White. The MSU hockey team (11-23-3, 9-18-1), led by head coach Tom Anastos is scheduled to square off with CCHA #6 ranked Alaska. The trip to Fairbanks will be the second for the Spartans in the past three weeks. Michigan State will begin the best-of-three series on Friday. The Spartans and Nanooks split the only pair of games they have played this season. Michigan State swept Alaska in a pair of games last season.
Despite the struggles during CCHA play, the Spartans are hopeful that their youth can come through in the playoffs. Michigan State has leaned heavily on some of its youngest players for production this year. Junior forward and team captain Greg Wolfe is the only upperclassman in the top-5 on the team in scoring, and freshman net minder Jake Hildebrand has seen nearly 70% of the playing time, over junior Will Yanakeff. Sophomore Matt Berry has paced the team with 25 points on the year, with 22 coming in conference play. Hildebrand earned the first shutout of his career this past weekend on senior day, as the Spartans took down the #8 ranked Broncos of Western Michigan.
The Spartans fell in the first round of the CCHA tournament last year, losing consecutive games to Miami. Michigan State had earned a berth in the NCAA tournament, however, but lost in a hard fought game 3-1 to Union, who went on to reach the Frozen Four.
Be sure to follow the Spartans this weekend via Twitter (@MSU_Hockey) and on www.spartansportsnetwork.com