After suffering back-to-back one goal losses to top 15 teams on the road, the Spartan hockey team will be returning to East Lansing to host another top 15 team, the Ferris State Bulldogs. The Spartans sit at 1-3 on the season, while the Bulldogs are 2-3 after being swept at home by conference mate Michigan Tech.
The Spartans and Bulldogs of course, used to be conference foes in the CCHA before last season. The Bulldogs have won the last four meetings in the series, which includes a 2-0 game last season in which the Bulldogs held the Spartans to just 16 shots on net. The Bulldogs have an early season win over Michigan under their belt and were picked second in the WCHA preseason poll by USCHO, after winning the conference last season.
#14 Ferris State Bulldogs 2-3 (0-2 WCHA)
Time/TV: 7:00 P.M. both nights, on Comcast ch. 900 Friday night
Radio: WJIM 1240 in Lansing, Spartan Sports Network
|#14 Ferris State Bulldogs||Stats Match-Up (National Rank)||Michigan State Spartans|
|1.60 (47)||Goals Scored/Game||2.25 (36)|
|2.00 (8)||Goals Against/Game||2.50 (22)|
|1-of-21 4.76% (50)||Power Play Percentage||1-of-21 4.76% (50)|
|20-of-22 90.9% (6)||Penalty Kill Percentage||14-of-16 87.5% (16)|
|Matt Robertson 2G, 2A||Leading Scorer||Matt Berry 4G, 2A (33rd)|
|C.J. Motte 2.01 GAA, .943 save %||Expected Goaltender||Jake Hildebrand 2.53 GAA, .912 save %|
These two teams are coming off near identical weekends, with both teams losing games 2-1 and 1-0, so both offenses come in with question marks. The goaltenders in the series certainly won't help relieve any anxiety. C.J. Motte is one of the best goaltenders in the country for the Bulldogs. The undrafted goaltender out of St. Clair, MI was All-WCHA First Team last season and has only allowed more than two goals in a game once this season, a 4-3 win over Michigan.
Up front the Bulldogs will be led by Justin Buzzeo and Kyle Schempp. Buzzeo is the leading returning scorer from last season, as he put up 14 goals and 32 points. Buzzeo (Windsor, ON) is the prototypical player for coach Bob Daniels. The undrafted senior is 24 years old and came to Ferris after averaging over a point per game in the Saskatchewan junior league. Schempp is something rare on the Bulldogs' roster, as he is the lone player already drafted by an NHL team, with his rights belonging to the New York Islanders. Schempp (Saginaw, MI) grew up playing in the Compuware AAA program and put up 10 goals and 25 points in his freshman campaign in Big Rapids last season.
3 Keys to Spartan Success
- Get Something, ANYTHING from the power play- This weekend will be low scoring, there is just no reason to feel confident the Spartans can light up Motte. So getting the power play to perform above embarrassing would be a great improvement. Each team sports the exact same power play numbers of 1 for 21 on the season. The Bulldogs have had some discipline issues, as they are the 6th most penalized team in the country. Hopefully, someone, anyone can find some success on the power play this weekend as it may make all the difference.
- Discipline- The inverse of getting the Spartan power play rolling is to keep Ferris from getting theirs going as well. The Spartans, while only playing four games, are the 15th most penalized team in the country. Made more infuriating is that they have taken two 5 minute major calls this season and four times this season the Spartans have killed power play chances by taking penalties while a man up. This trend has to stop this weekend. The best game the Spartans have played, their 5-3 win over UMass on opening weekend, saw the Spartans get 5 power plays, to the Minutemens' two chances.
- Matt Berry- Can't afford to have a zero point weekend. This team still is a year or two away from having the depth that Tom Anastos has had to recruit to fill the barren cupboard that was left. So Berry needs to put up points since 3rd and 4th line scoring hasn't developed yet. It will be interesting to see who is the other wing on the top line this weekend. After Mackenzie MacEachern was the wing for the first three games, Anastos moved Villiam Haag to the top line last Saturday.