Series Preview: Michigan State

Following a 7-0 exhibition victory over Lethbridge, the Gophers will face some stiff competition from 16th-ranked Michigan State this weekend in Minneapolis. The series opener starts Friday at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports North.

Michigan State (0-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 CCHA) at Minnesota (0-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 WCHA)
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Mariucci Arena
Friday 6:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 p.m. CT – Fox Sports North

PREGAME NOTES

Storyline: The top-ranked Gophers will enter this series as the favorites but would be wise to not look past their future Big Ten rival. With lofty expectations, the Gophers will need to get off to a strong start against the Spartans to get their season headed in the right direction.

Season to Date: Like the Gophers, Michigan State has yet to play a regular season game. They have played in one exhibition, a 6-1 victory over Windsor.

Coaching Preview: Tom Anastos is in just his second season with the Spartans. Last year, he led the team to a respectable 19-16-4 overall record while going 14-11-3 in the CCHA, good for fifth in the conference.

Last Meeting: Last season, Michigan State fared well against the Gophers, wining one game 4-3 and tying the other 4-4 in East Lansing. The last time the Spartans were in Minneapolis they routed Minnesota by a score of 5-2.

Series History: The Gophers hold a hefty advantage in the all-time series with a 101-42-13 lead over the Spartans. In games played in Minneapolis, the Maroon Gold are 53-14-7.

By the Numbers:
195 - The Spartans boast a large lineup, averaging six feet tall and an impressive 195 pounds.

55 - Michigan State only returns 55 percent of their scoring from last season. The Gophers, in comparison, will bring back a whopping 83 percent.

0 - Last week in their win over Windsor, MSU was 0-for-7 on the powerplay, even allowing a shorthanded goal.

Players to Watch:
#42-Jake Chelios-D: The son of former NHL great Chris Chelios, Jake is a 6-foot-2, 191-pound junior with serious defensive skills. With an inexperienced blue line, Chelios will be a steady force for the Spartans.

#86-Greg Wolfe-F: Wolfe was the fourth leading scorer from last season tallying 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points. Michigan State's captain will be looked to contribute offensively this weekend.

#37-Will Yanakeff-G: Yanakeff, a junior goaltender, posted an impressive .922 save percentage and went 13-9-1 last season. He was named to the Preseason All-CCHA Team this year.

Background:
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Enrollment: 47,100
Conference: CCHA
Mascot: Spartan
Colors: Green and White
Coach: Tom Anastos(2nd Season)


Gopher Illustrated Top Stories