Spartan Hockey Summer Headlines

Summer has begun in earnest and the offseason is well underway. But that doesn’t mean that we’re just lounging around, (ok maybe a little bit).

All summer long, we will be keeping an eye on the happenings in the college hockey world, as they pertain to the Spartans. So while you’re patiently waiting for the beginning of hockey season, catch up on all of the Michigan State hockey news over this summer.

These are your Spartan Hockey Summer Headlines.

Josh Jacobs Leaves Spartans for OHL

The biggest headline to come out of the past month, freshman defenseman Josh Jacobs announced that he would be forgoing his final three years of eligibility to play with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.

Jacobs, a second round pick of the New Jersey Devils, registered eight assists in his freshman debut while playing top minutes against some of the best offenses in the conference. He was also named to last year’s Big Ten All-Freshman team.

The departure is a major blow to the improving Spartan D-corps. Jacobs’ early exit will leave the Spartans with only seven rostered defenseman for 2015.

To read more on Jacobs’ sudden departure, check out Brian Bobal’s report here.

Michigan State 2015-16 Schedule Announced

The Spartans have released their upcoming schedule for the entire world to see, and it is a thing of beauty.

Michigan State will have a strong strength of schedule, with non-conference opponents Denver, Maine, North Dakota, Michigan Tech, Boston College, Lake Superior State and Northeastern all slated to play MSU this season. The Spartans will also play 20 conference games against Big Ten opponents, as per usual.

The season begins on October 9  when the Spartans face off against the Maine Black Bears in the Ice Breaker Invitational Tournament.

Check out the full 2015-16 schedule here.

Jake Hildebrand Earns George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year Award

At this rate, Hildy might have to get a bigger trophy case. Jake Hildebrand was honored by Michigan State University with the George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year Award. The award is given out annually by a panel of MSU coaches and administrators to a male athlete who has given exceptional performances while wearing the green and white.

Hildebrand led the conference with over 1000 saves and a 2.18 goals against average last year. His six shutouts tied him with Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox for the conference lead.

The Butler, Pennsylvania native was awarded first team All-American honors last year as well.

Jeff Lerg Signs with Manchester

The former Spartan netminder who backstopped MSU to the 2007 national championship will continue to climb the ladder to the NHL. Jeff Lerg signed a professional tryout contract with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. The Monarchs (LA Kings affiliate) are currently in the midst of the Calder Cup Finals, and Lerg will be available to play in the series starting on June 10.

Lerg spent this past season with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, where he posted a .920 save percentage and a 2.37 goals against average. Jeff’s brother Brian (also a former Spartan) made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks back in April, scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-1 win over Edmonton.

Former Spartan, Petry re-signs with Canadians

Defenseman Jeff Petry and the Montreal Canadians have agreed to a six-year contract extension.

Since being picked up from Edmonton last March, Petry has garnered seven points (three goals, four assists) in 19 games for Montreal, and has been a welcome addition to their lineup. Petry, so far, has 81 points (20 goals, 61 assists) in five years in the NHL.

Duncan Keith Carrying Load for Blackhawks

Former Spartan Duncan Keith has been a workhorse for the the Chicago Blackhawks these playoffs, and is a big reason why Chicago is playing in the finals this year. Keith, and the entire Hawks defensive corps, has been put under stress since Michal Rozsival went down with a season-ending injury in the second round against the Minnesota Wild.

Keith, the two-time Stanley Cup and Norris Trophy winner, has led the way from the backend, registering two goals and 18 assists. His 20 points lead all defensmen in the playoffs this year.

Even more impressive is his ice time. Keith has averaged over 31 minutes of ice-time per game and still has been able to compete at a high level. This led Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville to affectionately call Keith a “freak” in one postgame press conference.

Keith’s impressive stamina could also be found in his MSU days. Keith reportedly still holds the highest V02 max score of any Michigan State hockey player. Spartans Will indeed.

Photo: Stephie Schavey