2020-21 MSU hockey roster preview


MSU forward Tommy Apap/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Zac Slowik, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING — We are two weeks away from puck drop at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, as the Michigan State Spartans will take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. This will be a two-game home stand for MSU playing ASU Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 20 before going on the road the following weekend to play Ohio State. 

The Spartans have some key players returning for this 2020-21 season, as well as some new faces added to their locker room. 

Some key returning forwards include Gianluca Estaves, Tommy Apap, Brody Stevens, and arguably the most important, Michael Lewandowski, the senior from Clarkston who has racked up an impressive 88 points in his three years at MSU. He will find himself sitting nicely on the first line with possible new linemate, Charlie Combs, a graduate transfer from Bemidji State. Combs played 108 games at Bemidji State, where he had 60 points (36 goals and 24 assists). 

Some key returning defensemen include Tommy Miller, Cole Krygier, Christian Krygier with the best being junior Denis Cesana. Cesana was voted All-Big Ten second team as a sophomore for the Spartans in the 2019-20 season in which he had 22 points last season, ranking third in the Big Ten among defensemen.

Spartan goaltending will be very interesting this year, as MSU graduated two goaltenders last season including starter John Lethemon. However, MSU added two big-name goaltenders to its roster in Pierce Charleson and Jon Mor. Charlson lead Candian Junior Hockey with 36 wins in 2019-20, posting a record of 36-10-2. Mor bounced around last season, spending time in the USHL, NAHL, BCHL and also played for the U-18 U.S. National Development team in 2017-18. Charleson and Mor will join junior Drew DeRidder at the position. 

The MSU hockey program looks to keep improving as it has under coach Danton Cole, a veteran with international, professional and collegiate experience. He was appointed head coach in 2017. As he enters his fourth season behind the Spartan bench, he looks to combine the talent he has returning with his first true set of his own recruits. Most people are unaware that many hockey players commit to colleges when they are 18 years old, yet, the average age of a freshman Division I hockey player is 21 years old. Most athletes need more time to develop, so they play junior hockey all over North America before going to play college. 

Spartan fans should be very excited for the upcoming season and future of the hockey program. Puck drop time for the first game is still to be determined.

Zac Slowik is a general assignment reporter for WDBM Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @slowik77.