Spartans Close Regular Season at No. 7 Ohio State

Jeff Barnes
MSU Hockey PHOTO:  MSU SID
MSU Hockey PHOTO: MSU SID

Michigan State (11-16-5, 7-11-4-2 B1G/7th) at No. 7/7 Ohio State (19-8-5, 12-6-4-3 B1G/1st)
Dates | Times: Friday, March 1 | 6:30 p.m. // Saturday, March 2 | 5 p.m.
Location: Value City Arena | Columbus, Ohio
TV:Fri. – BTN
WebStream: Fri. – BTN2Go | Sat. - BTN Plus on BTN2Go ($)
Radio: Spartan Sports Network | Local: WJIM-AM 1240
Live Stats: MSUSpartans.com
Game Notes:Michigan State | Ohio State | Big Ten

On The Fly…
• Michigan State heads into the final weekend of the regular season by visiting No. 7 Ohio State on Friday and Saturday in Columbus ... OSU clinched the regular season league title last weekend, while the Spartans enter the weekend in seventh place – one point out of sixth place and five points out of fifth place.

• The Spartans (27 points) can finish as high as fifth place, which is currently occupied by Penn State (32 points), but cannot catch any of the teams in the second through fourth-place spots.

 Taro Hirose, the nation's leading scorer since Jan. 5, enters the final weekend of the regular season with 50 points – seven more than any other player – and 35 assists – five more than any other player … Hirose's 50 points are the most by a Spartan since John-Michael Liles had the same number in 2002-03.

• Hirose also leads the country in points per game (1.56) and is second in assists per game (1.09) … He leads the country in nine different statistical categories.

• Hirose has points in 11 of the last 12 games with 19 (6g, 13a) over the span.

• The KHL line of Taro Hirose (15-35--50), Patrick Khodorenko (17-19--36) and Mitchell Lewandowski (15-18--32) has combined for 119 points, which is the most of any line in the country.

• Khodorenko, who had a goal and two assists in the series against Penn State, is tied for the Big Ten lead and is eighth in the country in goals with 17, while his 36 points are tied for 14th in the NCAA and fifth in the conference.

• Lewandowski's 33 points are tied for ninth in the Big Ten.

• Defensemen Dennis Cesana is tied for the Big Ten lead in points among freshmen with 22, while he leads all rookies in assists with 19 … Cesana is tied for fourth among all league defensemen in points.

• The Spartans rank eighth in the country and third in the Big Ten in power play percentage at .239 and have a goal one the man-advantage in each of the last three games (4-for-8) and in five of the last six (6-for-19) … The Spartans'' 27 power-play goals are their most since 2010-11 when they had 28.

• Since the beginning of January, Michigan State is averaging 3.43 goals per game, which ranks 12th over the span and is 0.46 above its season average.

• The Spartans' current 2.97 goals per game average ranks 24th nationally, while thier 95 total goals are the most since 2011-12.

• Sophomore Tommy Apap leads the Big Ten in faceoff wins (359) and is fourth among the league's regular centermen in winning percentage at .581.

About Ohio State
The seventh-ranked Buckeyes clinched the Big Ten regular season title – and a bye in the opening round of the conference tournament – last weekend at Michigan (L, 4-2; T, 3-3 – 3x3 OTW) … OSU is 1-3-1 in its last five games after winning seven straight from Jan. 12 – Feb. 9 … The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in goals-against per game at 2.25, which ranks 12th nationally … Mason Jobst, one of nine seniors on the team, leads OSU in goals (17), assists (19) and points (36) … Tommy Nappier (11-2-3, .937, 1.82) and Sean Romeo (8-6-2, .904, 2.55) have split time in goal.

Against Ohio State
The Spartans are 0-1-1-1 against OSU this season … The Spartans came back from two separate three-goal deficits in the third period on Jan. 4 to tie, 7-7, and then win the 3-on-3 overtime … The Spartans fell the following night, 6-0, in what was their fourth game in seven nights … Patrick Khodorenko is the Spartans' active leader in points against Ohio State with 13 (4g, 9a) in 13 career games … Sam Saliba has seven goals and nine points in13 games vs. OSU.

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