By Matt Mackinder/Michigan State Beat Writer
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Head coach: Rick Comley (8th season)
Home arena: Munn Ice Arena (6,470)
Last season: 10-23-5 overall, 7-17-4 CCHA (T-10th), lost in CCHA quarterfinals to Northern Michigan
Returning for the Spartans:
Goaltenders: SO Drew Palmisano, SR Bobby Jarosz
Forwards: JR Dustin Gazley, SO Daultan Leveille, SO Mike Merrifield (back after going back to juniors at semester break), SO Trevor Nill, SO Brett Perlini, JR Andrew Rowe (assistant captain), RS SR Nick Sucharski (co-captain), JR Joey Shean, SR Jay Sprague, JR Corey Tropp (assistant captain, reinstated in offseason)
Defensemen: SO Tim Buttery, SO Matt Crandell, SR Justin Johnston, JR Jeff Petry (co-captain), SO Brock Shelgren, JR A.J. Sturges
No longer sporting Sparty:
Goaltenders: Jeff Lerg (signed with New Jersey organization), Steve Mnich
Forwards: Tim Crowder, Adam Henderson, Kurt Kivisto, Matt Schepke, Jacob Schering, Dan Sturges, Ben Warda
Defensemen: Shaun Fulton, Brandon Gentile
New to the Spartans:
Goaltender: Kyle McMahon (sophomore, last played for Wichita Falls, NAHL, in ’07-08)
Forwards: Dean Chelios (Chicago, USHL), Chris Forfar (Lincoln, USHL), Zach Golembiewski (Indiana, USHL), Derek Grant (Langley, BCHL), Anthony Hayes (Green Bay, USHL), Kevin Walrod (Cowichan Valley, BCHL)
Defensemen: Matt Grassi (Salmon Arm, BCHL), Zach Josepher (Penticton, BCHL), Torey Krug (Indiana, USHL)
NHL draft picks: 6 (Leveille, Grant, Tropp, Nill, Petry, Sucharski)
Outlook: After having their worst season in recent memory last year, the Spartans hope it’s all uphill from here.
However, any success MSU has this year will be without goaltender Jeff Lerg, who graduated last spring.
“There will be life after Jeff Lerg,” Michigan State head coach Rick Comley said. “I think Drew Palmisano is probably the goalie people are going to refer to now and I think he is an outstanding goalie. We brought him in a year early to work with Jeff Lerg and I think he really benefited from that.”
Offense might come and go for the Spartans and Comley said he’s not sold on leaning on any one player or group to lead the forward units.
“Goal scoring was a major problem last year and I think it still will be a problem, but our talent is better,” noted Comley. “It is difficult to say who will lead us offensively, but the young guys will benefit from the ice time that they had last year.”
Co-captain Jeff Petry is a rock on defense and will be again this year.
MSU opens at home this weekend against Clarkson.