Michigan State hosts Alaska in two-game NCAA hockey series this weekend
No. 10-ranked Michigan State, fresh off head coach Rick Comley recording his 700th victory behind the bench, host Alaska for a two-game series at the Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing this weekend.
Comley, a native of Stratford, Ont., became one of only five collegiate coaches to reach 700 wins with a 4-1 victory at Miami on Jan. 6. He recorded 538 of his 700 wins behind the bench of Northern Michigan, a program he helped found, from 1976 to 2001 before succeeding the Ron Mason at Michigan State.
Michigan State junior defenceman Daniel Vukovic of Toronto received CCHA defenceman of the week accolades for his play at Miami. Vukovic scored the first of four third-period goals in a 4-1 win over the RedHawks on Jan. 6, was a plus-5 over the weekend and helped the Spartans go 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.
Sophomore forward and Florida Panthers draft pick Tim Crowder of Victoria tallied an assist in Michigan State's 5-2 loss to Miami on Jan. 8 before netting two goals, including the game-winner, in the 4-1 win.
Alaska's 27-man roster consists of 21 Canadians, including 12 from Alberta, eight from British Columbia and one from Manitoba. Nanooks head coach and Milk River, Alta., native Tavis MacMillan, a former player in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, recruits heavily from the western Canadian provinces because of their location and an in-state tuition reciprocity for British Columbia students attending the university.
Junior forward Kyle Greentree is the Nanooks' leading scorer with 29 points in 20 games. Greentree, a native of Victoria, is fifth in the NCAA in goals with 16 and ranks second in power-play scores with nine. Before the season, sophomore goaltender Chad Johnson of Calgary became the first Nanook player chosen in the NHL Entry Draft while attending school when the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him in the fifth round. The New Jersey Devils selected current sophomore defenceman Tyler Eckford of Langley, B.C., in 2004, before he began his Nanooks career.