EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State University head coach Rick Comley has announced that two additional players will join the Spartan hockey program in the fall of 2008, as defenseman Matt Crandell (St. Cloud, Minn./Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) and forward Andrew Conboy (Rosemount, Minn./Omaha Lancers (USHL) have signed a National Letter of Intent and a Tender of Financial Aid, respectively.
“These two players help fill out our team, and add some skill and toughness,” noted Comley about the two newest Spartans.
Crandell will help fortify a Spartan blueline which loses stalwarts Daniel Vukovic and Jeff Dunne to graduation and saw Michael Ratchuk sign a professional contract with Philadelphia last week. Crandell is a 5-10, 190-pound product of the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The 19-year old Crandell enters the Clark Cup playoffs with an 8-21-29 scoring line (+17) in 60 games for the Musketeers this season, who take on the Omaha Lancers in the first round. He ranked ninth among USHL defensemen in scoring in the regular season, a list where fellow incoming freshman Tim Buttery of the Chicago Steel ranks fifth (60 GP, 6-26-32).
“Matt’s strength is his puck movement – he’ll be an asset on the power play and is a very good add for us,” noted the coach. “He’s also a strong student.”
Crandell will face future classmate Conboy in the first round of the playoffs; Conboy racked up 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 52 games (+16) for the West Division champion Lancers. In two seasons in Omaha, he has 39 goals and 47 assists. The 6-4, 200-pound Conboy led the Lancers and ranked fifth in the USHL in penalty minutes (180). He will add size and toughness to a forward corps that has lost top forwards Bryan Lerg and Chris Mueller to graduation and Justin Abdelkader to the Detroit Red Wings after his junior season.
“Andrew adds skill and toughness for sure,” added Comley. “He’s got a great skill package and will add a dimension to our lineup. He’ll help us out right away.”
The pair join a class of six that signed Letters of Intent in November, which include Buttery (Northville, Mich./Chicago Steel (USHL), goaltender Drew Palmisano (Ann Arbor, Mich./Omaha Lancers (USHL), and four forwards: Adam Henderson (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory/ Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), Daultan Leveille (St. Catharines, Ontario/St. Catharines (GHJHL), Trevor Nill (Novi, Mich./Penticton Vees (BCHL) and Brett Perlini (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario/Soo Thunderbirds).