Spartans Hang On For 3-2 Win Over Miami

MSU took one step toward a NCAA bid tonight with a 3-2 victory over the Miami of Ohio Redhawks. Starting strong, they had to hold off a late Miami charge to ensure victory.

OKEMOS,MI - Michigan State took another step toward a NCAA bid by holding off the Redhawks in the final minutes and walked away with a 3-2 victory.

The game did not start well for the Spartans as Jim McKenzie was absolutely crushed on the blue line on a blindsided check, and had to be helped off the ice.

A little later, David Booth, who has a history of rib problems, was shaken up on a another physical hit along the boards.

Regardless of that start, MSU carried the action to the Redhawks for most of the period and MSU's Tim Crowder pushed a rebound shot in for a power play goal to give MSU a 1-0 lead. It was only the 7th power play given up by Miami all year.

MSU continued to put pressure on Miami as Booth, who recovered from the earlier hit, Bryan Lerg, and Tim Crowder all missed on golden opportunities to increase the 1-0 lead.

Miami started to put pressure in the last six minutes of the first but hit a goal post and MSU goalie Jeff Lerg also made a beautiful kick save to preserve the 1-0 lead at the end of the first period.

The second period saw a defensive battle back and forth with the exception of a goal by Bryan Lerg who took a centering pass from Chris Mueller and wristed it in the net for a 2-0 Spartan lead. (Lerg now with 31-points on the year.)

At this point MSU was looking fairly solid, having 13 wins when leading after two periods. Conversely, Miami is 0-3-2 when trailing after two periods this year.

Miami had also gotten just 13 shots on goal in the first two periods as MSU lockdowned the Redhawk offense.

In the third period, MSU started strong again, playing tough defense and blocking a lot of shots, especially by Drew Miller, who was all over the ice.

A little later Corey Potter threw a wrist shot on net from just inside the right blue line that went into the net to give MSU a 3-0 lead.

It appeared the goal was actually scored though by Nick Sucharski, who was camped out in front and appeared to redirect the puck with his stick. Indeed, he was later given credit for the goal. He also gets credit for screening Miami goaltender Charlie Effinger with some smart play.

At that point everything seemed to go Miami's way. MSU started to stand around on defense, and looked tired in trying to clear the puck.

Jeff Lerg, who was brillant in goal, became helpless as the Davis brothers had open shots in the slot, and scored both times to cut MSU's lead to 3-2 with still six minutes to play.

Nathan Davis scored the first, followed by brother Matt, in Miami's furious comeback attack.

The final few minutes were sweaty palm time for the Spartans, and their fans, but they held on to win 3-2.

Tommmorrow it starts all over again with senior night for the Spartans. While one victory helps, another one will be critical with a weekend series away from home next week.

The Spartan now run their record to 18-10-7, while Miami drops to 21-6-4.

With Michigan also losing tonight to Nebraska-Omaha, that also puts MSU back in 2nd place, one point ahead of UM. At this point if MSU wins tommorrow and Lake Superior State loses or ties, that should give MSU a first round bye.

With an assist on Crowder's goal, David Booth, who was all over the ice, extended his point-scoring streak to eleven games.

MSU's record against ranked teams this year is now 5-3-4, and they now have a six game unbeaten streak.

Stay tuned to GSN for more Spartan hockey coverage.

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