State sweeps St. Lawrence, Sacred Heart

Nick Sucharski scored two goals while Ethan Graham and Tim Kennedy each chipped in with three points in leading the Spartans to a wild 7-5 shootout win over Sacred Heart.

EAST LANSING - Michigan State made the most of its two-game weekend series, sweeping away St. Lawrence on Friday and Sacred Heart on Saturday to move its record to 3-1.

Nick Sucharski scored two goals while Ethan Graham and Tim Kennedy each chipped in with three points in leading the Spartans to a wild 7-5 shootout win over Sacred Heart.

MSU jumped out to a 5-0 lead and put it on cruise control behind Sucharski's two goals and one each from Kennedy, Graham and Tim Crowder.

But the Knights rebounded with three straight goals to make it a hockey game. MSU's Bryan Lerg and Mike Ratchuk put the game out of reach with back-to-back tallies before Sacred Heart answered with two goals before time expired. It was not the best night for MSU goaltender Jeff Lerg who stopped just 15-of-23 shots on goal. Sacred Heart goaltender Jason Smith was the busier of the two, facing a barrage of 38 shots from the Spartans.

Coach Rick Comley's said the final score didn't indicate how well Lerg actually played. "I feel bad for Jeff (Lerg) right now," said Comley. "The puck is going in bizarre ways. I told him at least we beat them clean. It rattles the goalie, but he's such a good kid, he'll work himself through it."

On Friday it was a balanced Spartans attack that saw five different players light the lamp in a 5-3 win over St. Lawrence. MSU's Jay Sprague started the scoring from Nick Shucharski and Chris Lawrence on a bang-bang play.

"I had just gotten off the bench and I was the high man on the forecheck. Nick Sucharski and Chris Lawrence were in forechecking and the puck came to me. I took a quick look, fired it on net, and it went in. They say no shot is a bad shot so I threw it on net and got lucky."

Jared Ross tied it up for St. Lawrence early in a see-saw contest. Lerg made it 2-1 for State but Charlie Giffin tied it again before Jim McKenzie's banged it in to end the second period with State up 3-2.

But the highlight of the game was little-used Kurt Kivisto, who scrappy play resulted in his tallying the game winner for MSU, before Chris Mueller ended the scoring for the Spartans.

"It was thrilling," said Kivisto of his goal with his family looking on in the Munn Arena stands. "I didn't play much last year, but I put a lot of time in practicing. Finally getting an opportunity to help the team in an early season win is really rewarding. We aren't the line that is supposed to go out and score all the goals, so to actually help the team offensively feels good. It felt really good to actually put a puck in the net."

Coach Comley said Kivisto's play could earn him more ice time.

"You especially feel good for a guy like Kurt (Kivisto)," said Comley, "who might have earned a spot on the third line with his play tonight. That is how desperately we are looking for some balance in putting this thing together."

MSU defenseman Ethan Graham says the Spartans are starting to round into shape. "I think we need to concentrate on being consistent. We'll have a good stretch and then we'll have a couple of down shifts. We need to make sure we stay on an even plane."

There's little doubt MSU will be fully focused as crosstown rival Michigan comes to Munn Arena for what is expected to be a sell-out showdown on Friday for the first part of a home-and-home series.

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