RECAP: Spartan get two-game sweep of Alaska

"I was talking to Rick [Comley] and Howells was piping off to me, and grabbed my shoulder and one of our guys came to my back," --Alaska head coach Tavis MacMillan explaining how a handshake line fracus turned into a brawl.

EAST LANSING - The Spartan icers finished a tremendous weekend at the Munn Arena, sweeping away the Nanooks in East Lansing on Friday and Saturday.

MSU's Tim Kennedy gave MSU a thrilling 3-2 overtime win on Friday when he wrist shot from the left circle beat a surprised Wylie Rogers for the margin of victory.

But the game was marred by a post game altercation as the team's lined up for the traditional handshake and a donnybrook ensued.

Alaska head coach Tavis MacMillan accused the Spartans head coach Rick Comley of running his goaltender. Comley disagreed and words ensued. Things escalated when defenseman Tyler Howells appeared to get into the discussion and then bump MacMillan. "I was talking to Rick [Comley] and Howells was piping off to me, and grabbed my shoulder and one of our guys came to my back," MacMillan said. But postgame video showed Howells never put his hands on MacMillan at all.

MSU's Brandon Gentile and Chris Lawrence along with Alaska's T.J. Campbell and Ryan Muspratt received game misconducts and were not eligible for Saturday's return match.

State head coach Rick Comley admitted that emotions were running high after the hard-fought opening win. "Emotionally, it's a big win," said Comley. "I thought it was a struggle all night. I thought our top guys didn't have top games, and Alaska had a lot to do with that because they're so big and strong.

"As for Kennedy's game-winner, He's our best player and we need him to come through at a time like that."

Kennedy said he was just looking to set up a teammate but nothing came open.

"I was trying to make a pass but there was no one open except for [Chris] Mueller who was at the far blue line. I don't know why, but I passed it back instead of taking the shot, and as I came off the ice, coach was screaming at me, 'Shoot the puck, shoot the puck.' So I said, 'Okay, I'll shoot the puck'", he said.

Comley got another sensational effort from Howells who had a goal and two assists to help send the Spartans to the 4-3 win on Saturday.

Alaska's Rogers turned back 44 MSU shots to no avail as the Spartans peppered the Alaska goal all night long to get the win.

"I thought [Wylie] Rogers came up big for them," said Comley. "{He was really good. He controlled play, he got whistles, he made big saves. He had no chance really on any of the goals, so he played really well. A lot of guys played solid. When you generate 48 shots, the only thing you worry about is being down 2-1 when you're dominating."

That was the predicament the Spartans found themselves in with Rogers standing on his head and back-to-back tallies by forwards Tyler Eckford and Jordan Emmerson offset the game opening goal by Tim Crowder.

But the Spartans solved Rogers in the third period, getting three unanswered goals from Nick Sucharski, Jim McKenzie and Tyler Howells to go up 4-2.

Trevor Hyatt got the Nanooks within one, but MSU, behind goaltender Jeff Lerg, preserved the advantage.

Junior winger Jim McKenzie said the Spartans believed that the Nanooks -who were on the fourth game of a four game road trip - would run out of gas if they didn't let them get out to an early lead.

"It just seems like they have been on the road for so long. We knew they were going to come out fine in the first period because of what happened last night, but we just knew to weather the storm and hold them for a period or two. Then our legs would take over and they would start to get pretty tired. They just ran out of gas at the end. They weren't quite on our defense as fast as they were in the first period."

MSU moved to 14-8-1 overall and 10-6-1 in the conference and is just six points behind league leading Notre Dame who has a game in hand over the Spartans. The Irish moved ahead of the Miami Redhawks who split their series with Western Michigan while Notre Dame swept Lake Superior and into sole possesion of the top spot in the CCHA.

MSU will host the angry Lakers in a two game set in East Lansing next weekend.

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