SPARTANS TO PLAY FOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

According to Coach Rick Comley the Spartans never panicked. "In the locker room, Chris Lawrence said, 'hey guys, we're only down two, not three' and Jeff settled down. I thought he was nervous early and made a couple of really big saves."

ST. LOUIS - After a shaky start, 5-foot-6 goaltender Jeff Lerg blanked the Maine Black Bears for the remaining 56 minutes, as Michigan State came from behind to defeat the Maine Black Bears 4-2 and advance to their first National Championship Game since 1986, Saturday night in St. Louis.

MSU weathered an early storm by the Black Bears who came out with a ton of jump in their skates and peppered Lerg, getting two shots past him early in the contest to take a 2-0 lead.

Maine jumped out to the lead when Keith Johnson scored from Josh Soares and Michel Leveille and then Soares scored from Travis Ramsey and Keith Johnson and MSU looked to be in a world of hurt.

But according to Coach Rick Comley the Spartans never panicked. "In the locker room, Chris Lawrence said, 'hey guys, we're only down two, not three' and Jeff settled down. I thought he was nervous early and made a couple of really big saves."

Chris Muller notched his fifteenth of the season before the period was over to cut the Black Bears lead to one. It was all State from that point forward.

Spartans defensiveman Chris Snavely got just his second goal of the season from Justin Abdelkader and Tim Kennedy to open the second period knotting the score at two.

Nick Sucharski rammed the puck home past Bears goalie Ben Bishop on a bang-bang play that left the stunned Maine squad in disbelief as their two goal lead was suddenly a deficit.

The Spartans went into neutral-zone trap mode with the lead but their tough forechecking in that zone paid dividends when they Jim McKenzie beat Bishop on quick pass from Chris Muller to give State the 4-2 advantage.

Maine did not pull their goaltender until just over three minutes remained in the contest and MSU's Lerg and the Spartans defense made it stand up.

Now the Spartans will come back to watch the nightcap and find out who stands in the way of them claiming their first National Championship since 1986. North Dakota and Boston College will fight it out for the right to face the Spartans.


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