HOCKEY: Spartans Prepare for Alaska

The Nanooks are (0-2) this season with a pair of road losses to Alaska-Anchorage this past weekend. Michigan State on the other hand is coming off a weekend sweep of Northern Michigan to improve their winning streak to four and open the season at 2-0 in conference play for the first time under Coach Rick Comley.

EAST LANSING - The Spartan Hockey team is back in action this weekend in Fairbanks to take on the Alaska Nanooks.

The Nanooks are (0-2) this season with a pair of road losses to Alaska-Anchorage this past weekend. Michigan State on the other hand is coming off a weekend sweep of Northern Michigan to improve their winning streak to four and open the season at 2-0 in conference play for the first time under Coach Rick Comley.

The Green-and-White have won seven of the last eight contests with the Nanooks the last being a 4-3 victory on home ice. The Spartans have dominated this series and hold a 34-10-1 all-time record against Alaska.

Despite the recent success head Coach Rick Comley knows the Spartans have to come to play in Fairbanks.

"They're usually very physical," said head coach Rick Comley. "They play hard and playing up there is really tough. It's tough to go up there and win (one) game, let alone (think of) sweeping."

Michigan State will need to put together a full 60 minute game if they want to earn a pair of road wins. This is something the Spartans struggled to do this past weekend against Northern, allowing three third period goals Friday. They were outshot 15-7 on Saturday.

The Spartans know they have yet to play their best hockey this season. "Right now, I'll take winning over anything else, but at the same time, we've got to really start to bring this thing forward," Comley said.

Friday, goaltender Jeff Lerg will make his 61st consecutive start between the pipes setting a new Spartan record. The previous record of 60 was set in the late 1950s by Joe Selinger. Over the past 60 starts Lerg has posted a 47-20-9 record.

This weekend the Spartans will be without senior Defenseman Jeff Dunne. Dunne suffered a knee injury in Saturday nights 3-2 victory and could return for the November 15-16 series against Miami at the earliest. True Freshman A.J. Sturges will replace Dunne on the Spartan blue line.

Players to Watch
Alaska Freshman Forward Landon Novotney.
Novotney has made an early impact for this veteran laden group with a pair of goals in their opening series against Anchorage. He is a lightning fast left wing that is very familiar with goal scoring after lighting the lamp 28 times last season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Michigan State junior forward Tim Kennedy Kennedy along with his line mates Justin Abdelkader and Tim Crowder are quickly returning to their form from a year ago, combining for eleven points during this four game winning streak.

The Spartan alternate captain also has nine career points against the Nanooks in seven contests including a pair of goals. Look for him along with the rest of the Spartans top line to produce if Michigan State is to win on the road.

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