EAST LANSING- This weekend the third ranked Spartan hockey team returns home for a pair of games against Mercyhurst of the Atlantic Hockey Association. This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
The Lakers of Mercyhurst enter the weekend at 1-6-1 with their first win coming this past weekend against Air Force.
The Spartans on the other hand return to Munn off a weekend sweep in Alaska. Coach Rick Comley sees last weekends trip as a team bonding experience.
"I think you're there, you're together, very few parents around up there, I thought it was very healthy for us," said Comley.
The Spartans were given Monday off by Coach Rick Comley to recover from the long trip to Alaska and get ready for Mercyhurst.
A pair of Spartans earned weekly CCHA honors. Senior Dan Vukovic was the CCHA defenseman of the week notching five points in Alaska. Junior Jeff Lerg was also honored for his play last weekend as CCHA goaltender of the week stopping 46 of 48 shots.
Mercyhurst has struggled early in the season but is just two years removed from an NCAA tournament appearance. The Lakers are coached by Rick Gotain and lean heavily on senior forward Ben Cottreau who has already tallied nine points this season.
Players to Watch
Mercyhurst senior forward Ryan Toomey
Toomey is currently second on the Lakers in points with six had twelve goals a year ago. The senior wing is on a line with leading scorer Ben Cottreau and Freshman Scott Pitt. For Mercyhurst to shock the Spartans theyll need strong play from Toomey and his line mates.
Michigan State Goalie Jeff Lerg
This past weekend Lerg set a new school record with his 61st and 62nd consecutive starts between the pipes. After a sluggish start Lerg has regained his form from a year ago that earned him pre-season All-CCHA honors.
Keys to Victory
For Mercyhurst to come away from East Lansing with points they will need to stop the Spartans power play which is currently first in the CCHA (31.4%). The Lakers will also need to get strong play from freshman goalie Ryan Zapolski who has struggled in his first year.
For the Spartans to avoid a let down verse the struggling Lakers they will need to continue to avoid the penalty box and continue to get production from all four lines.
#3 Ranked MSU Takes On Mercyhurst
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