EAST LANSING- On Friday night the Spartan hockey team fell 3-1 to the nation's top ranked team the Miami Red Hawks.
The loss was a part of a Miami sweep which is the first time the Spartans have been swept at home since a 2005 series with Nebraska Omaha. The setback puts Michigan State at 8-3-1 overall at 4-2-0 in conference play.
The Spartans fell this weekend due in large part to the play of Miami's special teams.
The Red Hawks held the Spartans league best power-play to one goal on fifteen opportunities, and were able to convert four times when they had the man advantage.
"They have a really good power play, I think that was a big difference," said Justin Abdelkader. "We have to shore up our penalty kill a little bit and obviously work on our power play, it was just one of those weekends where our power play wasn't clicking."
Friday, the Spartans fell behind two goals early and were never able to come back.
The Red Hawks opened the scoring with a power play goal by Justin Mercier who took the puck in the slot after Lerg stopped his initial two shots. Mercier was finally able to put it past the Spartan net minder just four minutes and change in.
The Red Hawks would strike again on the power play when freshman Carter Camper took a Brian Kaufaman pass in the slot and beat Lerg glove side for the eventual game winner.
The Spartans would respond to the Miami on-slot just minutes later with a power play goal of their own when a Mike Ratchuk shot from the point was redirected by Matt Schepke past the Miami goalie Jeff Zatkoff and it was 2-1 after one.
The game would remain that way heading into the third due in large part to the play of Spartan goalie Jeff Lerg who turned away all 15 of Miami's second period shots.
"I thought Jeff was really, really good tonight," said Head Coach Rick Comley.
In the third period the Spartans finally started to get some chances of their own but were repetitively turned away by Zatkoff who stopped 46 of the 49 Michigan State shots this weekend.
Miami's Ryan Jones would seal the Spartans fate with an empty net goal with just 28 seconds remaining making the final 3-1 in favor of the visiting Red Hawks.
Michigan State will look to regroup next weekend with a pair of home games against top 25 teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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MSU Hockey Swept by No.1 Miami (OH)
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