Building Momentum

"We don't really need much help getting up for Michigan, but as far as feeling good about ourselves and showing what it takes to win in a place like this, this is really going to help us in the long run." - Spartan forward Chris Mueller quoted on what their 4-2 win in Kalamazoo means.

It looked like it might be a blowout. Michigan State cruised to a 3-0 lead at Western Michigan before the game was halfway finished.

But the Spartans let things get interesting before finishing off the Broncos 4-2 for a series sweep. The power play led the way for the Spartans, providing them with two of their first three goals.

Forward Chris Mueller scored two goals and fellow forwards Tim Crowder and Bryan Lerg both scored a goal and an assist. Lerg got the scoring started with a power play goal less than five minutes into the game with assists from Crowder and defenseman Jeff Dunne.

Crowder hit paydirt within the first two minutes of the second period followed by Mueller, who scored his first of the game on a power play with 12:13 remaining in the second.

Then a power play put the feisty Broncos back in the game.

Just 1-6 with the man advantage on the afternoon, Western finally solved Spartan goaltender Jeff Lerg, who stonewalled the Broncos the night before in a 3-0 shutout. Senior defenseman Nathan Ansell scored on a power play to put the Broncos on the board with 8:15 to go in the second.

Winger Patrick Galivan brought the Broncos to within one with a goal less than a minute into the third period. The game remained tight until Mueller finished Western off with his second goal on the night, an empty-netter with a minute left. The win comes as a relief for the Spartans, who had struggled recently in-season and historically in Kalamazoo.

"We were 2-10-1 in the last ten years in this building coming in to tonight," Spartan Head Coach Rick Comley said in an interview after the game. "This is something we wanted to accomplish, so we're very pleased."


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