EAST LANSING – The Spartans may have gotten two points the ugly way, but a victory's a victory.
While last night's win wasn't pretty for Michigan State — they were out-shot 33-22 by the visiting Wolverines — Coach Rick Comley was proud of his icers none the less.
"I thought our kids fought, scrapped, and got back in the game," he said.
The Spartans were led by freshmen defensemen Jeff Petry who had his first career three-point night and junior goalie Jeff Lerg, who stopped 31 Wolverine shots in the victory.
The Spartans jumped out to an early lead with a pair of first period goals. First it was Petry who scored just 1:43 in when Nick Sucharski made a nice cross-ice pass to Petry who made no mistake beating Wolverine goalie Billy Sauer over the right shoulder.
The Wolverines controled the play for most the period, generating 15 shots on Sullivan Award finalist Jeff Lerg, who was up to the task every time.
"Jeff was solid early, and that was when he had to be," said Comley.
The Green and White struck again will a minute left in the first when freshmen Andrew Rowe flew down the right side and sent a pass into the slot that was one-timed by forward Tim Crowder past Sauer to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Wolverines continued to dominate the shot battle in the second but were unable to solve Lerg until Max Pacioretty took a Travis Turnbull pass in the slot and beat Lerg five-hole to draw the Wolverines within a goal.
The Spartans clung to a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes despite being out shot 27-9 by the visiting Wolverines.
Michigan State opened the third period with a bang and was able to generate sustained pressure on the Wolverines for the first time all game.
"I thought we got better as the game went on, and that was important," said Comley.
The Spartans extended their lead just over five minutes into the period. Forward Justin Abdelkader skated over the blue line and let a blast go from the right hash mark that found its way through traffic and past Sauer to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
Michigan State struck again just 18 seconds later thanks to Tim Kennedy. Kennedy scored when Petry let a shot go from the right circle that was stopped by Sauer but Kennedy was right there to put the rebound past him putting the Spartans in control 4-1.
With just under nine minutes left the Wolverines would cut into the Spartan lead with a Ben Winnett goal. However the Green and White would strike back just moments later when Captain Bryan Lerg tallied his team high tenth power play goal to make it a 5-2 final.
The win keeps the Spartans unbeaten against Michigan this year with just one meeting left tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
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