Michigan took the first game of a home-and-home series with Michigan State by a 4-2 count Thursday night in East Lansing, Michigan's first win at Munn Ice Arena in nearly five years.
Junior goalie Al Montoya was sharp in turning aside 29 Spartan shots.
"I felt good; I did what I do best." Montoya said. "I just try to keep the puck out of the net. Luckily for me, my team put more in tonight going our way. I felt good. I just try to keep my game simple and do my job and not worry about anything else."
Michigan head coach Red Berenson praised Montoya as well.
"I think Al knew he had to come in here and give us a chance," said Berenson. "We'd be a little rusty and he had to be focused. Our team has something to prove in here. I thought he was solid, like really looked solid. That gives your team confidence. I don't know how many great saves he had to make but he was really quick around the net on the loose pucks. He looked sharp on the good-angle shots. When a goalie makes it look easy you know he's playing well."
Three goals in a 12-minute stretch during the second and third periods boosted the Wolverines (8-2-1, 6-1-0 CCHA). With the score tied 1-1, David Rohlfs scored the go-ahead marker with 7:03 left in the second period, and Eric Werner's shorthanded tally followed by Mike Brown's goal put the Wolverines up 4-1 5:03 into the third.
"The weekend is not over, so we can't be too happy right now," senior Michigan captain Eric Nystrom said. "If we can finish the job and complete a sweep on the weekend then it will feel a lot better."
MSU senior captain Jim Slater and freshman Bryan Lerg scored for the Spartans (5-5-1, 3-4-0 CCHA). Sophomore goalie Dominic Vicari made 18 saves.
Both teams meet Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena at 7:35 p.m.