Western Michigan goalie Daniel Bellissimo
Michigan State squandered a late 3-2 lead Friday night at home and then never had a lead Saturday night as Western Michigan took three of four points from the Spartans in a home-and-home series.
"It has been a frustrating stretch for us," Michigan State head coach Rick Comley said. "Right now, we are just trying to turn losses and ties into wins."
Friday night at Munn Ice Arena, Brent Walton scored with 4:09 remaining in the third period to give WMU the 3-3 tie. Jeff Pierce and captain Mike Erickson also scored for the Broncos, who got a 28-save outing from Daniel Bellissimo.
Jeff Lerg made 21 saves for MSU and Chris Mueller had two goal and an assist, a career-best, with Colton Fretter scoring the third Spartan goal. Tim Crowder assisted on Mueller's first goal for his first collegiate assist.
“We played hard tonight and earned a well deserved point,” said WMU head coach Jim Culhane. “I thought Dan played great tonight, making big saves at crucial times.”
At Lawson Ice Arena Saturday night, the Spartans outshot the Broncos, 39-24, but Bellissimo made 36 saves in a 5-3 win.
"I thought we skated very hard tonight and took advantage of our opportunities," said Culhane. "We overcame some adversity in the first period and put together a nice effort for the second straight night."
Western Michigan was assessed two five-minute major checking from behind penalties, including one to defenseman Ryan Mahrle just 25 seconds into the game. MSU could only score once on the man-advantages as Corey Potter made it 1-0 early. Sean Weaver got the other checking from behind gate.
Mike Lesperance scored twice, his first two goals of the season, and Erickson a single to put WMU ahead, 3-1, after 20 minutes. Walton and Chris Frank added power-play goals in the second period while Fretter and Crowder finished out the scoring for the Spartans.
Dominic Vicari started in goal for MSU and was yanked after Walton's goal 3:50 into the second period. He made seven saves on 11 shots. Lerg finished up and made 12 saves.
With the loss, Michigan State drops to 5-5-3 overall and 2-4-3 in CCHA play, while the Broncos improve to 3-6-1 and 2-4-2. MSU is also on a six-game winless skid (0-4-2).
MSU returns to the ice this weekend for the College Hockey Showcase, featuring Wisconsin (Friday) and Minnesota (Saturday) at Munn. The Broncos travel to Colgate Nov. 25-26 for a pair of nonconference games.