College Hockey Scoreboard from CHN

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spartans back on track, sweep UAF

Michigan State went above the .500 mark in conference play with a sweep of Alaska-Fairbanks at home last weekend.

The Spartans (12-8-5 overall, 6-5-4 CCHA) gave up just one goal all weekend as they rode to a 4-0 shutout Friday night and a 2-1 win on Saturday.

"You have to approach every game as if it's a playoff game," MSU defenseman Corey Potter said. "You just have to be determined and work hard. The will to win day in and day out is what we've got to keep going."

Tim Kennedy (above left) and Tim Crowder each had a goal and an assist and Jeff Lerg made 31 saves in Friday night's win. Chris Mueller and Jim McKenzie also scored for MSU.

The victory gave Spartans' head coach Rick Comley the 674th victory of his storied 33-year coaching career, good for a tie with former Clarkson and Boston College mentor Len Ceglarski for fifth place all-time in the NCAA annals.

"When you are a young coach and you look at those numbers, you think `Holy Mackerel'," laughed the coach after the game. "Len Ceglarski was a great coach and a super person. If you get into the top five, that is pretty good company."

Comley then took over the No. 5 spot all to himself Saturday with MSU's win, his 675th.

The victory gave the Spartans a season-best fourth straight win and also extended its unbeaten streak at home to six straight (5-0-1).

Justin Abdelkader and Dan Sturges scored and Kennedy assisted on both. Lerg was solid in goal and needed to make just 13 saves. But his biggest one came when the Nanooks had a premium chance tie the game five minutes into the third.

Curtis Fraser took a backdoor pass just off the right post. He one-timed the puck towards the net, but Lerg made a phenomenal pad save to keep it a one-goal game.

"I saw Fraser there in the slot waiting and I saw the player in the corner look in front," explained Lerg. "The puck slid under one of our defenseman's stick so I slid my pad over. Lucky he shot it on the ice and into my pad."

The Spartans host Michigan on Tuesday. Mueller will not be in the lineup as he was assessed a game disqualification for a fight with UAF's T.J. Campbell at the end of the game. But even so, Michigan State is pumped for Tuesday.

"We've got our core group back now," defenseman Tyler Howells said. "Everybody's back and everybody's healthy. Players are getting used to playing with each other."

The Michigan game, which will be televised live on FSN, will start at 7:35 p.m.

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