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Monday, November 06, 2006

Spartans and Wolverines do the splits

Nothing was really decided last weekend as Michigan and Michigan State each took a game in their long-standing rivalry.

The Spartans won Friday night in East Lansing, while U-M took Saturday's game in Ann Arbor.

Justin Abdelkader (top left) scored twice and added an assist, while Jim McKenzie, Nick Sucharski and Tim Kennedy each scored and added a helper as the Spartans rallied from an early deficit and defeated Michigan, 7-4, Friday evening at Munn Ice Arena. Chris Mueller and Matt Schepke (first with MSU) also scored.

Trailing 2-0 less than seven minutes into the game and 3-1 after a period of play, MSU reeled off five straight goals over a 26-minute span to put the game decisively out of reach for the visitors.

"On the fourth goal, (Kurt) Kivisto made a tremendous play to set up McKenzie," MSU head coach Rick Comley said. "To have your fourth line get a goal like that really gives your team a boost. I thought Michigan looked really tired in the second period. They kind of ran out of gas and we took it and ran with it."

Jeff Lerg made 17 saves for Michigan State.

Brandon Naurato scored a pair and David Rohlfs and Kevin Porter (left) also tallied for the Wolverines, who got 26 saves from Billy Sauer.

"It's very disappointing," said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. "It's embarrassing to come in here and play that way after we get off to such a good start and we're playing pretty well. I can't tell you that we out-played them that badly in the first period, but we made our chances count and we looked like we were ready to have an honest game."

Saturday night, U-M regrouped and took a 6-2 victory. Porter (two goals, two assists) and T.J. Hensick (goal, three assists) each tied career-highs in points in the win at Yost Ice Arena. Sauer made a season-high 34 saves in net. Along with Porter and Hensick, U-M goal scorers included Tim Miller, Andrew Cogliano and Jack Johnson.

The victory snapped a nine-game (0-4-5) winless streak against MSU that dated back to the 2004-05 season.

"This team has pride," said Berenson. "They know how good they can be, but they don't know how bad they can be. But I think they took a forward step tonight."

Kennedy scored both goals for the Spartans and Lerg took the loss making 19 saves. Freshman Bobby Jarosz made his collegiate debut in the third period and turned aside all eight shots he faced.

"One of the toughest things to do in this league is get a sweep," noted Comley. "I think we showed this weekend that we're still a work in progress and keep aiming to get better each week, each game. On the weekend, I thought we showed some good things, but we also saw some things that we need to address."

The two teams will meet again in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

Michigan (5-3-0, 2-2-0 CCHA) hosts Nebraska-Omaha this weekend, while MSU (4-2-0, 2-2-0 CCHA) hosts Ferris State tomorrow night.

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