By Matt Mackinder/Michigan State Beat Writer
No offense generally means no wins and Michigan State found that out firsthand last weekend in Marquette as Northern Michigan took two convincing wins from the defending national champs.
It was the Nick Sirota showcase Friday night as he scored the first hat trick against MSU in more than two years to lead NMU past the Spartans, 3-1.
"We didn't play particularly well tonight," admitted MSU head coach Rick Comley after the game. "I thought we might have struggled a little to adjust to the bigger surface, but Northern did a good job of blocking shots. We just couldn't get them through."
Sirota's goals were even strength, shorthanded, and on the power play.
Jeff Dunne scored for then-No. 6 Michigan State to break up the shutout and Jeff Lerg and Bobby Jarosz, who played the third period, combined for 21 saves.
Brian Stewart kicked out 23 shots for the Wildcats.
“We knew what our competition is and they’re pretty big rivals,” Stewart said to USCHO. “We were all ready before the game and it was nice to see. But you could tell from the start of the game we were out to win.”
Saturday night, Stewart made 32 saves in the 3-0 shutout.
Matt Siddall scored twice and Mark Olver also tallied for NMU.
Lerg finished with 26 saves for Michigan State.
“The team did everything they had to do to block shots tonight,” Wildcats head coach Walt Kyle said of the ‘Cats’ defense, also to USCHO. “If you can imagine, getting hit by a puck is not a great thing and they did a good job getting themselves in front of it.”
Northern Michigan (12-15-3, 9-11-2 CCHA) is at Ohio State this weekend, while No. 8 Michigan State (18-8-5, 14-5-3 CCHA) will engage Western Michigan in a home-and-home series starting at Munn Ice Arena on Friday in a 7:05 start. The game will be televised by Comcast Local.