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Sunday, October 26, 2008

MSU sweeps aside Northern Michigan

By Matt Mackinder/Michigan State Beat Writer

The Michigan State Spartans earned a much-needed four points this past weekend with a shootout win and normal win against Northern Michigan on home ice.

Friday night, Andrew Rowe scored twice in regulation for the Spartans to go along with goals from NMU's Ray Kaunisto and Matt Butcher in the 2-2 tie.

Matt Schepke scored on Wildcats' goalie Brian Stewart to put MSU ahead, 2-1, in the shootout and then Jeff Lerg stopped Mark Olver for the win.

In the standings, a shootout win counts as a tie.

"You won, so you think it is great," said MSU head coach Rick Comley of the shootout. "There were a lot of schools that were in favor and some that were against it and (NMU head coach) Walt (Kyle) was against it. I just believe you have to break ties. The fans love it and they are going to continue to love it. It's a great hockey game. Nationally, it is a tie, so no harm done. Tonight was a really good win for us, perhaps, more than normal.

Lerg finished with 24 saves for the Spartans and Stewart made 35 for the Wildcats.

Dustin Gazley added two assists for MSU.

Last night, Lerg pitched a 28-save shutout and freshman Daultan Leveille (pictured) scored his first collegiate goal in a 2-0 win.

Schepke added an empty-netter with eight seconds left for Michigan State.

“To get two wins against that team, this early in the year, I'm very happy with that,” said Comley. “Power play was a big part of the game. We got a goal, they had multiple opportunities. It decided the game.”

Stewart stopped 21 shots for NMU.

The Spartans (3-2-1, 1-0-1 CCHA) play a home-and-home with Western Michigan this weekend starting Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. Northern Michigan (2-3-1, 1-2-1 CCHA) hosts Notre Dame for two at the Berry Events Center.

Photo courtesy Michigan State Athletics

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