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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spartans lose, rebound vs. Mass.-Lowell

By Matt Mackinder/Michigan State Beat Writer

It wasn't the way Michigan State wanted to open their home schedule, but getting a split last weekend against Massachusetts-Lowell is at least better than nothing.

MSU was blanked Thursday night, 3-0, only to rebound and post a 2-1 win Friday night.

"I think it was really important (to get the win Friday)," said Spartans head coach Rick Comley. "As you know, in hockey, memories are really short - for our fans, for everybody. Everybody deals with 2-2 now because of the schedule, but everyone's OK now. They like what they see and they like these young kids and it's a good emotional win at home."

Freshman Drew Palmisano (pictured) earned his first collegiate win in net with a 21-save outing. Jeff Lerg played Thursday night and made 27 saves. Comley said starting Palmisano Friday was to have the players prove they could win without demanding too much out of Lerg.

"My fear was that these kids were relying so much on Jeff," Comley said. "They had to prove to themselves that they could win without him. That's what my hope was, but there's no guarantee that's going to happen. But that's what my hope was."

"I felt really relaxed," said Palmisano, last year's USA Hockey Goaltender of the Year with the USHL's Omaha Lancers. "The defense did a good job, and the forwards did a good job of playing down in their end for most of the game which made my job a lot easier. They blocked a lot of shots for me so I didn't have to be too big tonight."

Tim Crowder and Ben Warda (first NCAA goal) scored power-play goals 16 seconds apart in the third period to come from behind Friday night.

The Spartans host Northern Michigan this weekend at home.

"Northern is a team that gives us trouble, because they're big, they're strong, they're older," added Comley. "Our average age is 20-point-something and theirs is probably 27."

Photo courtesy Michigan State Athletics

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