The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry will renew again tomorrow night in the finals of the Great Lakes Invitational after the Spartans defeated North Dakota, 2-1, in the nightcap of the tournament tonight at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Michigan blanked Michigan Tech, 5-0, in the first game.
Matt Schepke scored both goals for MSU (5-11-3) and Jeff Lerg made 38 saves. Corey Tropp assisted on both goals as MSU snapped an 11-game winless skid dating back to Nov. 1.
Schepke leads the Spartans with nine goals on the season.
“It felt really good to get the first goal and see the energy on the bench,” Schepke said. “The bench just erupted and you could tell that first goal electrified the bench and the guys were ready to go. It felt good to get the first one and get the whole team going.”
With an assist on Schepke's first goal, sophomore Joey Shean picked up his first NCAA point.
Matt Frattin tallied the lone goal for the Fighting Sioux (9-9-1), who got a 28-save performance from Brad Eidsness.
“I don’t want to take anything away from their performance,” North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I feel they’re a team that knows how to win. There are certainly a lot of guys in that locker room who know how to win, but certainly I’m not happy with our performance. It starts with the coaches and goes down from there.”
U-M and MSU will meet up for the 44th annual GLI championship tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m. Michigan Tech and North Dakota play for third place in an all-WCHA matchup at 3:05 p.m.
Tim Kennedy, who opted to forego his final collegiate season with Michigan State in favor of signing with the Buffalo Sabres in the offseason, made his NHL debut tonight with Buffalo in a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders. Kennedy saw 11:04 of ice time.