By Matt Mackinder/Michigan State Beat Writer
It might be a case of too little, too late for the Michigan State Spartans, but at this point in the season, wins are everything.
Last weekend at home, MSU tied Ohio State Friday night, but then won in a shootout, and then defeated the Buckeyes Saturday night.
"We haven't had very many fun Sundays recently," Spartans head coach Rick Comley said. "The kids really deserve a lot of credit. We had a really depleted lineup (Saturday) night. It's reinforcing that Jeff (Lerg) has been sending the right message and you try to coach in a positive way, despite everything that has gone on. All of a sudden you get two wins against a nationally-ranked team that is in the top four in the league and you get excited about another week. We haven't been able to sing the fight song in the locker room too much - we only sing it after two wins."
Friday night, Brett Perlini's first NCAA goal and point was all MSU could muster, but Lerg made 36 saves and Kurt Kivisto and Ben Warda tallied in the shootout for a 2-1 win.
Then Saturday afternoon, Michigan State got a 33-save performance from Lerg and a game-winning power-play tally from Jeff Petry in the final four minutes to record a 2-1 victory.
Joey Shean scored 4:24 into the game for MSU, now 9-18-5 overall and 6-14-4-3 in the CCHA.
"We've had a lot of times where we've been down, but not out, and now we're starting to fight back," Lerg said. "You need a positive here and there to just keep you in the right mental state and that's what happened this weekend and actually the last couple weekends. We've been playing some pretty solid hockey and that's what we need to do. Hopefully, we peak at the right time, because it doesn't really matter until the playoffs start."
The Spartans play a home-and-home set with Bowling Green next weekend starting Friday night in East Lansing.