Wolverines Rally to Tie Spartans at Joe Louis Arena
 
 
 
Jeff Lerg made 54 big saves
 
Jeff Lerg made 54 big saves
 
 

Feb. 10, 2007

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Detroit, Mich. - Michigan got the game-tying goal with just 51 seconds remaining in regulation to complete a two-goal comeback and forge a 3-3 tie with Michigan State on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Chris Summers had a pair of goals and assisted on Andrew Cogliano's game-tying tally for the Wolverines, while Justin Abdelkader scored twice and Jeff Lerg made a career-best 54 saves for the Spartans.

The game-tying tally came off a faceoff play. Cogliano won the faceoff at the left dot and got the puck low for Summers. Summers, below the goalline, put a tape-to-tape pass on the stick of a crashing Cogliano, who flipped it past Jeff Lerg for the equalizing tally.

The late surge by Michigan - who outshot MSU by a 17-3 margin in the third period and 6-0 in the overtime session - yielded a pair of goals in the final frame. Lerg, who made 33 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over Ferris State on Friday, was the difference for the Spartans, consistently turning away scoring chances.

Michigan State claimed an early lead, as it jumped on the board after the midpoint of the first period. The Wolverines attempted a clear out of their zone, but Chris Snavely kept it in at the right point. The puck sat loose high in the right circle, and was collected by Justin Abdelkader. The sophomore centerman calmly collected the puck, took one stride netward, and wristed a shot that beat Billy Sauer glove-side.

The Spartans added to their lead at the 13-minute mark. MSU worked the puck low in the offensive zone. A botched UM clearing attempt again led to the goal - Spartan blueliner Ethan Graham kept it in the zone at the left point and fired a shot that was saved by Sauer. Bryan Lerg collected the rebound at the left dot and wristed it past the stick-hand of Sauer for his team-best 20th goal of the season.

 

 

The Spartans came close to a 3-0 advantage with a little over three minutes remaining, but Mike Ratchuk's rocket clanged off the right post to help out Sauer.

Abdelkader's second goal of the night extended the MSU lead to 3-0 at the 7:57 mark of the middle frame. With Jeff Dunne in the box on a hooking call, the Spartan kill - which had extinguished 41 of 44 chances to that point - continued to be aggressive. Abdelkader stripped the puck from Michigan centerman Andrew Cogliano at the checkered red and broke in alone on the shorthanded breakaway. Abdelkader went five-hole on Sauer for his second goal of the night.

Michigan got the goal back right after the penalty expired. Steve Kampfer corralled an MSU clearing attempt at the right point and fired a rocket on net that was saved by Jeff Lerg. The rebound bounced out to the left side, for an opportunistic Chris Summers, who had a wide-open left side to deposit his second goal of the season.

Summers potted his second of the night just 1:41 into the final period to pull the Wolverines within a goal when he redirected a rebound off a Jeff Lerg save. Lerg made the initial save on Cogliano on the Michigan rush, and Summers popped the loose puck over the stick hand of Lerg.

The Spartans return to action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Big Rapids to complete the season series with Ferris State. Gametime is 7:35 p.m. in a contest that will be aired on FSN Detroit.

NOTES: Jeff Lerg's 54-save effort was his career best, improving on the 45-save effort he had against Harvard in the GLI semifinals back in December. He remains unbeaten at Joe Louis Arena (4-0-3) ... Bryan Lerg has now scored a goal in six straight games, his career best ... The MSU penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4, and went 11-for-11 on the weekend with a shorthanded tally ... The tie denied the Spartans a tie for second place in the league standings. Notre Dame leads with 40 points, followed by Miami (34), Michigan (33) and the Spartans (31). MSU has a game in hand on both Notre Dame and Michigan, and three on the Red Hawks. The Spartans' game Tuesday at Ferris State will pull them even with Wolverines and Irish ... The Spartans are 3-5-1 against ranked teams this year ... The series with Michigan this season is deadlocked, 2-2-1 ... MSU allowed two third-period goals for the first time since Dec. 8 against Northern Michigan ... Michigan State has played three consecutive overtime games, tying two ... Six of the last eight MSU games have been settled by a goal or less ... Jeff Lerg took over the overall Perani Cup points lead after being named the first star in both contests this weekend.