Spartans Complete Sweep with 3-1 Victory at Alaska
Nov. 4, 2007
Fairbanks, Alaska - Michigan State completed its first road CCHA sweep of the season on Saturday night in Fairbanks, posting 3-1 victory over Alaska. The Spartans extended their winning streak to six games and kept their CCHA record perfect, extending its conference mark to 4-0 and 6-1 overall. Jeff Lerg made 11 of his 26 saves in the third period to preserve a tight game, while Daniel Vukovic and Tim Kennedy each had a goal and an assist on the night.
The homestanding Nanooks got the goal back at 12:33, knotting the score at one. Freshman Landon Novotney got his third goal in four games with a shot from the right circle, with assists going to Dustin Sather and Tyler Eckford.
Michigan State appeared to get a go-ahead tally at 14:59 from the stick of Ryan Turek, but the goal was waved off and the teams carried the 1-1 tie into the locker room after the opening frame.
Justin Abdelkader was whistled for a five-minute major early in the second period, but an extended power-play chance was negated by a tripping call to Alaska's Adam Naglich, and the Nanooks could not muster a shot on net during the remaining advantage time.
It appeared that the 1-1 deadlock would be taken into the second intermission, but Vukovic potted the eventual game-winner at the 18:43 mark, while the Spartans were skating on their second power-play chance. Vukovic's tally had assists credited to Nick Sucharski and Kennedy.
The Nanooks played tough in the third, but the Spartans too brought an offensive attack that put 12 shots on Alaska goalie Wylie Rogers. With their goaltender on the bench and pressing for an equalizer late in the game, the Nanooks saw Novotney whistled for goaltender interference at 19:28; it took Kennedy eight seconds on the ensuing power play to slide his team-leading sixth goal of the season into an empty net, with assists going to Petry and Vukovic.
MSU was 2-for-3 on the power play, while holding the Nanooks off the board in five man-advantage situations on the night. On the season, MSU is now 11-for-35 (31.4%) on the power play, and has scored on 11 of 44 power-play shots (25%).
Vukovic, the senior defenseman, had five points in the two-game sweep, scoring Saturday's game-winner and earning an assist on Kennedy's game-winner on Friday. He is the league's top-scoring defenseman,
Michigan State returns to the lower 48 on Sunday, and will spend the week preparing for a two-game non-conference set with Mercyhurst next weekend at Munn Arena. The series kicks off six straight home games for the defending National Champions - league-leading and top-ranked Miami comes in the following weekend for a two-game set, followed by College Hockey Showcase games against Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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