Nov. 10, 2006
Big Rapids, Mich. - Michigan State got three-point outings from juniors Bryan Lerg and Chris Mueller and a a 35-save shutout from Jeff Lerg between the pipes for a 6-0 victory at Ferris State on Friday evening. The Spartans snapped a three-game winless skid (0-1-2) against the Bulldogs, and improved to 5-2-1 (3-2-1 CCHA) with the victory. The Spartans got three power-play goals in their first road victory of the season.
The Spartans got off to a quick start, putting two goals on the board 30 seconds apart before the five-minute mark of the opening period. The first tally came at 4:13 on the power play, initiating in the high slot as Bryan Lerg corralled the puck and got it down to Jim McKenzie low in the left circle. McKenzie found Chris Mueller camped at the right post, and Mueller knocked in his third goal of the season.
Michigan State capitalized on the momentum, as Tim Kennedy batted his sixth goal of the season out of midair off a rebound to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead that they would take into the intermission.
The Spartans added a second power-play goal on their third opportunity, which came early in the middle frame when freshman Mike Ratchuk received the puck at the right point and fired a slapshot that beat goalie Mitch O'Keefe high glove-side after caroming off his shoulder. Abdelkader and Crowder were credited with assists.
Bryan Lerg snapped a three-game goal-scoring drought with a tally at 6:39. Mueller fed his winger at the bottom of the right circle, and Lerg had a wide-open right side into which to deposit his fourth tally of the season.
The host Bulldogs had their best chance of the middle frame when blueliner Jim Jorgenson appeared to have Jeff Lerg beat, but his offering went over Lerg's right shoulder and clanged off the crossbar. Lerg was outstanding in the period, staving off attempt after attempt, making a season-best 18 saves in the middle frame.
Ferris had a chance to get back in the game midway through the final period, as Tyler Howells and Jay Sprague were whistled for penalties just 40 seconds apart, giving the host Bulldogs an extended 5-on-3. The Spartan defenders were up to the task, despite Dan Vukovic losing his stick early, leaving just Bryan Lerg and Brandon Gentile armed in the defensive zone. While Joe VanCulin had a shot ring off the crossbar, that was as close as the Bulldogs would get to a score.
As soon as Sprague's penalty expired, Bryan Lerg got sprung from the neutral zone for a highlight-reel tally - his second of the night - at 11:57. He broke across the blueline and shook off the defenders, and snuck it past O'Keefe for his fifth of the season, off assists from McKenzie and Mueller.
Michigan State iced the scoring with a power-play goal from Matt Schepke with just under a minute and a half remaining in the game.
NOTES: Michigan State earned its first road victory of the season ... Michigan State has scored a power-play tally in six straight games ... Tim Kennedy scored a goal for the fifth straight game, a career best ... Chris Mueller has at least a point in five of the last six games (3-4-7), and his power-play goal in the first period was his 50th career point ... Mike Ratchuk had his first career multiple-point night ... Tim Crowder has 2-5-7 in his last five games ... Jeff Lerg got his first shutout since a 1-0 win over New Hampshire in last year's NCAA tournament ...