Spartans Rebound With 2-0 Shutout of Fifth-Ranked Notre Dame
Bryan Lerg, Crowder notch goals;
Nov. 18, 2006
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State got a 25-save shutout from sophomore netminder Jeff Lerg - his second in two weeks - to post a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday evening. Bryan Lerg and Tim Crowder potted goals for Michigan State, which remains unbeaten on its home ice this season (5-0-1) and is now 6-3-1 overall, 4-3-1 in CCHA play. The loss snaps Notre Dame's unbeaten streak at nine games (8-0-1) and drops their overall mark to 9-2-1, and gives the Irish their first loss in CCHA play (4-1-1).
After the teams skated through a scoreless opening frame for the second straight night, the Spartans struck with a power play marker early in the second period. Jim McKenzie found Mike Ratchuk at the right point, and he fired a slapshot netward. Bryan Lerg, stationed at the right post, tipped it in front and beat Brown glove-side for his team-leading seventh marker of the year.
The Spartans doubled their lead 1:18 into the final frame with a strike generated by its all-sophomore line. Justin Abdelkader corralled the puck in the neutral zone off a feed from Tim Kennedy and brought the puck into the offensive zone up the near wall. The centerman put a drop pass onto the stick of Tim Crowder on the top of the right circle, and Crowder wristed a shot through the Notre Dame defense which beat Brown over his right shoulder.
Jeff Lerg made a critical stop with just under five minutes remaining in the game, with the Irish were skating on the power play. Notre Dame forward Erik Condra - like Lerg, a Livonia, Mich. native, where the two grew up playing hockey together - had two putback attempts at the left post, but Jeff Lerg stood his ground, and denied the winger and kept the Irish off the board.
Notre Dame pulled Brown for the final 1:18 in hopes of breaking up the shutout, but Jeff Lerg was outstanding, turning away their final attempts to preserve the shutout, his second of the year and fifth of his career.
The Spartans were outshot 25-17, their lowest shot total of the season. The MSU penalty kill fended off all six attempts by the Irish, while its power play was 1-for-6 against the nation's top penalty kill.
NOTES: Bryan Lerg has scored in each of the last three games, and has four goals in that span to go with one assists. He leads the team with seven goals ... The Spartans are now 5-0-1 when scoring first and are a perfect 5-0 when leading after the first period ... Michigan State has held an opponent without a power play goal in three of their ten games this season and sees it's penalty kill at .872 (41 of 47) on the year.