Dec. 2, 2006
East Lansing, Mich. - Ohio State scored twice shorthanded on a single minor penalty and tacked on a pair of power play tallies to take a 4-1 victory at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday evening and salvage a split in the season series. Michigan State falls to 7-7-1 with the loss, 5-5-1 in the CCHA; Ohio State improves to 5-8-3, 5-5-2 in conference play.
The Spartans continued a troubling trend of allowing goals in the first and final minute of a period, only compounded by allowing the visitors to score a pair of shorthanded tallies on the same penalty to Johann Kroll. In the final minute of the opening frame, Domenic Maiani flipped a pass from Kenny Bernard over the glove hand of Jeff Lerg with just 11.2 seconds remaining, and the Buckeyes followed that w ith an unassisted tally by Bryce Anderson 42 seconds into the middle frame.
The Buckeyes tacked on a power-play goal at 10:28 to make the lead 3-0. Junior Matt McIlvane's rip from the left point found its way through traffic and beat Jeff Lerg stick-side for McIlvane's sixth tally of the season. The goal chased Lerg from the crease, as freshman Bobby Jarosz made his first career appearance at Munn Ice Arena.
The Spartans broke up the shutout just under two minutes into the final period, as Bryan Lerg put back a rebound as the Spartans skated on the power play. OSU defenseman Tyson Strachan was whistled for a five-minute major for checking winger Brandon Warner from behind, putting the Spartans on the power play for the final minutes of the second period and the opening minutes of the final frame. With the Spartans pressing in the zone, Buckeye goalie Joe Palmer made back-to-back saves to keep the MSU attack at bay, but Lerg collected the rebound off of Chris Mueller's offering and lifted it into the upper right corner of the net over Palmer's outstretched glove hand at 1:47.
Michigan State came at their visitors with waves of offense, putting 15 shots on net in the third period (29 total over the final two frames), but Palmer was up to the task. The two-period shot total was more shots than the Spartans had put on net in any of their last eight games, but despite a concerted effort, the Buckeye defense kept Michigan State from getting back into the game.
The final goal of the game came at 18:51, when Andrew Schembri came in on a two-on-one break on the power play and sniped the puck over the left, glove-hand shoulder of Jarosz for the final 4-1 margin. The freshman made 14 saves and allowed one goal in his home debut, while Jeff Lerg made 18 stops in the first 30 minutes. Joe Palmer made 39 saves to earn first star honors for the game.
Michigan State will take to the road for the final games before the holiday break, playing at Northern Michigan next Friday and Saturday in 7:35 starts.
NOTES: Bryan Lerg played in his 100th career game in a Spartan uniform, while Nick Sucharski made his 50th career appearance ... The Buckeyes' two shorthanded goals were the fourth and fifth consecutive tallies that MSU has allowed either in the first or final minute of a period, dating back to the game at Wisconsin last Saturday ... MSU's 40 shots on goal were a season high, besting the 38 against Sacred Heart earlier in the season ...