Saturday, March 2, 2024

Icers beat No. 1 Michigan, 5-2

First of two games this weekend ends in victory at Munn

February 23, 2008

Junior goaltender Jeff Lerg defends the goal Friday night in the game against Michigan at Munn Ice Arena. Lerg stopped 31 of Michigan’s 33 shots. The Spartans won 5-2.

Photo by Georgia Rhodes | The State News

Freshman defenseman Jeff Petry’s goal nearly two minutes into Friday’s game got the ball rolling for the MSU hockey team.

But an 18-second timespan in which two MSU goals were scored was all it took to put the nail in the coffin in Friday’s 5-2 victory over No. 1 Michigan at Munn Ice Arena.

Junior forwards Justin Abdelkader and Tim Kennedy scored within seconds of each other to put the Spartans up by three goals. Abdelkader’s shorthanded goal sailed over U-M goaltender Billy Sauer’s right shoulder and pumped up the 6,956-person crowd.

“I looked at the net and the puck was in there,” a surprised Abdelkader said. “I saw it go in, I tried shooting the puck and catching (Sauer) off guard, and I guess that’s what I did.”

Junior forward Tim Crowder also netted a goal for the Spartans.

And while MSU head coach Rick Comley said he’s pleased with a win over his collegiate archrivals, it wasn’t exactly a top-notch Michigan team playing. The Wolverines were missing their second leading goal scorer, Chad Kolarik, who injured his hamstring against Lake Superior.

“You could tell they really missed Kolarik,” Comley said.

“It wasn’t the best Michigan without Kolarik. You can’t play a game without an all-American and Hobey (Baker) candidate and not miss him.”

Scoring two goals in a short timespan is also difficult to overcome, he added.

“Anytime you beat Michigan, it’s good,” Comley said. “To me, it was intense (and) physical without being dirty, which is good for college hockey.

“The third goal was momentum for us, it was a deal breaker for them…Sets up a real barn burner for “Saturday).”

But the job’s only halfway done, senior captain Bryan Lerg said.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve had in a while,” said Lerg, who scored a goal. “...It’s such a big rivalry, everyone gets up for it. This is a team we mark on our schedule to play and we’ve got to win.”

The Spartans have earned five out of six series points and post a record of 2-0-1 against the Wolverines. The two squads head to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for Saturday’s game. The last time MSU and U-M played in the home of the Detroit Red Wings was during the 43rd annual Great Lakes Invitational. The Spartans placed a disappointing fourth but are not letting that affect Saturday’s game.

“We have to make sure we answer back to the Joe Louis,” Lerg said. “We play OK down there. No matter how we get it done, we’ve just got to get it done.

“There were a lot of big hits tonight, and I think they were trying to send a message to us that (Saturday’s) not going to be easy.”

The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Detroit.

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