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#10 Spartans Sweep #2 Miami

Written by Matt Moss

It was a great weekend to be a Spartan, especially if you were a hockey fan. Michigan State swept the Miami University Redhawks by a score of 3-2 on Friday, February 17 and 3-1 on Saturday, February 18. State has been the only team to beat the Redhawks in two games straight. Keep in mind Miami clinched everything they could have, so no ramifications were on the line for them.

At Friday’s game, MSU got off to a hot start, scoring the first three goals of the game. Freshman forward Tim Crowder scored in the first period, sophomore forward Bryan Lerg in the second and freshman forward Nick Sucharski in the third. After MSU’s final goal, the Redhawks decided to step up and scored two goals within seven minutes of each other. Sophomore forward Nathan Davis scored at 6:55 in the third period and senior forward Matt Davis at 13:42.

Miami didn’t really have any other opportunities after that to tie the game, especially not in the penalty department. There were only six penalties called throughout the game. Each team had three penalties and none were called on MSU after Miami scored their second goal.

Miami, who was rotating their goalies the whole year, went with sophomore goalie Charlie Effienger Friday and freshman goalie Jeff Zatkoff on Saturday.

Saturday’s game had a lot of emotion, as it was senior night at Munn. Before the game, MSU seniors, David Booth, Colton Fretter, Chad Hontvet, Jared Nightingale and Corey Potter were all honored for their time at Michigan State.

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Miami came out aggressive as sophomore forward Ryan Jones scored at 4:25 in the first period. Later in the first, the Spartans tied the game at 14:33 with a Chris Snavely power-play goal.

The second period was a bump and grind period as both teams went up and down the ice. Miami only had four shots on goal during and MSU had nine, therefore defense played a huge role in determining the winner. Late in the period, the Spartans came up big with two goals to secure the series sweep, junior forward Tyler Howells scored at 18:12 in the period and got help from teammates Chris Mueller and Colton Fretter. Right after that, MSU captain and unior forward Drew Miller scored his 11th goal of the season as Tyler Howells passed him the puck as he was streaking down the center of the ice.

MSU went into the third period with all the momentum and never let it slip away, as they held Miami to six scoreless shots. The Redhawks got a little antsy at the end of the game when they picked up two penalties at 17:55 and 19:13 in the third period.

With the win on Saturday, the Spartans clinched a first-round bye and home ice advantage in the CCHA playoffs. Heading into the series, the only other team that had clinched anything similar to State was Miami.

Michigan State head coach Rick Comley said that Miami wasn’t really playing for anythingeven though it was “playoff-type hockey” and sweeping Miami “helps us very much nationally.”

Michigan State freshman goalie Jeff Lerg won both games over the weekend, improving his record to 11-4-5 on the season.