Spartans Head to CCHA Finals

Caleb Wojcik

Written by Caleb Wojcik
Playing the University of Michigan for the fourth time of the season gave the Spartans a strong semi-final win to advance to the finals of the CCHA playoffs. Led by a stellar performance in goal by Freshman Jeff Lerg (25 Saves, One Goal Allowed) and an unexpected goal from the team’s fourth line boosted the Spartans to a 4-1 victory.

Michigan started the game with a 1-0 lead after senior forward Andrew Ebbet squeaked in a lose puck off the post past Lerg 7:25 into the first period. The Spartans responded less then a minute and a half later on a power play. Freshmen forward Tim Crowder put back a slap shot by senior defensemen Chris Potter to tie the game 1-1.

Some college hockey teams get into the postseason and will keep their fourth line on the bench, too afraid to play them. Spartan Coach Rick Comley has seen his fourth line play strong the whole season, especially early in the season when some of the scholarship players were not able to carry the team. By having confidence in his whole team, Comley has shown how great a coach he really is. Michigan State’s fourth line put the Spartans up 2-1 late in the second period with a loose puck goal by sophomore forward Zak McClellan.

The third period was a strong defensive battle for the Spartans as they survived a few shots off of their post and Michigan power plays. Lerg made some incredible third period saves to keep the Wolverines from tying the game.

Spartan sophomore forward Bryan Lerg score with just over two minutes to go in the third period to give Michigan State breathing room. Crowder added quick goal off a faceoff with just thirty seconds remaining so seal the game 4-1.

The Spartans now head to meet the regular season CCHA champion Miami (Ohio) at Joe Louis Arena in the finals. It will be a CCHA record 15th appearance in the Championship Game as they go for their 11th CCHA Tournament Championship (also a record).

Written by Matt Moss

The Michigan State hockey team beat rival Michigan 4-1, in the semifinals of the CCHA tournament Friday in Detroit. With the win the Spartans move on in the tournament and will play Miami on Saturday, for the league
championship.
MSU started off cold, but U of M was even worse as they only had three shots on goal during the first period and one of them was a goal. Wolverine senior forward Andrew Ebbett scored at 7:26 of the first period, putting U of M up 1-0.

MSU wouldn’t wait long to tie up the game, as freshman forward Tim Crowder scored one of his two power play goals on the night at 8:46 of the first period, making it a 1-1 game. Towards the end of the period, MSU sophomore forward Zak McClellan scored at 16:45 of the first period, to send to the Spartans into the intermission up 2-1.

The second period of play didn’t see any goals and only three penalties, one on U of M and two on MSU. U of M did increase their shots on goal as they had ten, while MSU had nine during the second and first periods.

The Spartans came out in the third to close out the game, scoring two goals in the period. Sophomore forward Chris Mueller assisted on both of the Spartan goals. The first goal during the third, sealed the game for the Spartans, when sophomore forward Bryan Lerg scored at 17:44 of the third period, making it 3-1 MSU.

U of M once again couldn’t get anything going and Tim Crowder of MSU got his second power play goal of the night at 19:28 of the third, giving the game a final score of 4-1 in favor of MSU. MSU freshman goalie Jeff Lerg made 25 saves on 26 shots during the game.

Saturdays game will be Michigan State's 15th CCHA championship game appearance, which is a league record and their first since 2002. If MSU wins they will have 11 CCHA Tournament crowns, which is also a league record. The game is Saturday, March 18 at 7:05 at Joe Louis Arena, in Detroit, Michigan.

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