Spartans Knock Off Colgate, 6-3, in Home Opener

By: Michigan State University
By: Michigan State University

East Lansing, Mich. - Rick Comley Postgame Press Conference Senior captain Bryan Lerg (Livonia, Mich.) tied a career high with four assists while junior Matt Schepke (Warren, Mich) and freshman Dustin Gazley (Novi, Mich.) each scored twice as Michigan State rolled in its home opener, 6-3, over visiting Colgate. The Spartans raised their 2007 National Championship banner in a pre-game ceremony in front of 5,926 fans.

"I thought we played really, really well for the first 30 to 35 minutes, then got a little sloppy," noted head coach Rick Comley, who saw his team even its record at 1-1 on the season.

Michigan State jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period, and tacked on a pair in the first 2:29 in the second frame to jump out to a 5-0 lead and coast from there. Schepke was credited with the first Spartan goal, the first for MSU on the 2007-08 season, at 8:35 of the opening period - Daniel Vukovic unleashed a rocket from the right point that rebounded off the end boards, and Sucharski was on the doorstep to stuff it past Dekanich at the right post.

Gazley put up the first two goals of his collegiate career at 14:58 and 19:19 - the second a great play where he corralled a rebound at the right post. All alone in front of the net - no other skater was within 10 feet - Gazley moved right-to-left across the top of the crease with a nifty toe-drag and lifted the puck over the left leg of Dekanich.

Schepke tacked on his second at 1:42 of the middle period, and Nick Sucharski followed suit at 2:29 off an assist from freshman Corey Tropp, his first collegiate point. Schepke's goal had chased the Colgate netminder, as Dekanich made way for Justin Kowalkoski. The backup had no better fate, allowing Sucharski's tally less than a minute after entering the game.

Tyler Burton broke up the shutout at 14:02 of the period, with the teams skating four-on-four. He got assists from Jesse Winchester and Matt Torti on his second goal of the season. That cut the lead to 5-1 as the teams headed to the second intermission

Justin Abdelkader put his first of the season on the board at the four minute mark of the final frame, getting the "09 line" its first points of the season as an assist went to linemate Tim Crowder and freshman blueliner Jeff Petry.

Colgate answered with a goal at 11:36, as Brian Day took a cross-crease pass from Joe DiBello and beat Jeff Lerg low stick-side. The Raiders tacked on another power-play goal at 14:21, credited to Jason Williams.

Jeff Lerg made 22 saves in the winning effort, while Mark Dekanich made six saves and allowed four goals in 21:42 of work. Kowalkoski made 17 saves in just under 39 minutes between the pipes.

The two teams will face off again on Saturday at Munn Ice Arena. Gametime is 7 p.m.


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