East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State snapped a two-game losing streak with a convincing 8-2 victory over Lake Superior State at Munn Arena on Friday night. Thirteen Spartan players had points and seven recorded multiple-point efforts as MSU improved to 13-5-2, 9-2-0 CCHA. LSSU falls to 2-12-3, 0-9-2 in conference games. Matt Schepke had a goal and three assists, while Tim Crowder and Michael Ratchuk each had two goals and an assist on the night.
Lake State had been idle since Dec. 8, and Michigan State was looking to bounce back from a disappointing showing at last week's Great Lakes Invitational. The Spartans, sporting juggled lines in an effort to provide a scoring spark, potted the first goal of the game 1:08 into the contest. Crowder opened the scoring when he corralled the puck in the right circle and potted his seventh goal of the season.
The teams traded goals while MSU skated on the power play less than four minutes into the game. With John Scrymgeour in the box on a holding call, Zak McVoy got the puck deep in the zone. Moving across the top of the crease, he backhanded a shot under the stick hand of a sprawling Jeff Lerg to knot the game at one with his shorthanded tally at 4:42.
MSU regained the lead less than a minute later, when Nick Sucharski's blast from the point was redirected in front by Crowder, then poked home by Schepke.
MSU pushed its lead to 4-1 by the end of the period, first as Bryan Lerg redirected a Daniel Vukovic blast on the power play at 12:44; Ratchuk pushed the lead to three at 17:09 with a nifty backhanded goal that he lifted over the leg pad of LSSU goalie Pat Inglis. The teams each had 11 shots in the frame, but the Spartans carried the 4-1 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
The top line got on the board midway through the middle frame. Chris Mueller dug it out of the corner and dished to Justin Abdelkader on the doorstep, and the junior pushed it through the legs of Inglis. Ratchuk got his second of the night at 16:50, making a nifty move at the left point with his right skate to keep the puck in the zone then one-timing it through the defenseman's legs to beat Inglis five-hole.
The Lakers cut into the lead at 18:57 of the second to make it a 6-2 game at the second intermission. Defenseman Justin Gutwald took a feed from Josh Sim at the right point and blasted the puck through a screen.
Lake Superior State changed goalies for the third period, and Brian Mahoney-Wilson was tested almost immediately with an Abdelkader shorthanded rocket. He came up on the short end, however, when Tim Crowder potted his second of the night at 2:15, off assists from Bryan Lerg and Jeff Petry. Dustin Gazley set up Corey Tropp at 14:57 to further add to the lead
Jeff Lerg made 29 saves in just over 50 minutes of action before making way for Bobby Jarosz, who had three saves in seven minutes of work.
The teams will meet again on Saturday, when the puck drops at 5:05 at Munn Arena. The game will be televised by FSN Detroit.