East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State and Lake Superior State skated to a feisty 3-3 tie at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday afternoon, behind 34 saves by Jeff Lerg and 36 from LSSU netminder Brian Mahoney-Wilson. Bryan Lerg, Chris Mueller, and Michael Ratchuk tallied for the Spartans, who stand at 12-5-3, 9-2-1 in CCHA play. The teans combined for nearly 50 penalty minutes in the game.
LSSU jumped on the board less than a minute into the game to take their first lead of the series. Brian Mahoney-Wilson made a big save on Chris Mueller when he and Tim Kennedy broke in on a 2-on-1 just 12 seconds into the game - and on the ensuing faceoff, the Lakers controlled the puck ands got it to Simon Gysbers at the left point. He skated to the top of the left circle and sent the puck netward, where it was deflected in front by Nathan Perkovich for the sophomore's 11th goal of the season. Tim Kennedy had a chance to tie the game with four minutes elapsed when he streaked in on a breakaway, but Mahoney-Wilson made the stick-hand save to keep the Spartans off the board.
MSU turned a deficit into a 2-1 lead with goals just over a minute apart late in the frame. Jeff Dunne initiated the first play with a blast from the left point, which went into traffic in front of the net. Tim Crowder got a stick on it, but Mahoney-Wilson made the save. Bryan Lerg then backhanded the loose puck into a wide-open right side. The second goal, scored at 15:23, came off a faceoff in the offensive zone - Chris Mueller won the draw back to Jeff Petry at the right point, and his slapshot found its way through the screen in front and deflected off Mueller for the senior's fifth tally of the season.
The Lakers, who had been outshot 22-10 in the opening frame, had the better of the scoring chances in the second period - Jeff Lerg made a great save on a Jason Blain point-blank shot four minutes in, and got some help from the crossbar at 12:30 on a Chad Nehring shot. The Lakers finally got an equalizer at 15:53, when a shot by Steven Kaunisto at the half-wall got tipped en route off the stick of an MSU defender and eluded Jeff Lerg under his glove-hand.
Rick Schofield scored at the 1:12 mark of the third period to give the Lakers a lead, 3-2 - but the advantage was short-lived, as Ratchuk evened the game at 4:16. The puck came across the slot from Petry, and Ratchuk wheeled to slap it at the net for the tying goal.
Michigan State returns to conference action on Friday, when it opens a home-and-home series with Notre Dame. The teams face off at 7:05 in a game televised by FSN Detroit.