Columbus, Ohio - Michigan State got a goal and an assist from Tim Crowder and a 27-save effort from Jeff Lerg as the Spartans extended their conference unbeaten streak to nine games (7-0-2) with a 4-1 victory over Ohio State in Columbus on Friday night. MSU is now 15-5-4, 11-2-2 CCHA; Ohio State falls to 7-16-2, 3-11-1 in conference games.
Michigan State remains unbeaten in CCHA road contests (6-0-1), and its only road loss came on opening night at North Dakota.
"It was a good road win," noted head coach Rick Comley. "Nothing comes easy in this league - there are no `easy' games. You have to fight for everything. We're happy to come out with a victory."
The Spartans wasted little time getting their power play working, getting on the board at 2:06. OSU freshman blueliner Corey Toy was whistled for interference, and MSU established themselves in the offensive zone. Crowder gathered the puck below the left circle and moved across the top of the crease, and goalie Joseph Palmer made the save on his offering. Bryan Lerg crashed the net and was able to poke the puck five-hole for the early lead. Crowder doubled the MSU advantage at the midpoint of the opening frame, putting back a rebound of a Matt Schepke shot at the right post.
Ohio State cut into the lead at 15:44 when Tommy Goebel zipped around the back of the net after leading a rush and managed to poke a loose puck past a prone Jeff Lerg for his 99th career point.
Nick Sucharski potted his third goal in as many games at the 4:09 mark of the second period, giving MSU a 3-1 lead. Chris Mueller dug the puck out of the left corner and tried to throw the puck into the slot, but it was intercepted, and promptly mishandled, by a defenseman at the inner cusp of the left circle. The puck laid there for Sucharski, who calmly carried the puck to the right side and deposited a backhander into a wide-open net.
The Buckeyes threatened with quality chances midway through the final period. Patrick Schafer ripped up the right side and put a laser on net, which was saved by Lerg. Nick Biondo tried the putback attempt, but Lerg kept the puck in front of him and made a quick pad save to keep OSU off the board.
Justin Abdelkader iced the game with his empty-netter with 25 seconds remaining as OSU had Palmer on the bench in favor of an extra skater.
The teams meet again on Saturday evening in Columbus, when the puck drops at 7:35. The game will be televised by FSN Detroit.