Spartan Icers Take Down Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Bryan Lerg and the rest of Michigan State's seniors had never won at archrival Michigan. His early goal and plenty of help from his family changed that.
Bryan scored a power-play goal Friday and cousin Jeff made 26 saves and earned his second straight shutout to help the Spartans end the top-ranked Wolverines' nine-game winning streak, 1-0.
"That's all we talked about all week," Bryan Lerg said of the Spartans' streak of futility at Yost Ice Arena, which stretched to Feb. 28, 2003. "This is a game we wanted to come in and win."
The victory, their third straight, drew the Spartans (17-5-4) to within two points of Central Collegiate Hockey Association co-leaders Michigan and Miami (Ohio).
Jeff Lerg made eight saves in the final period, including a shot by Travis Turnbull that glanced off his left pad with three seconds to play. Lerg, who blanked Ohio State six days ago, has not allowed a goal in his last 1:64.16 between the pipes.
"It was our biggest test," said Spartans coach Rick Comley, whose team is 5-0-2 since being swept at the Great Lakes Invitational in late December.
"Jeff came up really big later in the game and we didn't give them many odd-man rushes."
The Wolverines (22-3-0), the unanimous top team in both national polls, got few good scoring chances against the defending national champions. Michigan's two power plays yielded a handful of shots but didn't faze the Spartans, whose penalty-killing unit hasn't allowed a goal in eight games.
"We knew the power play could be a factor, and it was," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "They had just one goal and that's all it took in this game."
The Wolverines had 67 total shots -- 13 more than their hosts -- but 24 were off target and 17 more were blocked by Spartan defenders.
Michigan State had the man advantage late in the first period when Bryan Lerg punched in his 12th goal of the season, a rebound of Chris Mueller's miss in front of the net. A video replay later showed that Michigan's Mark Mitera inadvertently shot the puck into his own net.
"The goals can be ugly," Berenson said. "It doesn't really matter. That's hockey."
Michigan State's defense and Jeff Lerg took over from there, and the normally speedy Wolverines frequently had trouble setting up plays in the Spartans' end.
"The ice was kind of choppy tonight," said Jeff Lerg, who earned his eighth career shutout. "They bring a lot of speed but tonight they weren't able to set up a lot of plays."
Lerg handed the Wolverines their last shutout, a 2-0 decision Jan. 17, 2006, at East Lansing.
Michigan's Billy Sauer saw a seven-game winning streak ended despite 27 saves. The Wolverines, off to the best start in school history, hadn't lost since visiting Ohio State defeated them 3-2 on Nov. 30.
"This was the first real adversity we have faced all year," Michigan forward Chad Kolarik said. "Some of the guys are upset and they let it get to them.
"The only way we are going to win games is if we play as a team."
The Spartans, ranked fifth and sixth in the two polls, host the Wolverines on Saturday.

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