Spartan Hockey Shutout At Northern Michigan, 3-0

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MARQUETTE, Mich. - Michigan State (18-8-5, 14-5-3) suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of Northern Michigan on Saturday night, as Matt Siddall scored twice to spark the homestanding Wildcats. MSU's offense sputtered on the weekend, managing only a late tally in Friday's loss. Northern Michigan recorded its first series sweep of the season.

The game looked like it was going to follow last night's penalty-filled script, as NMU's Matt Butcher was whistled for a five-minute major and was assessed a game misconduct as the game was just five minutes old. Crowder followed with an interference penalty 30 seconds later, putting the teams four-on-four, and with just three seconds remaining in Crowder's penalty, Matt Siddall was whistled for a trip, giving the Spartans a five-on-three for nearly a full two minutes. The host Wildcats were able to kill off the 2:27 of the Spartan man advantage, however.

The Wildcats drew first blood for the second straight evening, as Siddall's laser from the left circle beat Jeff Lerg over his left shoulder with two minutes to play in the period. Siddall broke in with winger Gregor Hanson on the play, and the freshman earned the assist.

A flurry of penalties were called in the final two minutes of that first period - two for each team as coincidentals, then one with just 15 seconds left to Justin Abdelkader for contact to the head-roughing that put the Wildcats on the power play to open the middle period. MSU was solid on the kill; however, and kept NMU off the board.

Siddall was credited with NMU's second goal of the night at 17:49 of the second. Jeff Lerg made a save on his offering, and the puck was trickling through the crease to the vacant left side. Jeff Dunne attempted to pounce on the puck, and put it into a wide-open net to double the home-team lead.

Michigan State's best period of hockey on the weekend was the third frame of Saturday's tilt. The Spartans sustained pressure in the offensive zone through most of the opening half of the frame, getting pucks on net and creating chances. With NMU winger Phil Fox in the box on a hooking call, Crowder missed a chance on a wide-open net midway through the advantage, and two blasts by Jeff Petry to get the puck low had opportunities to be tipped by MSU players in front. However, on a three-on-one rush the other way as soon as the penalty expired, Mark Olver roofed a shot over Jeff Lerg to push the NMU lead to the final 3-0 margin. Lerg finished with 26 saves, while Brian Stewart had 32 in the shutout.

Michigan State will engage Western Michigan in a home-and-home series next weekend, with the teams facing off at Munn Ice Arena on Friday in a 7:05 start. The game will be televised by Comcast Local.

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