EAST LANSING, Mich. - On a night that honored the senior class before its final home game, Jeff Lerg became the all-time CCHA saves leader and moved into second place on the NCAA's all-time save list with 35 stops as the Spartans fell, 2-1, to Notre Dame on Saturday night in the regular-season finale. MSU finishes the regular season with a 10-21-5 overall record, and will face Northern Michigan in the first round of the CCHA playoffs next weekend in Marquette.
Notre Dame got on the board with just over four seconds remaining in the opening period, when Erik Condra potted his third goal of the weekend. The goal came from a scramble in front of the net, and while Lerg made two saves prior, but Condra was able to poke the puck past the MSU netminder to send the Irish into the locker room with a lead. It came just a minute and a half after an Ian Cole tally was disallowed for goaltender interference.
Lerg was, once again, the difference in the game, as he made stop after stop to keep the Spartans close. With 12:52 showing on the clock, Lerg made a blocker save on a Christian Minella shot from the top of the right circle, which gave the netminder his 3,934th career stop, and the CCHA all-time saves record.
Lerg's perseverance kept the Spartans in the game, which allowed MSU to gain an equalizing tally at 14:29 of the middle frame. Jeff Petry streaked up the right side, circled behind the net and tried to stuff it at the near post; Jay Sprague was there to complete the play for his first goal of the season.
Notre Dame shattered the deadlock with a goal 7:21 into the final period when Christian Hanson received a pass in the left circle from Kyle Lawson on the far side, and lifted the puck over the blocker hand of Lerg.
Lerg's save on Calle Ridderwall with 4:17 remaining in the game pushed him to second place all-time on the all-time NCAA list. Lerg passed former Vermont goalie and current Boston Bruin Tim Thomas, who had 3,950 in his career.
MSU pulled Lerg in the final minute in an effort to gain an equalizer, but could not sneak one past Pearce to send the game to an extra period. Lerg finishes the regular season with 3,951 saves, which breaks Glen Healy's former CCHA mark of 3,933 that he set at Western Michigan from 1982-85. In the all-time NCAA record book, Lerg's total stands only behind Robbie Moore (Michigan), who had 4,434 in his career (1973-76).