Michigan State Advances To The Frozen Four

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Chris Mueller and Tim Kennedy scored power play goals to lift Michigan State to a 2-1 win over Notre Dame Saturday night in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game.
Jeff Lerg had 19 saves for the Spartans, who won their first regional title since 2001. Michigan State (24-13-3) advances to the NCAA Frozen Four April 5-7 in St. Louis. It will be the Spartans' 11th career trip to the Frozen Four and the first time since 2003 that the Central Collegiate Hockey Association will send a team to that event.
The loss broke a six-game winning streak for the top-seeded Irish (32-7-3), who had only lost once in their previous 16 outings.
Both teams had a power play opportunity in a scoreless first period. It appeared the Spartans had taken a 1-0 lead early in the second period on a shot by Jim McKenzie, but the officials ruled that Justin Abdelkader was in the crease, nullifying the goal.
Less than two minutes later, Chris Mueller scored his 14th goal of the season for a 1-0 Michigan State lead.
Early in the third period, the Spartans converted on the second of back-to-back power plays with Kennedy notching his 17th goal of the season for a 2-0 lead.
Evan Rankin found the net with five minutes to play in regulation to keep Notre Dame's hopes alive. The Irish pulled goalie David Brown late in the game for an extra attacker but to no avail.
Michigan State out-shot Notre Dame 25-20.
Notre Dame, the CCHA regular season and playoff champions, was playing in its first regional title game.
It was the first time the Midwest Regional Final game had two CCHA teams and the first time the Spartans and the Irish met in an NCAA tournament game.


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