East Lansing, Mich. - Senior netminder Drew Palmisano had a 27-save shutout and junior captain Torey Krug had a pair of assists as Michigan State finished off a sweep of Alaska with a 3-0 victory at Munn Ice Arena on Saturday. Dean Chelios, Tanner Sorenson, and Lee Reimer had the goals for MSU, which improved to 18-12-4 on the season and 13-10-3-2 in CCHA play.
Entering the final weekend of the season, the Spartans hold down fourth place in the CCHA standings, and will complete the regular season with a two-game set at Notre Dame. MSU has clinched at least a top-eight spot in the final CCHA standings, meaning the Spartans will not travel for the first round of the playoffs as they have two of the last three seasons.
"We felt that we needed to get six points against Alaska to go into the final weekend with a good chance to get home ice and a first-round bye," said head coach Tom Anastos. "I thought that we were a little out of synch in the first period. We changed things up, and put more emphasis on getting pucks deep and putting pressure on their defense. . Overall, we're pleased that we set that goal of six points and it was mission accomplished."
The game's first goal came from the Spartans for the first time in three games. Tanner Sorenson streaked up the right side with the puck and fed Dean Chelios in front. Greenham made the save on the winger at the right post, but Chelios was dogged, staying on the puck and poking it past the senior netminder as he tried to cover it up in front. It was the seventh goal of the season for Chelios, coming in his 100th career game.
The Spartans didn't get their first power-play chance of the game until the middle of the second period, when Nolan Youngmun was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct. MSU made the most of their chance, as Tanner Sorenson tipped a point shot by Torey Krug for his second goal of the season. Alaska took another penalty soon thereafter, and Lee Reimer's shot from the right circle beet Greenham. The Spartans took that lead into the locker room.
MSU had another pair of power-play chances in the third period, but Greenham was strong for the visitors. Palmisano was equally good at the other end, stopping all seven shots he faced in that final frame to record his second shutout of the season and sixth of his career.
Palmisano, along with the other eight Spartan seniors and student manager Sean Lerg, were honored before the game in a pre-game ceremony.
The Spartans now turn their attentions to the final regular-season series in South Bend against preseason league favorite Notre Dame.