March 1, 2009
East Lansing, Mich. – Notre Dame’s senior hockey class has accomplished many things over their four years wearing the Irish uniform.
There are two CCHA regular season titles, a CCHA postseason championship and the school’s first ever trip to the Frozen Four last spring.
Despite the successes, there was one thing that the class of 2009 had never done – win at Michigan State’s Munn Arena – a place where the Irish were 0-6-1 since the last win there on Feb. 9, 2002.
After Saturday’s they can cross that off the “to-do list’ and add it to their long list of accomplishments as Notre Dame ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak with a 2-1 win over Michigan State in front of a sellout crowd of 6,759 at Munn Arena.
Jay Sprague scored the lone Spartan goal while senior goaltender Jeff Lerg had 35 saves in the Michigan State goal. The 35-save effort made Lerg the CCHA’s all-time saves leader with 3,951 and moves into second on the NCAA’s all-time list. The Irish faced Lerg eight times in his career and were 4-3-1 against him.
The win gives the Irish a 27-5-3 overall record and a 21-4-3-3 mark in the conference, equaling the school record for wins in CCHA play set in 2006-07. Michigan State goes to 10-21-5 on the year and 7-17-4-3 in conference play.
The Irish dominated the opening period as they out shot Michigan State by a 16-3 margin and finally broke through on Lerg with just five seconds left in the period as Condra beat Livonia, Mich., neighbor at 19:55.
Center Ben Ryan got the puck to the front of the net where Dan Kissel got a shot off on Lerg. The rebound ended up in front of the net where Condra tucked it past the Spartans’ goaltender for his 13th of the season.
Michigan State got the game-tying goal at 14:09 of the second period with the two teams skating four-on-four.
Spartans’ defenseman Jeff Petry carried the puck down the right side and instead of shooting at Jordan Pearce he carried the puck around behind the net and tried to tuck it inside the left post. The puck popped in the air and landed on the goal line where Sprague got enough of his stick on it to get it over the goal line for his first goal of the season.
The goal was reviewed by referee Stephen McInchak and was ruled to have crossed the goal line, tying the game at 1-1.
After two periods of play, the Irish had a 30-9 advantage in shots on goal.
Notre Dame took the lead at 7:21 of the third period as Hanson one-timed a centering pass from Kyle Lawson from the bottom of the left wing circle for his team-best 16th goal of the season. Garrett Regan started the play by working the puck free on the right wing boards.
The Irish outshot Michigan State, 37-20, on the night. They were 0-for-4 on the power play while the Spartans were 0-for-2 on the night.
Pearce picked up his sixth straight win in the game and now has 26 this season. He moves into a tie with David Brown ’07 for second place on Notre Dame’s all-time wins list with 55. Only Lance Madson ’90 has more wins as he picked up 56 in his Irish career.
Notre Dame will have a first round bye in the CCHA playoffs that will begin next Friday, March 6. The Irish will play host to the lowest remaining seed after the first round in the best-of-three second round that will be played at the Joyce Center, beginning on Friday, March 13.
** IRISH NOTES:
** Jay Sprague’s second-period goal for Michigan State snapped Jordan Pearce’s scoreless streak at 169:38 with the last goal he gave up coming on Feb. 20, at Nebraska-Omaha at 8:10 of the third period. That’s the second longest streak of Pearce’s career as he had a 171:26 streak earlier this season.
** With Saturday’s win, Notre Dame swept the series with Michigan State and has now beaten the Spartans three straight times. The last time the Irish won three in a row against MSU was during the 1978-79 season.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F#1/#2 Notre Dame (27-5-3/21-4-3-3) 1 0 1 - 2Michigan State (10-21-5/7-17-4-3) 0 1 0 - 1
Penalties: ND: 0 for 0 minutes; MSU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: MSU: Jay Sprague 1 (Jeff Petry, Matt Schepke), 4 X 4, 14:09.
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; MSU: 3 for 6 minutes.
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; MSU: 2 for 12 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 16 - 14 - 7 - 37Michigan State 3 - 6 - 11 - 20
Goaltender Saves:ND - Jordan Pearce (60:00) 3 - 5 - 11 - 19MSU - Jeff Lerg (59:07) 15 - 14 - 6 - 35
Power Plays:ND: 0 for 4MSU: 0 for 2
Attendance: 6,759 (sellout)