MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey had a 2-1 lead over Michigan State after 40 minutes of play on Saturday. The Spartans found the back of the net twice in the final 20 minutes to take the game 3-2.
NMU has now lost five games in a row and drop to 7-10-2 overall and 4-7-1 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). MSU improves to 9-7-1 and 7-5-1 respectively. The skid is the longest in Walt Kyle’s tenure at NMU. “We are finding ways in my opinion to do the other thing,” Kyle said. “Each night is kind of a different thing right now. Hopefully we get through it soon.”
For the second night in a row the Spartans struck first. Brandon Warner gave MSU the early 1-0 lead with a power-play goal for his first of the season at 7:07 of the first period. A little over three minutes later, Andrew Sarauer on the power play, tied the game with his third goal of the season at 10:36. Rob Lehtinen and Matt Siddall assisted on the goal.
Mike Santorelli kept his scoring streak going with his 13th goal of the season which gave the ‘Cats the 2-1 lead at 14:36 of the second period. He now has at least one point in 15 of the 19 games played this season. “The top level was open. Just went there and luckily it went in,” Santorelli said. Zach Tarkir and Matt Maunu assisted.
Then the Spartans turned the light on twice in the final frame. Nick Sucharski tied the game at two-all with a power-play goal for his fifth of the season at 10:12. Bryan Lerg scored the game-winning goal at 17:22 for his ninth of the season.
For the fifth game in a row NMU had the advantage on shots with a 29-20 count. Bill Zaniboni had 17 saves for the ‘Cats. Jeff Lerg for MSU backstopped 27 shots. The ‘Cats had six power play chances while the Spartans had five.
NMU will play an exhibition game at the Berry Events Center against the USNTDP U-18 squad on Friday night (Dec. 15) at 7:35 p.m.
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Sports Information Director