- The Spartans of Michigan State defeated the top-seeded Miami RedHawks, 2-1, in the 25th anniversary CCHA Championship game at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, March 18. In the process, MSU claimed its CCHA-record 11th Tournament title and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. ESPN2 will broadcast the NCAA Selection show at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 19.
Senior forward David Booth tallied the game winner for MSU in the second period. Freshman netminder Jeff Lerg allowed just one goal on 23 shots, earning him tournament MVP honors. A penalty called on senior forward Matt Davis proved costly for Miami, when freshman center Justin Abdelkader
gave Michigan State the 1-0 lead in the first period. Freshman left winger Tim Kennedy dumped the puck into the offensive zone. The puck trickled along the boards, where freshman forward Tim Crowder picked it up. Crowder was tripped up, but managed to send a sprawling pass to Abdelkader, who beat freshman goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to tally the power-play goal at 14:13.
Miami scored a goal of its own just 20 seconds later to even the score 1-1. Freshman defenseman Alec Martinez ripped a shot from just inside the blue line that Jeff Lerg deflected but could not hold onto. Sophomore left winger Ryan Jones scooped up the rebound and slipped it through Lerg's legs for his 22nd goal of the season.
The Spartans scored at 5:52 of the second period to give them the 2-1 lead. Sophomore forward Jim McKenzie skated in along the right side and let a shot fly that hit Zatkoff in the shoulder. The rebound hit the stick of David Booth, who wasted no time putting the puck behind the RedHawk goalie. Junior forward Drew Miller
assisted on the play as well.
The third period turned into a defensive stalemate, with neither team able to put the puck past Zatkoff or Lerg. Miami generated six shots, while Michigan State registered 10 of its own in the final frame.
Miami pulled Zatkoff with 36 seconds left in the game in an attempt to even the score, but its effort fell short. Michigan State was crowned the CCHA tournament champion by a final score of 2-1.
The University of Michigan Wolverines defeated the Northern Michigan University Wildcats 3-2 to take third place Saturday afternoon.ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
- FORWARD: Drew Miller (Michigan State)
- FORWARD: Tim Crowder (Michigan State)
- FORWARD: Ryan Jones (Miami)
- DEFENSEMAN: Andy Greene (Miami)
- DEFENSEMAN: Matt Hunwick (Michigan)
- GOALIE: Jeff Lerg (Michigan State)
- MVP: Jeff Lerg (Michigan State)