Pioneer Comback Falls Short At No. 9 Michigan State

Oct. 28, 2006

Final Stats

East Lansing, MI - Sophomore Nick Sucharski scored two goals and senior Ethan Graham added a goal and two assists as Michigan State held off a furious Sacred Heart comeback for a 7-5 win in men's ice hockey action Saturday night at Munn Ice Arena.

The momentum swings in the game were numerous, as the Spartans built a 5-0 lead only to have the Pioneers cut it to 5-3. MSU opened up a 7-3 lead but SHU came back again to make it 7-5. The Spartans, who dominated the early going, out shot the Pioneers 38-20 for the game.

Sucharski put the Spartans on the board early scoring just 1:15 into the game. Matt Schepkie carried the puck behind the net and fed Zucharski a centering pass into the slot and he slipped the puck through the pads of Pioneer goaltender Jason Smith (St. Lambert, QC).

A fortunate bounce gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead at the mark of the first period. Tim Kennedy had the puck behind the Pioneer goal and looked to center it out in front. However, his pass went off the skate of a Pioneer defenseman and bounced into the net. Ethan Grahame would give the Pioneers a 3-0 first intermission lead when he fired a shot that went off the shoulder of Smith and into the goal with 47 seconds left in the first period.

Sucharski tallied his second goal of the net halfway through the second period when he tipped home a rebound after Smith stopped an initial shot by Graham. The Spartans opened a 5-0 lead at the 14:32 mark on Tim Crowder's third goal of the season. Justin Abdelkader fed a wide open Crowder a perfect centering pass in the slot and Crowder beat Smith from there.

The Pioneer offense finally got on track with 3:58 left in the middle stanza when Eric Giosa (Northville, MI), playing in front of friends and family, scored his second goal of the year. Junior Alexandre Parent (Boisbriand, QC) won a face-off deep in the Spartan zone and sent the puck towards the net. Giosa picked it up and put it over the shoulder of Spartan goaltender Jeff Lerg.

Freshman Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) drew the Pioneers to within 5-2 with 26 seconds left in the middle stanza. Defenseman Dave Grimson (Mozart, SK) ripped a shot from the blue line which was deflected by Jarman in front of the net and went through the pads of Lerg.

The Pioneers made it 5-3 when Nick Johnson (Winsdor, CT) fired a shot from the corner of the face-off circle that found the corner of the net, past Lerg. Grimson had an assist on Johnson's third goal of his rookie season.

The Spartans seemed to regain control of the game in the middle part of the third period when Bryan Lerg and Jim McKenzie hooked up on a perfectly executed 2 on 1 break. McKenzie carried the puck into the zone and fed a pass to Lerg who tipped the puck past a sliding Smith to make it 6-3. Later, Mike Ratchuk made it 7-3 with a hard shot from the face-off circle that went past a screened Smith.

However, the Pioneers would not go away as Scott Marchesi (South Portland, ME) cut the deficit to 7-4 with his first goal of the year with left in the third. Marchesi ripped a shot from the blue line that Lerg made a pad save on. However, Marchesi was aggressive and followed the play to score on the rebound. Senior Charles Veilleux (Quebec City, QC) scored his first goal of the year with left to make it 7-5 on a drive from the circle with left in the game.

The Pioneers return to the Milford Ice Pavilion next weekend for their home opener. Sacred Heart will host Mercyhurst for a two game set Friday and Saturday night. Game time both nights is 7:00 pm and coverage both nights can be heard on WICC 600 AM.