Spar­tans Strike Late to Cap­ture First Ti­tle Since 1986

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports -

K Michi­gan State 3,

Bos­ton Col­lege 1

ST. LOUIS, April 7 — Justin Ab­delka­der snapped a tie with 19 sec­onds to go, sec­onds af­ter ring­ing a shot off the post in Michi­gan State’s 3-1 vic­tory over Bos­ton Col­lege in the NCAA hockey cham­pi­onship game Satur­day night.

Chris Mueller added an emp­tynet goal with 1.2 sec­onds left to clinch it for the Spar­tans (26-13-3), a lightly re­garded No. 3 seed in the Mid­west Re­gion when the tour­na­ment be­gan. Michi­gan State, play- ing in front of a record crowd of 19,402, won its third cham­pi­onship and first since 1986.

Tim Kennedy tied it mid­way through the third pe­riod, and set up the go-ahead goal from be­hind the net when he spun off his man and passed the puck in front. Ab­delka­der, the most valu­able player of the fi­nal, beat Cory Sch­nei­der for his 15th goal and first in nine games.

“Tim made an un­be­liev­able play,” Ab­delka­der said. “I just had to find a spot open in the slot, and he hit me with a per­fect pass.”

Brian Boyle scored in the sec­ond pe­riod for Bos­ton Col­lege (29-11-2), which had won 13 in a row be­fore the fi­nal. The Ea­gles also lost in the cham­pi­onship game last year, 2-1 to Wis­con­sin.

“When we sign up to play sports, there’s go­ing to be a win­ner and a loser,” Ea­gles Coach Jerry York said. “There’s no guar­an­tees in this busi­ness and I think our kids are old enough to un­der­stand that.”

Michi­gan State Coach Rick Com­ley also won it all with North­ern Michi­gan in 1991. He and York are among three coaches to win cham­pi­onships at two schools.

“We’re not fancy and we know we’re not picked by any­body to win any­thing,” Com­ley said. “What a great, great group of kids. They’ve wanted so badly to walk around with their heads high, and now they’re go­ing home with a na­tional cham­pi­onship.”

Michi­gan State held the Ea­gles to 1 for 4 with the man ad­van­tage and was 17 for 18 on the penalty kill in the tour­na­ment.

Kennedy tied the game at 1 mid­way through the third pe­riod on a power play, break­ing in alone af­ter a face­off just out­side the zone and beat­ing Sch­nei­der to the stick side.

Boyle was cred­ited with his 19th goal when Brock Brad­ford’s shot de­flected off his leg and past Michi­gan State goalie Jeff Lerg at 6 min­utes 50 sec­onds of the sec­ond.

BY TIM PARKER — REUTERS

Bos­ton Col­lege’s Dan Ber­tram (22) knocks down Michi­gan State’s Brian Lerg in the sec­ond pe­riod. The Spar­tans, seeded third, have won three ti­tles.

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