Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Michigan State Goaltender Jeff Lerg

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, January 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Michigan State goaltender Jeff Lerg pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The defending NCAA champion No. 6 Spartans face No. 1 Michigan in a home-and-home series this weekend.

Jeff Lerg

Jeff Lerg entered his junior season as one of the most accomplished goaltenders in Michigan State history, and is in the process of adding to his laurels.

Lerg enters this weekend's series with Michigan as the national leader in minutes played with 1449:05, and has the seventh-highest winning percentage in the country. He has a 15-5-4 record this season with a .922 save percentage and a 2.28 goals-against average. He recorded his first shutout of the season on Saturday with a 4-0 blanking of Ohio State at Value City Arena in Columbus.

As a sophomore, Lerg earned USA Hockey College Player of the Year honors, largely on the strength of an NCAA tournament run that saw Lerg backstop the Spartans to an NCAA title. After stopping 44 of 46 shots to earn Most Valuable Player Honors at the Midwest Regional, Lerg stopped 58 of 61 shots at the Frozen Four in St. Louis to earn a nod to the All-Tournament Team. He also posted three shutouts to bring his career total to six. In total, his season goals-against average of 2.41 and save percentage of .913 hardly do justice to his performance. Following the season, Lerg was named Team MVP, and was also the Spartans' CCHA Scholar-Athlete designee. All of this came after a freshman season that saw him emerge as the starting goaltender for Michigan State, earning CCHA Rookie of the Year honors and following that award up with an MVP turn in net at the CCHA Championship, backstopping the Spartans to the Mason Cup.

Lerg is a human resource management major at Michigan State.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Jeff won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 22nd, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Good afternoon, and welcome back to "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're joined now by Michigan State goaltender Jeff Lerg.
Jeff Lerg: Hello, everyone. Good to be here.

Dan (Kalamazoo): First off, congratulations on being the reigning National Champions and a successful first half of this season. My question for you is with all of the talent on your team and the season you are having so far do you feel like there is a target on your back because you won the national championship last season and if so how has your team overcome that target to hold such a good record this year thus far.
Jeff Lerg: Thank you. First off, I do feel that whenever a team plays the defending national champions, that they will bring their best game. I know we were very excited to play Wisconsin last year, since they were the defending national champs. I think that our team has realized that we have to play our best in order to win every game. We cannot just show up and expect to win because we are Michigan State. I think our focus has been there throughout the year.

Loyd Stanley (Plymouth, MI): How do the Spartans in their first meeting with the Wolverines hope to contain Kolarik and Porter?
Jeff Lerg: Well, obviously both of those players are very dynamic. I am good friends with both of them and have played with them enough to know how much they can change a game. I think the key for us is to keep them off the power play as much as possible. Our team also has to limit the turnovers when they are on the ice, because those guys can make something out of nothing pretty quickly.

Bernie- Brighton, MI: Hey Jeff! Since your arrival to EL, what is one thing you have improved on to futher better the dynamics of your play? Thanks Bernie- Brighton, MI
Jeff Lerg: I think that the one thing that I specifically worked on was to play bigger in the net. I have worked on getting out a little bit further to challenge the shooters and also to make saves standing up a little bit more often.

Bernie Lomax (Holt, MI): You always seem to have a happy-go-lucky demeanor about yourself. Does anything get you upset or rattled?
Jeff Lerg: Well, I am just the type of person that has a positive outlook on everthing, so you can usually find me smiling while at the ice rink. I think this benefits my game when we play at tough arenas because I try to maintain a postivite attitude when things aren't going well. I try not to let anything get me rattled.

mike st. petersburg fl: whats it like growing up playing with your cousin, and now playing with him on a collegiate level?
Jeff Lerg: Well, it has been an unbelievable experience playing with Bryan at the college level. Growing up, we were always on the same team and always dreamt of playing together at the college and pro level. We would play mini sticks and pretend to both be on the red wings together, so to play college hockey and share the college experience together has been a dream come true.

Julie (Dearborn Heights): What challenges do you anticipate facing when meeting #1 UofM this weekend that might be different from Notre Dame and OSU?
Jeff Lerg: I think that this series will compare to our series against Miami, when they were ranked number 1 at the time. Michigan has a very potent offense, and I think they are more dangerous offensively than our last two opponents. Their power play is also more effective than our recent opponents.

Clinta (Orlando): Hey Jeff, Who did you look up to coming up through the ranks? What do you consider the hardest part about being a 5'6'' goaltender? Clinta, p.s. what is a fife?
Jeff Lerg: Well, I looked up to goaltenders like Ryan Miller and Chad Alban when growing up watching college hockey. Both played different styles, but were both very effective while playing for MSU. I think the hardest part about being 5'6" is that players have more net to shoot at then if I were above 6". I have adapted my game in order to be successful because I cannot use my size to my advantage. And a fife is a big fan of MSU hockey. Thanks for the question.

Frederick (fla): Hey Jeff, Why is Zak McClellan on the team?
Jeff Lerg: Well, Zak brings a physical presence to our team. He brings a humor to our team that keeps us relaxed. He is the best teammate any has ever had.

Chris (PA): Do you miss me?
Jeff Lerg: How can I miss you, if you never leave us alone?

Joey, Owosso MI.: Jeff congratulations on being named CCHA Goaltender of the week for the third straight week. I was wondering if you played any other sports besides ice hockey while growing up in Michigan? Good luck this weekend against the Wolverines. Go Green!
Jeff Lerg: Thank You! Yes, growing up I was always a very busy kid. I played hockey, soccer, baseball, and basketball while growing up. I would have days where I would go right from school to soccer practice, eat dinner in the car on the way to hockey practice, and then go to a night baseball game. I love all sports, but once high shcool came around, I had to just concentrate on hockey.

Tony (Philly): You are one of the best, if not the best goalie in college hockey. It blows my mind that pro scouts havent even contacted you or anything. I was just wondering if you use that as motivation and if you believe you will maybe get invited to a NHL camp like Bryan did. Good luck and congrats on the three-peat!
Jeff Lerg: Thank you for the compliments! And, yes that is exactly what my motivation is throughout the hockey season and all summer. I know that I will be here for all four years, and will have to continue to prove myself. I hope to get invited to a camp to try to get my name out there, but I think if we continue to win as a team, that the individual things will take care of themselves.
CSTV.com Moderator: Unfortunately, that's all the time we have with Jeff this afternoon. The Spartans have a lot to do as they get ready to take on Michigan.
Jeff Lerg: Thank you for all of the questions. We appreciate all of the support. GO GREEN!
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for another week of "Tuesday @ the Rink" on CSTV.com, presented by CSTV and USCHO. Be sure to check back for more info on next week's guests. Thanks for chatting, and have a great week.