Michigan State scored three goals in the second period and Jeff Lerg had 41 saves as the Spartans beat Colorado College in the NCAA West Regional on Friday night.
Tim Kennedy and Jeff Dunne scored on power plays for the defending national champion Spartans. Chris Mueller added a goal with seven seconds remaining in the second.
Michigan State (25-11-5) will play Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Notre Dame (25-15-4) in the second round on Saturday. The Spartans earned a win and a draw against the Fighting Irish during the regular season.
Lerg, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, said he felt tight in the early going on Friday but got more comfortable as he fended off more shots.
''This game was kind of a battle for me personally,'' he said.
Justin Abdelkader had two assists for Michigan State and Kennedy got an assist on Mueller's goal.
''To be honest with you, that is kind of us our goalie is pretty good, and then we kind of pick away at things,'' Spartans coach Rick Comley said. ''We had that flurry in the second period.''
He said penalty-killing and shot-blocking were keys to the victory.
''At this time of year, if you're willing to put your body in front of the puck, you have a chance to win. We not only had one body, we had two or three at times,'' he said.
Derek Patrosso scored for Colorado College with 7:53 remaining in the third. Andreas Vlassopoulos got an assist.
Colorado College (28-12-1), the host team for the West Regional, entered the tournament with an 18-2 record at home.