Spartan Hockey defeated the Princeton Tigers Friday night in a 4-1 rout.
In what coach Tom Anastos called perhaps the most physical game his team has played in thus far, the Spartans prevailed, with two key players scoring their first goals of the year. Left wing Ryan Keller potted his first on a backhand pass from captain Greg Wolfe at 17:30 in the second, and a point shot by defenseman Jake Chelios found the back of the net at 4:26 of the third period.
Joe Cox added his third of the year to start the Spartans off in the first period, while leading scorer Mackenzie MaCeachern chalked up his fifth in the third.
Keller said that it was nice to relieve some pressure with his first goal.
“It’s good to get the monkey off my back,” Keller said. “Great play by all of them to get me the puck in front there for a tap-in.”
Keller’s goal gave MSU a much needed cushion heading into the second intermission, but the team didn’t stop there. Less than five minutes into the frame, defenseman Jake Chelios’ shot dipped through some traffic to beat the Princeton net-minder for his first, and the defense corps’ first goal of the season.
Anastos said it was a relief to see the defense contributing on the score sheet.
“It was nice to see the puck go in,” Anastos said. “It was also nice just to see some of the puck movement back there, generating some of the chances on the shots that we did. That’s an area I think we can improve on and even getting the puck back there when the opportunity presents itself.”
Goaltender Jake Hildebrand also played a big role in the win, stopping 30 of 31 shots.
The Spartans will look for a series sweep, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Lou Divizio is a panelist on The Pact for Impact Sports.
Photo: Lou DiVizio