Over the summer, Anastos preached on getting pucks to the net and thinking shot-first to his players, after having a league low of 25.6 shots per game last season.
“I said ‘You come in there and think shot,’” Anastos said. “‘You think shot and if someone’s open and you hear them, then you’ll make the play.’”
And after struggling to score goals often last season, the offensive mindset worked in the Spartan’s 4-1 win over Western Ontario last night.
In his Spartan debut, freshman forward Villiam Haag put the Spartans up 1-0 when he planted himself in front of the Mustangs’ goalie, and tipped-in defensemen RJ Boyd’s point shot.
The Spartans struck again early in the third period after a scoreless second. Dean Chelios, who missed all last season with a shoulder injury, scored on a wrist shot that found the back of the net, short-side over the glove of Mustang goaltender Marc Nother.
Six minutes later, sophomore forward Michael Ferrantino was dragged down into the Mustangs’ goal and was rewarded a penalty shot.
“I got excited when they called it and I knew that was my move I was going to use,” Ferrantino said. “I knew if I had the time, I could finish.”
Ferrantino did just that, beating Nother through the five-hole. He also had an assist on a short-handed goal by Joe Cox that came a bit later in the game. Ferrantino waited patiently coming down the ice and slid the puck over to Cox for a tap-in goal.
“It was a great play by him (Cox), driving to the net and stopping there,” Ferrantino said. “Once the defenseman slid over and took the shot away a little bit, I tried to find a hole and get him the puck.”
Western Ontario answered mid-way through the third on a goal by forward Steven Reese, which slid under the pad of goaltender Jake Hildebrand. Surprisingly, Hildebrand played the whole game for the Spartans.
“I told you I was going to split, or I was going to change my mind, and I didn’t change my mind,” Anastos said. “Will stubbed his toe today. It was really sore and I didn’t really see a reason to agitate it, and that’s why he didn’t play.”
Hildebrand stopped 20 shots, allowing just one goal against, and was named third star of the game. MSU collected a total of 47 shots on net in last night’s exhibition game, surpassing their pregame goal of 35.
Now MSU prepares for next weekend, as they travel to play Massachusetts for the start of their regular season.
“Results matter for sure, and we’re happy with the results. But, I think we’re still focused on the process of becoming a team and a productive team,” Anastos said.
David Defever is the host of Behind The Mask for Impact Sports
Photo: David Defever