With the first season as head coach of his alma mater behind him, Tom Anastos is looking at Monday night’s game as an evaluation of the season lying ahead of them.
Given the massive amount of new MSU hockey players this season — 12, to be exact — Anastos said Monday’s exhibition against Windsor will be a showcase of where the team’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
MSU had a fine showing in Anastos’ first exhibition game as a head coach last season, dominating Western Ontario 6-1.
“We have so much newness on our team; it just kind of seems like those 30-minute sessions were never enough time to get enough reps in or get enough evaluations of our players in different situations or implement everything we were trying to accomplish,” he said.
The players have been in East Lansing since July, but official college hockey practices didn’t start until Saturday.
Anastos said the team was planning on practicing twice Saturday and twice Sunday before opening up play at 7:05 p.m. in East Lansing. He added the team will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving on Thursday for a Friday game against Minnesota.
“We will use that game Monday night against Windsor … to assess our team, to assess our players and fool around with a few things to try different things in preparation for Friday,” Anastos said.
Although the team is going through mixing and matching with so many new players, senior forward Anthony Hayes said the team has been together since July 1, giving them time to get to know each other both on and off the ice.
“I feel extremely comfortable playing with them,” Hayes said. “We’ve been mixing up the lines, and we have seniors playing with freshmen (and) first-year guys playing with third-year guys. The fact that we have such a high turnover is one thing, but you also have to understand that we’ve been on the ice for however many months now.”