Following another weekend and another heavy loss for the MSU hockey team, Tom Anastos said they had to do some major soul-searching — and for the head coach that meant watching the game “over and over and over again.”
Saturday, the Spartans (5-12-3 overall, 4-9-1-0 CCHA) left Big Rapids, Mich., without a single goal in a 3-0 loss at the hands of CCHA opponent Ferris State.
It was MSU’s fourth shutout loss in the last 14 games.
Anastos said during the soul-searching, he discovered the team needs to revert back to the basics on the game and simply play hard enough to earn the wins.
“Fundamental things that we have to be committed to doing, we don’t do very well,” he said. “As a result, we got the kind of result that we deserved (on Saturday): which wasn’t a good one.”
Sophomore forward Brent Darnell noted the excellence freshman goaltender Jake Hildebrand has displayed in the crease — Saturday’s loss included.
Hildebrand consistently has performed at a high level this season, currently putting up a .938 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average, and Darnell said it’s about time the team took advantage of it.
“In all the games (Hildebrand’s) played, we haven’t given him the best goal support,” Darnell said. “Maybe if we score one or two goals earlier (in the game), that sets the tone for the rest of the game where we’re not sitting there the whole game feeling as if we can’t put one in.”
In an effort to combat MSU’s inability to find the net during Saturday’s game, Anastos switched up the lines, gave some players double shifts and benched others.
He said until he finds the right chemistry, he will continue to do so.
Though senior forward Chris Forfar said line juggling just is a part of the game, Darnell brought up the point that lines aren’t shuffled when the team is winning. He said when Anastosmakes those decisions, it motivates the players to perform better.
“Now we really have to get going,” Darnell said. “I felt we definitely did play better once the lines were shaken up (on Saturday), but I think it’s just new life in the team if things aren’t working. I think coach said something like, ‘If you do the same thing over and over without any results, it’s called insanity.’”