Hockey team forging ahead after weekend

MSU hockey will take a step away from the Big Ten this weekend, with only one exhibition game against the USA National Team Development Program on the slate this week.

Head coach Tom Anastos addressed the media on Tuesday about the upcoming exhibition bout, as well as his thoughts on last weekend’s back-to-back losses at No. 6 Wisconsin.

Positives from weekend

MSU struggled to find the back of the net in its two games in Madison, Wis., scoring only two goals in the series. That included MSU’s fifth scoreless outing of the season on Saturday.

Despite coming up empty in Saturday’s game, Anastos said he felt his Spartans played well enough to win, but just came up on the raw end of a few bounces and calls.

“I thought we played really well Saturday, thought we played a good game,” Anastos said. “Met many of our objectives. We assess objectives every game and usually in the percentage of achieved objectives that we hit that night, we usually win the game and it was one of those nights we didn’t.”

Anastos added that his Spartans had more scoring chances than the Badgers in Saturday’s game, but just came up empty-handed.

New line jelling

Another positive from this past weekend series was the growth between the new forward line of Mackenzie MacEachern, Lee Reimer and Greg Wolfe.

Anastos elected to mix up his lines during the Penn State series a couple weeks ago, moving MacEachern up from the all-freshmen line to play with seniors Reimer and Wolfe in the second game.

The change worked, with MacEachern scoring on Friday to break a 16-game goalless drought.

However, it was Saturday’s game that Anastos was more impressed with from the trio, leading him to plan to keep the line together.

“I thought all three of them had a jump, they seemed to have a little more cohesion,” Anastos said. “They created a little bit more, so we’ll probably continue to keep them together a little bit.”

Injury update

MSU didn’t just lose a couple games in its trip to Wisconsin, but also a key piece on the back end.

Junior defenseman R.J. Boyd went down before Friday’s game in warmups with a sprained ankle, missing his first two games of the season. And it looks like Boyd will miss even more time.

Anastos ruled Boyd out indefinitely, not knowing when he will return to the Spartan lineup.

Boyd is second in points for Spartan defensemen, with one goal and five assists this season.

Redshirt freshman defenseman Brock Krygier also went down on Friday with a leg injury, but returned to the lineup the following night.

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