MSU builds confidence in string of firsts against Princeton
MSU cracked its first win Friday night, as the Spartans pounded the Princeton Tigers 6-2 to improve to a 1-4 overall record this season.
In addition to MSU's first win of the season, freshman left wing Taro Hirose knocked in his first career goal in a Spartan uniform, along with junior defenseman Carson Gatt, whose two goals accounted for four goals put up by the Spartans in the second period.
“All the guys were pumped that Gatter scored his and I scored mine,” Hirose said. “When you get those good chances in the slot you've just got to shoot them, not think too much.”
Senior right wing Joe Cox said it was “awesome” to see Gatt and Hirose get their first goals in their Spartan careers.
“I love to see Taro to start off so strong and Gatter, he’s been here for the past few years, so we were just waiting for that one to go in,” Cox said. “He made a great play, great shot, (and) put it right where it needed to be.”
Head coach Tom Anastos said it was nice to Gatt and Hirose get their first goal of their MSU careers.
Anastos said he liked the performances on the line from sophomore right wing Mason Appleton, freshman center Patrick Khodorenko and Hirose Friday night.
“I want to see that line continue to grow, I thought they took a nice step today,” Anastos said. “That’s what you look for, is guys who can play off of each other and read each other.”
Cox also scored his first goal of the year and said he was delighted to finally get it five games into the season.
“It was a monkey off my shoulder — I’ve been wanting it,” Cox said.
Junior goaltender Ed Minney also secured his first career win in his MSU career, and Anastos said this win is a huge step for his confidence.
Minney said this wasn’t his best individual performance this season, but it was the team’s best performance.
“I think we finally put everything together,” Minney said.
Anastos said Minney made some key saves against Princeton that helped build some confidence for his teammates.
“I thought he looked good in the net, and I think that's a real positive,” Anastos said.
Cox said he believes he key to their first win of the season was the confidence that the team played with.
“Seeing six goals on the board from six different players, that’s only got to boost the confidence, I know it boosted my confidence, too,” Cox said.
Anastos also said he thinks the increase in confidence throughout the team is starting to show.
“I think as guys see and get rewarded for that kind of performance and that kind of result, it feeds on it, builds some confidence,” Anastos said. “It takes a little bit of the pressure off that you put on yourself to get a result. … That’s something to build on.”
Cox said the spread of confidence is starting to take its place within everybody on the team.
“Guys are starting to settle in, like guys are starting to settle the puck down, put it where it needs to be,” Cox said. “I think that’s huge. A couple games can do a lot for someone.”
MSU will host a 2-5-2 Michigan Tech team next week Nov. 4-5. The puck is scheduled to drop 7:05 p.m. both days.
Cox said in order to get ready for Michigan Tech, the team needs to focus on the "little details."
"I think it's just getting the little details out of film that we played in the last two weekends and keep working on those little details," Cox said. "We still had some defensive collapses tonight, and we're going to watch them over in film and hopefully make that better."