The mens ice hockey team had something to prove after being embarrassed in its first exhibition game, and Western Ontario was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Senior defenseman Jon Insana opened the scoring for MSU less than a minute into Fridays contest and the Spartans never looked back, smoking the Mustangs 7-0 at Munn Ice Arena.
In beating Western Ontario, the Spartans split their two exhibition games. MSU fell 6-4 to the under-18 USA National Development Team on Oct. 3.
Against the Mustangs (0-3-1), junior center Joe Goodenow and senior left winger Sean Patchell paced the Spartans with one goal and two assists each. Freshman center Jeremy Jackson and junior defenseman Andrew Hutchinson added a goal and an assist each.
Our timing was better tonight, MSU head coach Ron Mason said. We had similar opportunities (on Oct. 3) and we didnt put them away and we finished them tonight. We approached this as a real game.
Jackson started a four-goal second period outburst for the Spartans by knocking a Patchell centering pass past Mustang goaltender Denver England at 2:23 into the second period.
Three minutes later Patchell tipped in a power play goal with assists from Goodenow and sophomore defenseman Brad Fast to give MSU a 3-0 lead.
After killing off a five-on-three power play for the Mustangs, Hutchinson roofed a goal, prompting Mustang head coach Clarke Singer to replace England with Jarrett Rose.
Rose surrendered goals to senior center Andrew Bogle, freshman center Tim Hearon and Goodenow.
The second period was also punctuated with two scrums around the Western Ontario net, the most serious of which occurred at 17:48 of the period.
Fast and sophomore left winger Brian Maloney each received two penalties in addition to 10-minute misconduct penalties during the melee following a two-on-one rush by the Spartans. Western Ontarios left winger Rob Frost and right winger Chris George also received 10-minute misconduct penalties. Nobody was ejected.
Following a fairly nonphysical game against the National Team, MSU picked up the checking game against Western Ontario. Maloney, Patchell and senior right winger Rustyn Dolyny each landed big body checks in the first period to set the tone.
Weve been playing summer hockey where theres not a lot of contact, Patchell said. It was good to get into a game where theyre knocking you around a little bit.
Sophomore goaltender Ryan Miller earned the shutout in net, making 11 saves. MSU outshot the Mustangs 47-11.
We played really solid as a team, Miller said. It was a big boost for our guys because everyone was on the same page. Our defense didnt give them a whole lot of good looks at the net.
MSUs freshmen also had a solid showing against Western Ontario, with Jackson notching two points and Hearon scoring a goal and creating opportunities around the net throughout the night.
MSU will open its regular season at the Johnson Nissan Classic in Anchorage, Alaska on Oct. 13. The Spartans will skate against host Alaska-Anchorage on Oct. 13 and Merrimack on Oct. 14.
Mason said the Olympic-size rink in Alaska could cause problems for the Spartans, who are accustomed to playing on smaller ice at Munn.
Were going to have to use the ice the best we can, Mason said. Our team isnt made for that kind of ice.
Despite the dominating performance in Fridays game, Jackson said the team still has plenty of things to iron out heading into regular-season play.
We need to work on our neutral zone transition when other teams cough the puck up. We have to get wide, Jackson said. And our defensive play isnt all it could be.
Senior left winger Damon Whitten sat out of Fridays game with a wrist injury sustained against the National Team. Mason said Whitten will be ready for the Alaska tournament.