After falling 5-1 to Michigan Friday night, Kevin Walrod said the loss was going to provide motivation for the Spartans the following night.
Turns out, it provided motivation and then some, as MSU hockey (4-5-1 overall, 3-3-0 CCHA) dominated its cross state rival by a score of 7-2.
And it didn’t take long for that fire to kick in, as sophomore forward Matt Berry scored on assists from linemates sophomore Brent Darnell and freshman Matt DeBlouw just 34 seconds into the game.
“We didn’t do anything different,” head coach Tom Anastos said of Saturday’s game compared to Friday. “We had a similar strategy for the most part. I just think we had jump — we had that emotional level. When you get a goal on the first shift like that, that really helps boost that emotional level for whatever reason.”
Berry’s early goal was just the start of good things to come for not only him, but his linemates as well.
Berry walked away from the night with his first collegiate hat trick, following two goals in the first period and one in the second. He said he scored a hat trick two years ago in juniors, but Saturday’s was “much better.”
Darnell and DeBlouw each had a goal and two assists. Combined, their line had five goals and five assists.
“We’ve been playing together for three or four weeks here, so we’re starting to know where each other’s going to be and find those sports where we know each player’s going to be going,” Darnell said. “Our chemistry’s just getting going as the weeks go on.”
Also racking up goals in Saturday’s game were senior forwards Anthony Hayes and Kevin Walrod — his second goal of the series.
Freshman goaltender Jake Hildebrand got the nod after junior Will Yanakeff played yesterday. Hildebrand made 40 saves throughout three periods of play Saturday night.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Anastos said he addressed a few issues he saw on Friday and gave credit to the player’s for taking it upon themselves to adjust to the changes.
“I don’t like to be talking all the time on the bench,” he said. “I feel like I’ve had to talk a fair bit and even the coaches to be encouraging as we gain experience. Tonight is probably the least I’ve talked in the year and a half I’ve been here because I think the players carried that. A lot of that came from the emotional energy.”
The emotional energy Anastos referred to wasn’t just one found among his players, as Munn Ice Arena found itself holding a record crowd of 7,225 fans.
Following the game, both Anastos and the players noted the electricity brought to the building that lasted throughout the duration of the game.
“They were really amped,” Berry said of the crowd. “It was great to see all the support they gave us tonight. It was nice and loud. Every time we did something, Michigan was hearing it, that’s for sure.”
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