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Rosburg shows game winning skills after recovery from injury

December 1, 2016
Freshman defenseman Jerad Rosberg (57) misses the puck while taking a shot during the game against Ferris State on Nov. 11, 2016 at Munn Ice Arena. The spartans were defeated by the bulldogs, x-x.
Freshman defenseman Jerad Rosberg (57) misses the puck while taking a shot during the game against Ferris State on Nov. 11, 2016 at Munn Ice Arena. The spartans were defeated by the bulldogs, x-x.

In the first period of game one of the MSU hockey team’s stunning series against then-No. 5 University of North Dakota, redshirt-freshman defenseman Jerad Rosburg quieted down the hostile crowd of Ralph Engelstad Arena with two simple shots on goals. Both found the back of the net, giving the Spartans an early lead they did not relinquish.

It was the first time Rosburg added a pair of scores in the same game since his playing days in Ohio a few years ago, he said. For two in the same period, he had to glimpse into his memory to a high school game he had decided to play in for fun.

After his early success, his contributions weren’t just limited to the first 20 minutes of the match. He added an assist on the game-winner in the third period to aid senior forward Joe Cox and the Spartan cause.

Fast forward to the next night against the Fighting Hawks, Rosburg scored the pseudo-game-winning goal in the three-on-three overtime period. While the goal wouldn’t count and the Spartans ultimately tied North Dakota, it was a momentum-building occasion for the team.

“(The series) showed we can win verse anyone in the country,” Rosburg said. “North Dakota’s a great team and we won and tied. I think it shows that we can play and we can beat anyone. We shouldn’t be going into any games thinking anything else besides winning.”

While helping his team to wins, Rosburg earned his first career conference star of the week, being named the Big Ten First Star of the Week. The redshirt-freshman was also the first Spartan this season to be named the honor.

While it was a successful weekend and start to the season, it wasn’t always like this for the Clarksville, Md. native. The original plan was for him to play last season, but he was forced to redshirt because of an injury, head coach Tom Anastos said.

The season before, while playing for the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League, or USHL, he missed the majority of the season because of an injury.

Now back on the ice, Anastos said that while he’s having a solid season, there’s still a lot that needs to be done for Rosburg to fully be back.

“This year, I think he’s gotten off to a good start and he’s getting better each week,” Anastos said. “But he’s still playing a lot of catch up. That’s an awful lot of good experience for him this past weekend, and each weekend it is.”

On the other hand, though, Rosburg said just seeing the ice and succeeding on it has been a breath of fresh air — not just for him, but also his teammates.

“(The success) shows me and my teammates the work and rehab I did last year was finally paying off, which is good to see,” Rosburg said. “I’m just glad I can contribute to the team and help us win us some games.”

Rosburg, too, admitted he still had a ways to go before getting back up to full speed. During the offseason, he said conditioning was one of his priorities. But the 6-foot-1 defenseman also said actually playing on the ice at game speed is different from playing in practice or the weight room.

Along with his conditioning, Rosburg said he wanted to get the little things right, the little nuances of the game.

While Anastos said Rosburg had a ways to go, he also wanted his redshirt-freshman to become more of a threat, reliable every night the Spartans face off against a foe.

“Our goal was to not get him to perform at a high level, to his potential, but to do it on a consistent basis and those are two different things,” Anastos said.

The team will be back in action in an exhibition game against the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Dec. 4, at Munn Ice Arena. The match will be broadcast on Big Ten Network Plus.

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