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Two MSU commits on USNTDP roster discuss first taste of MSU hockey

December 5, 2016
Sophomore defenseman Zach Osburn (2) celebrates with his teammates after the second goal of the game by freshman defenseman Damian Chrcek (7) during the first period in the exhibition game against U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 Program on Dec. 4, 2016 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans led the first period, 2-1.
Sophomore defenseman Zach Osburn (2) celebrates with his teammates after the second goal of the game by freshman defenseman Damian Chrcek (7) during the first period in the exhibition game against U.S. National Team Development Program U-18 Program on Dec. 4, 2016 at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans led the first period, 2-1.

MSU hockey hosted the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, USNTDP, in an exhibition matchup on Sunday. The Spartans came away with a 5-1 victory to conclude non-conference play.

Currently, 19 of the 23 players on the USNTDP’s roster are headed to NCAA Division I hockey programs, including forward Matt Miller and defenseman Tommy Miller, who have both committed to play for the Spartans under head coach Tom Anastos.

“It was a cool feeling,” Tommy said following the game. “I’ve been kind of waiting for this game the whole year and it’s cool to get out there and see what the experience is going to be like all next year and the years after that.”

Although it was just an exhibition game, Tommy, a 6-foot-2 defenseman from West Bloomfield, Mich., said he did feel some nerves leading up to the game.

“It was a little nerve-wracking, but then once I got here and got through my routine, it was just another game, but it was fun,” Tommy said.

Tommy said his commitment to MSU was influenced by his love for the Spartans growing up and numerous family members graduating from the university, including both his parents.

He describes his style as a defenseman who can play both ways and can also move the puck while also taking care of the defensive zone and supporting the rush.

“I think (Tommy is) a terrific player,” Anastos said. “He competed hard. I did notice him a number times and I also noticed his ability to get pucks to the right spot from the offensive blue line. So I thought that was all good and I liked his compete level, but that’s the extent, I’ll watch it closer on film.”

Similar to Tommy, Auburn, Mich. native Matt said he thought playing against his future team was a special opportunity. Matt verbally committed to playing at MSU but has yet to sign a National Letter of Intent.

“It was pretty special,” Matt said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s a good atmosphere, good game, very competitive.”

Matt, who had several family members in attendance Sunday, looked at facing his future team as if he were playing just another game.

“I wasn’t too nervous,” Matt said. “It’s just another game, just go out there and play (and) take control of all of your nerves and use them to your advantage.”

He emphasized his speed on the ice as a key part of his play while also being an aggressive two-way center.

Matt said he plans on playing for the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League, USHL, next season before coming to East Lansing the following season. 

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