While many aspects of Friday night's game went well for MSU, such as the play of starting goaltender Drew DeRidder who earned his first career shutout, the showing of the Spartans’ fourth line was quite impressive.
After killing a 5 on 3 Arizona State powerplay just five minutes into the first period, the fourth line needed just one offensive rush to get things going.
It started with right winger Haskins, who brought the puck across the blue line into the offensive zone. He immediately charged down the right side toward the net and threw a soft backhanded shot at ASU starting goaltender Evan DeBrouwer. DeBrouwer made the initial save, but the puck ended up behind the net where left winger Goodsir found it and played it back in front of the net to a waiting Mattson.
Mattson immediately ripped a left handed shot that went five-hole on DeBrouwer, giving the Spartans a 1-0 lead seven minutes and 36 seconds into the game.
The goal for the 2016 5th round selection of the Calgary Flames was the first of his career wearing a green and white sweater. Mattson, like junior defensemen Christian Krygier who scored his first career goal Thursday night, was relieved to be back in the scoring column.
“I was pretty happy," Mattson said on scoring his first career goal. "It was nice to get that one. It was a good play by (Goodsir)."
What ended up serving as the game winning goal for Michigan State was not the end of a strong offensive performance from the fourth line. The three forwards finished with a combined eight shots on net of the team’s 40 total. Mattson led the trio with five shots followed by Haskins with two and Goodsir with one.
Cole said that having a strong fourth line like the one Friday night is not only big for the three players but for the rest of the team as well. When Goodsir, Mattson, and Haskins are able to generate offense, it gives their top lines rest as Cole tries to keep them under 20 minutes of ice time per game.
“I thought that line struggled a bit last night (Thursday), but they found their sea legs a little bit," Cole said. "Haskins was really driving today, which was good, played with speed, played on the other side of the (defense), and he is going to be able to do that well for us. I think all three of those guys stepped it up, and it was important for us. Huge goal.”
Mattson, a Grand Rapids, Minnesota, native, said that having depth on the team will be crucial this season.
“Whenever we can produce like that in any way it’s always a good thing," Mattson said. "I think depth on a team gets you a long way, especially in the Big Ten when there’s a lot of good players and a lot of good teams. You got to be deep, and you got to be able to score on all four lines."
While the second goal was scored by a player very familiar with scoring goals for MSU, senior Mitchell Lewandowski, the success of Krygier and Mattson scoring the first goals of their careers still gives him and everyone else on the team confidence.
“Watching (Mattson) score today and Krygier yesterday was awesome for our team," Lewandowski said. "It gave us a huge boost and sent us in the right direction."
Sitting at a record of 1-0-1, the play of the fourth line will continue to be a key to Michigan State’s success for the rest of the season. The team will have to lock in next weekend for a tough two-game series when they travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State (0-0-0). MSU lost all four of their matchups versus Ohio State in 2019.
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