Anastos, team reflects on Miami (Ohio) loss
Following Tom Anastos’ postgame press conference Saturday, Anastos asked members of the media through a sheepish smile if any of them had any skill on the powerplay.
He was kidding, but only slightly.
After a weekend where his team generated zero goals in 13 chances on the powerplay — and consequently were swept in two games by Miami (Ohio) — Anastos is left looking for answers for the No. 15 MSU hockey team’s poor performance with an extra attacker.
Here are some of this thoughts following the series:
Stay off the Grassi
Entering the series, the Spartans didn’t exactly carry the cleanest bill of health. With freshman forward Justin Hoomaian, senior forward Mike Merrifield and freshman defenseman Branden Carney missing time with injuries, Anastos already has had to shorten the bench and get more effort from less players.
Add junior defenseman Matt Grassi to the list.
Grassi took an apparent elbow to the face in the third period of Friday’s game, leading to a concussion that required “8-10 stitches.” Anastos said Grassi demonstrated concussion-like symptoms and is out indefinitely until he is cleared to play.
However, Anastos was not prepared to dismiss injuries as the reason why his team struggled this weekend.
“We don’t want to have any excuses for any reason,” Anastos said. “We have to play the game. Every team has injuries. Certainly our team is not a team that’s loaded with depth, you know. But you have to play over that. Like I said before, you have injuries, and it creates opportunities for others.”
The difference a day makes
For the casual fan, the Spartans fell hard in a winnable series this weekend against Miami. But for Anastos, the difference between Friday and Saturday’s game were palpable.
“I thought we competed really hard (Friday), and I thought that at the time of the game, and I watched it back last night and I thought it again,” Anastos said. “(Saturday) for whatever reason, especially coming out of that first period, I thought that we weren’t as poised as we need to be. We have to learn how to deal with frustration, sometimes you’re going to have it. … There wasn’t a part of the game I was happy with (Saturday).”
Shots, shots, shots
Legendary NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky had a theory when it came to taking shots in a game.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”
Opponents of the Spartans have taken heed of Gretzky’s famous saying and making goalies Drew Palmisano and Will Yanakeff pay during the last four games. The Spartans have given up 40 or more shots in three of their past four games and have came up on the winning side in just one of those matchups.
Anastos said his team needs to cut down on scoring chances and become tougher for opponents to get shots on net against.
“We’ve got to figure that out where we’re tougher to give up shots — at least meaningful shots,” Anastos said. “(Friday), the scoring chances were real close so I think sometimes shots, just general shots, are a little distorted but no, that number’s too high. We’ve got to reduce it.”
New netminder in town
Earlier in the week, Anastos said the team has added a new goalie to the roster. Following the loss of senior Kyle McMahon, who left the team earlier in the season, Anastos announced the addition of Nathan Phillips.
Phillips, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound goaltender from Jackson, Mich., previously had been playing for the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Anastos said he and his staff received a letter of interest from Phillips and performed a brief background check before adding him to the roster upon McMachon’s departure.