Spartans top Windsor 6-1 in exhibition opener

MSU's top line of Kevin Walrod, Lee Reimer and Greg Wolfe (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

By Michael Caples -

EAST LANSING – Coach Tom Anastos started off his post-game press conference sharing a text message from Torey Krug.

“Coach, good job on audition,” Anastos read. “I watched online. Boys looked good. Your mustache looked good, uniforms looked good.”

Then Anastos commented, “He would have looked good on the blue line.”

It seemed like a fitting way for Anastos to start a media session after coaching his first game without Krug and a significant portion of the Spartans’ 2011-12 roster.

The Spartans dressed 12 new players on Monday when Michigan State welcomed Windsor to East Lansing. Yet it was one of the veterans that helped take control of the game early on.

Senior Kevin Walrod scored 10 seconds into the Spartans’ exhibition contest, and five other MSU players added goals en route to a 6-1 win over the University of Windsor at Munn Ice Arena.

Ryan Keller, Matt Berry, Brent Darnell, Anthony Hayes and Travis Walsh also scored for the Spartans, who had a total of 12 players find their way to the scoresheet with points.

“I think the whole team was ready to go off the start tonight,” Walrod said. “It’s been a long summer, and we had a lot of jump going into the first period. I thought we carried that out throughout the game, and I think bringing the freshmen in early in the summer was really good, because we are in probably the best shape we’ve ever been in going into a season, and it really showed tonight.”

The Spartans, who have 12 new members on the roster this season, dressed 20 skaters for the game, along with all three goaltenders. The only players to not see game action were injured players Brandon Carney and Dean Chelios, freshmen Brock Krygier and Connor Wood, and goaltender Nathan Phillips.

Junior netminder Will Yanakeff, who will be the starting goaltender when the regular season begins, posted nine saves through two periods, allowing only one goal in 40 minutes. Freshman goaltender Jake Hildebrand finished the game for the Spartans, recording four saves in the final 20 minutes of play.

Michigan State begins their 2012-13 regular season this weekend when they travel to Minnesota to take on the No. 1/2 Golden Gophers.

Junior forward Greg Wolfe said that the game should help the young team’s confidence level moving forward.

“I think it was a big win for us to get off on the right foot,” said Wolfe, a Canton native. “Everyone was working really hard, so that was good to see. I feel like we’re in really good shape right now, so that’s a big positive for us. It was nice to see to see so many different guys score on opening night, that’s a big confidence booster for not only the team but I’m sure those guys are on Cloud 9 right now, feeling more comfortable every shift.”

Notes: The Spartans out-shot the Lancers 48-14, and 20-4 in the third period…MSU was 0-7 on the power play…Windsor starting goaltender Matt Murphy was pulled after three goals in the first 12:04 of play…the Spartans won 40 of 57 face-offs.