March 16, 2017 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Bad Start, Worse Finish for Michigan State, Anastos

by Tim Rappleye/CHN Reporter

DETROIT — The Big 10 quarterfinals represented another deadening loss for Michigan State. In front of 15,000 empty seats at Joe Louis Arena, the Spartans were outscored, 3-0, in the decisive third period by Ohio State.

The Buckeyesjumped the Spartans to start both the first and third periods, sending Michigan State quietly into the night, 6-3. Their record for 2016-17 was a paltry 7-24-4.

Ohio State led, 2-0, after just 5:44 with goals from Mason Jobst and Nick Schlikey. Michigan State responded with three goals in the final 11:02 of the first period. However, the Buckeyes tied the game in the second before three goals in the first 3:26 of the third peruid.

It ends the sixth season for Tom Anastos at the helm for his alma mater, and he is 43 games under .500 in that span. For a man who helped Michigan State to a Frozen four as a player in 1992, he has not had a sniff of success as a coach, compiling only two winning seasons. Those were in 2011-12 (19-16-4) and 2014-15 (17-16-2).

Anastos has learned the hard way how much tougher it is to compete as a coach. He was asked to reflect on his six years coaching stint in East Lansing after his disappointing finish to the season.

“There have been a lot of frustrations, for a variety of different reasons," he said. "Trying to reflect, my head’s not super clear to reflect on it now. There’s a lot of dynamics that go into that. No one should take winning for granted, because winning is not an easy thing to do. It’s a tough thing to do.”

Anastos had not previously served as a Division I head coach. He led Michigan-Dearborn's NAIA program from 1987 through 1990 after one year as an assistant. However, after the league's planned move to the NCAA, he assisted former MSU coach Ron Mason from 1990-92.

He was an excellent administrator as commissioner of the CCHA from 1998 through 2011.

As Michigan State's steward, he has been largely unacceptable.

He has repeatedly lost recruiting battles with Michigan and other conference rivals. The in-state talent that defined the Michigan State program for so long is no longer keen on commiting to play in East Lansing.

Youth has contributed to MSU's problems this year. The Spartans dressed eight freshmen in their quarterfinal Big 10 exit to Ohio State. Whether any of them will enjoy a winning season under Anastos appears to be a toss-up right now.

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