The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

November 8, 2013

MSU's Grant is an Okie who plays hockey

(Continued)

He plays what his coaches like to call "a hard game," making an impact at both end of the ice as one of the Mavericks' better two-way forwards.

"Playing with an edge while staying out of the box and being real hard to play against," coach Mike Hastings said when asked to describe an ideal game for Grant. "Offensively, getting to the net and defensively, making the other team go through him. Playing a real fast game."

Grant's tough-nosed, aggressive style has gotten him into some penalty trouble in the past, but his game has matured, Hastings insisted, without losing its snarl.

Grant is in his fourth year at Minnesota State. After a solid rookie season in which he scored eight goals and amassed 20 points, he missed the majority of his second season with a hip injury that required surgery. As a redshirt sophomore a season ago, he had seven goals and 19 points. One of those goals was an overtime game-winner against Nebraska Omaha in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs, the first postseason game played in Mankato in a decade.

"I think," Hastings said, "knock on wood, you're going to see Chase Grant make a big impact on our team."

So far this season, he has a goal and an assist and 10 penalty minutes in six games. But he says there's more to his game than scoring. He's not going to wow anyone with a lot of fancy moves. With him, it's about battles along the boards, in the corners and around the net. If he and his line aren't scoring, ideally, they're drawing penalties and giving the Mavericks power-play opportunities.

"I try to be effective as a nuisance," Grant said. "If I'm not a pain in someone's side, I'm not doing my job out there."

Grant may be proud of his Oklahoma roots, but Minnesota State is a melting pot of hockey players. There are just five Minnesotans on the 26-player roster. There are representatives of three countries, as well as 11 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.

"It's become a global game," Hastings said.

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