Grant, who was a medical redshirt last season after a hip injury and subsequent surgery took him off the ice after just five games, was in full strength Friday night, netting a hat trick and assisting on another goal in MSU's season-opening victory over Alabama Huntsville on Friday.
Before a packed house of more than 5,100 fans who received free tickets to the game, Grant scored three power-play goals and assisted on Matt Leitner's short-handed goal. Leitner also had a four-point game, assisting on all three of Grant's goals.
"I told (Grant) after the game, 'It's really good to have you back,'" Hastings said in a phone interview afterward. "It's great for him, and Matt Leitner was really good again."
The Mavericks outshot the Chargers 41-25, including an 18-2 advantage in the first period, thanks to four power plays (MSU finished 3 for 7 on the PP). But they led just 1-0 and had a 2-1 lead after two periods.
Hastings called it a "sandwich game" in which he liked how his new team started and how it finished but wasn't crazy about the middle. Grant and Leitner scored their goals about three minutes apart midway through the third period.
Cool Cook got the start in goal and made 24 saves. Hastings said he made a couple of crucial stops in the second period when Cook had 17 saves.