Taro Hirose voted MVP.
Neil Koepke previews this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal series at Ohio State.
The seventh-seeded Spartans will meet second-seeded OSU in a best-of-three series.
Notes, quotes and analysis from Neil Koepke on Saturday's 4-3 win at Notre Dame.
2017-18 (Sophomore): Ranked third on the team in points (32) and was second in both goals (13) and assists (19) … His 29 points in the regular season ranked 11th in the Big Ten … Voted the team’s Most Improved Player and was a tri-winner of the Spartan Fitness Award … Was second on the team and fourth in the Big Ten in power-play goals (6) during the regular season … Had eight multi-point games – third most on the team … Ended the season with points in eight of the last nine games (4-7--11), including each of the last three (2-2--4) … Started a four-game point streak (4-3--7) with a goal and assist in the Spartans’ first win of the season vs. Bowling Green (10/14) and followed it the next time out with a career high three points (1g, 2a) in a win over Western Michigan (10/20) … Assisted on both goals in a 2-0 win over No. 7 Wisconsin (11/11), starting a five-game point streak over which he produced six assists … Picked up assists in a sweep of Ferris State (11/17-18), including the primary assist on Taro Hirose’s game-winning OT goal in the series opener … Scored the first two goals of the game in a 5-0 win over Michigan (12/8) … Scored three goals in the GLI, including twice vs. Michigan (1/2), and was named to the GLI All-Tournament Team … Scored a shorthanded goal in a 6-3 win at No. 5 Ohio State (2/3), which started his second five-game point streak of the season … Had two assists in back-to-back games vs. Michigan (2/10) and Penn State (2/16) … Ended the season with three points (2g, 1a) in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal series vs. Ohio State (3/2-3) … Academic All-Big Ten.
2016-17 (Freshman): Tied for third on the team with 18 points (7g, 11a) ... Played in all 35 games ... Nine of his 18 points came in Big Ten play ... Scored the game-tying goal on the power-play vs. Michigan on Jan. 21, had a season-high two goals vs. Wisconsin on Feb. 3, and an assist the next night vs. the Badgers for his first three-game point streak ... Capped his second three-game point streak of the year with an assist and goal, respectively, at No. 13 Ohio State, March 3-4 ... Had two assists in the season finale vs. Ohio State on March 16 ... Assisted on Carson Gatt's power-play goal at Wisconsin, Jan. 7 ... Netted the tying goal in the second period vs. Northeastern on Dec. 18 ... Scored the tying goal in the second period of MSU's 2-2 tie at No. 5 North Dakota on Nov. 26 ... Picked up an assist on Mason Appleton's game-winning, third-period goal at Ferris State on Nov. 12 ... Assisted on Appleton's game-winning OT goal vs. Michigan Tech, Nov. 4 ... Had a goal and an assist, respectively, in the two games vs. No. 6 Denver, Oct. 21-22, for his first collegiate points ... Made his debut in the season-opener at LSSU on Oct. 14.
Prior to MSU: Two-year member of the US National Team Development Program ... Recorded 13 points (7g, 6a), including four points vs. NCAA Division I teams, in 43 games with the USNTDP U-18 team in 2015-16 ... Played the 2014-15 season with the USNTDP U-17s, ranking third on the team with 33 points (13g, 20a) in 55 games ... Scored a goal in four games of the 2014 U17 Four Nations Tournament and had six points in six games of the 2014 World U-17 Challenge ... Also represented the US at the 2015 U17 Five Nations Tournament ... Played bantam major for Honeybaked in 2012-13, recording 40 points in 23 games ... Put up 30 points in 22 games for the Honeybaked U16s in 2013-14 ...Played bantam hockey for the Los Angeles Selects.
Personal: Born Oct. 13, 1998 in San Francisco, California ... Son of Alex and Inessa ... Favorite NHL player is Pavel Datsyuk because of "his skill and ability to be dangerous with the puck in any situation" ... Lists his father, Alex, as his biggest hockey influence because he got him started with the game.