Neil Koepke previews the 2015-16 season.
Nine different Spartans win awards; Hildebrand named MVP for third consecutive year.
Neil Koepke previews Friday's Big Ten Tournament semifinal.
Neil Koepke previews this weekend's big series with Michigan.
Notes, quotes and analysis from Neil Koepke on Friday's 3-0 win over Wisconsin.
2014-15 (RS-Sophomore): Voted the winner of the Spartan Fitness Award for the second consecutive year … Played in all 35 contests and was paired with Carson Gatt nearly every game ... Had three assists and scored his first-career goal ... Assisted on Matt DeBlouw’s game-winning goal vs. Michigan at Joe Louis Arena (1/30) ... Assisted on John Draeger’s goal in a 4-2 win at Minnesota (2/27) ... Scored his first-career goal vs. Michigan (12/29) in the GLI championship game and had an assist the previous game in a 2-0 win over Ferris State (12/28) to earn a spot on the GLI all-tournament team … Blocked 42 shots including 24 in Big Ten play.
2013-2014 (RS-Freshman): Appeared in 31 games on the blue line, finishing the season with four assists and 48 blocked shots ... Winner of the team's Spartan Fitness Award ... Recorded assists in each of the first three games of the season ... Picked up his first career point with an assist at UMass (10/18) ... Led the team in penalty minutes with 49 ... Blocked a season-high five shots at UMass (10/19).
2012-13 (Freshman): Saw action in three games ... Played in both contests vs. Niagara (10/19-20) and the opener at LSSU (10/26).
Prior to MSU: Selected in the fourth round (102nd overall) by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft ... Came to MSU after three seasons with the Okotoks organization ... In 47 games in 2011-12, owned a 3-7-10 scoring line with a team-high 223 penalty minutes, which ranked fourth in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL)... Nominated for AHJL Defenseman of the Year ... Two of his three goals on the season were game-winners ... Helped Okotoks to a second-place finish in the AJHL South Division his final season ... Was an All-League selection and won the "Rock Solid" award his final year as well ... Won a gold medal with Team Canada-West at the World Junior A Challenge in November 2011, in Langley, BC, downing Team Canada-East... Joined the Oilers as a 16-year old in the 2009-2010 season, playing in 57 games, scoring three goals and adding eight assists en route to Rookie of the Year honors and was a All-Rookie Team selection ... In 2010-11, was named to Team West for the World Junior A Challenge ... Played in only 31 games with the Oilers due to injury ... Recorded a pair of goals and nine assists in limited action.
Personal: Born Sept. 25, 1993 in Calgary, Alberta .... Son of Len and Jerrie Holland ... Mother played basketball in college ... Has one sister, Madison, who is studying broadcasting at Mount Royal College ... Graduated from Holy Trinity Academy in 2011 ... Enjoys fishing, hunting, and hiking when away from the rink ... Enjoys the play of LA Kings defenseman Matt Greene, who he tries to model his game after ... Lists his idol as longtime NHL'er and cancer survivor Saku Koivu, because "he battled tremendous amounts of adversity, yet remained successful" ... Considers his father his greatest hockey influence, as he stuck with him through the ups and downs and made him into the player he is today.