Neil Koepke previews Friday's Big Ten Tournament semifinal.
2000-01: Posted a 31-5-4 record, a 1.32 goals against average, a .950 saves percentage and 10 shutouts in 40 starts for the Spartans ? Recipient of the 2001 Hobey Baker Award, given to college hockey?s top player ? Became the second goaltender to win the Hobey behind Minnesota?s Robb Stauber in 1988 ? Also the second Spartan to earn the honor ? the first was cousin Kip Miller in 1990 ? Ryan and Kip became the second set of relatives to win the Hobey, preceded by Fusco brothers Mark (1983) and Scott (1986) of Harvard ? Also honored as USA Hockey College Player of the Year, the second Spartan to win that award (Mike York, 1999) ? Tabbed College Hockey Player of the Year by The Hockey News ? Named to the JOFA West All-America first team ? Became first hockey player and first Spartan to be named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year ? Won six CCHA year-end honors ? Player of the Year, Best Goaltender, CCHA Tournament Most Valuable Player, All-CCHA first team, league All-Tournament team and CCHA All-Academic special mention ? Named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week on five occasions (Nov. 6, Jan. 15, Jan. 22, Feb. 12 and March 12) ? Honored as Defensive Player of the Week by U.S. College Hockey Online twice (Jan. 9 and Jan. 23) ? Honored as Spartan hockey Most Valuable Player and won the George Alderton Award for MSU male athlete of the year ? Named to all-Great Lakes Invitational team and earned GLI MVP honors after helping MSU to fourth straight tournament championship ? Also named to the Alaska Anchorage Johnson Nissan Classic All-Tournament team ? Led the nation in saves percentage, goals against average, wins, winning percentage and shutouts ? Ranked third nationally in minutes played ? Became the NCAA?s career shutout leader when he backstopped the Spartans to a 3-0 win over Alaska Fairbanks (Feb. 10) for his 17th career blanking, passing Clarkson?s Wally Easton and Niagara?s Greg Gardner in that category ? Ended the season with 18 career shutouts ? 10 shutouts in 2000-01 were second-best single-season effort in NCAA history ? .950 saves percentage was the best single-season mark in NCAA history ? 1.31 goals against average was third-best in NCAA history ? Broke the CCHA single-season marks for goals against average, saves percentage and shutouts by posting a 1.24 GAA, a .950 saves percentage and nine blankings in conference play ? 16 career shutouts in CCHA play established a new league record ? Shattered the MSU single-season marks he set as a freshman for goals against average and saves percentage ? 31 wins rank tied for second-most by an MSU goaltender in one season as did his 40 games played ? Made 1,024 stops on the year, the fourth-most saves in Spartan single-season history ? Became just the fifth MSU netminder to turn aside more than 1,000 shots in a season ? Reeled off a school-record shutout streak of 229:29 spanning five games between Jan. 14-27 ? Had five shutout streaks of 130:00 or longer on the season ? Recorded shutouts in three straight starts ? vs. Miami (Jan. 19 and 20) and vs. Lake Superior State (Jan. 23) ? for the second time in his career ? Shut out Michigan on Nov. 4 and in the CCHA Tournament championship on March 17 to become the first Spartan goaltender to blank the Wolverines twice in the same season ? Extended his record in the CCHA postseason to 8-0 with two wins vs. Alaska Fairbanks in the first round of the playoffs (March 9-10) and victories over Bowling Green (March 16) and Michigan (March 17) in the CCHA semifinals and finals, respectively ? Made a career-high 42 saves in the Spartans? 3-2 overtime win vs. Michigan Tech in the GLI title game (Dec. 30) ? Turned aside 40 shots in a 3-2 MSU victory at Notre Dame (Oct. 27) ? Allowed two or fewer goals in 35 of 40 starts and accomplished the feat in 12 straight starts on two separate occasions (Oct. 14-Nov. 26 and Dec. 2-Jan. 23) ? Made 30 or more saves 13 times ? Posted a 14-1-1 record, a 0.93 GAA and a .964 saves percentage in 16 home starts ? Allowed 15 goals in 971:34 of playing time at Munn Arena ? Had three assists on the year ? Member of U.S. team that represented the country and finished fourth at the 2001 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Germany last spring ? Tabbed as 22nd-best National Hockey League prospect in the world by The Hockey News.
1999-2000: Second-team All-CCHA and CCHA All-Rookie Team selection ? Presented the CCHA Best Goaltender award for having the lowest conference goals against average (1.34, tying Joe Blackburn?s CCHA record) ? Only freshman on the first two All-CCHA teams ? Earned CCHA Tournament MVP honors after becoming the first goalie ever to shut out his semifinal and final opponents ? Posted a 16-5-3 record, a 1.53 goals against average and a .932 saves percentage in his rookie season while splitting time with Joe Blackburn ? Saves percentage and goals against average were new MSU single-season records ? Second in the nation in goals against average and fourth in the country in save percentage ? Broke Blackburn?s record with a .941 save percentage in conference games ? Posted eight shutouts ? the most in a season by a goaltender in CCHA or WCHA history ? Five shutouts came in conference games, tying Western Michigan?s Marc Magliarditi (1995-96) for the then-single-season conference record ? Had three shutouts in a row ? vs. Ohio State (Oct. 23), vs. Ferris State (Oct. 30) and vs. Alaska-Fairbanks (Nov. 6) ? to become the first MSU goalie to accomplish that feat ? His shutout streak of 191:54 broke Ron Scott?s school record ? He later broke his own mark with a scoreless stretch of 192:39 that ended in the second period of MSU?s NCAA Tournament first-round contest vs. Boston College ? Allowed two goals or fewer in 19 of his 24 starts ? Made a season-high 26 saves in his sixth shutout vs. Northern Michigan ( Feb. 12).
BEFORE MSU: Played for two seasons with the Soo Indians of the NAHL posting a 31-14 record in 1998-99 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage ? Notched eight shutouts and won 10 of 11 shootouts ? Named league Most Valuable Player and Michigan Hockey Magazine?s Junior Player of the Year ? A first-team all-league and all-star selection ? In 1997-98, was named second-team all-league, all-rookie team and the Heaton/USA Hockey Goaltender of the Year ? Played with fellow Spartan freshman Kris Koski in Sault Ste. Marie ? Played for the 1999 U.S. Junior Select Team which won the gold medal at the Freedom Tournament in Lake Placid, N.Y.
WITH TEAM USA: Backed up NHLers Robert Esche (Phoenix Coyotes) and Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders) on Team USA at the 2001 IIHF World Championships ? Participated in the 1999 U.S. National Junior Team evaluation camp ? Led Team Michigan to the gold medal in three straight USA Hockey Select Festivals (15, 16 and 17).
PERSONAL: Born July 17, 1980, in East Lansing, Mich. ? A business major ? A 1999 Buffalo Sabres fifth-round draft pick (138th overall) ? Enjoys playing the guitar and art ? Graduated from Sault Area H.S. where he was a National Honors Society student ? A fan of the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph ? Son of Dean and Teresa Miller ? His father, grandfather (Butch) and uncle (Lyle) all played for the Spartans, as did cousins Kip, Kevin and Kelly Miller and Curtis and Taylor Gemmel.
YEAR GP MIN GA GAA SV SV% W-L-T
1999-2000 26 1524:47 39 1.53 537 .932 16-5-3
2000-01 40 2447:28 54 1.32 1024 .950 31-5-4