Notes, quotes and analysis from Neil Koepke on Friday's OT win over Ferris State.
2007-08 (Senior): Participated in the NCAA Skills Challenge, where he won the hardest shot competition; his winning blast was clocked at 95.8 mph, a full five miles-per-hour faster than his closest competition ... Honorable Mention All-CCHA selection ... A 2008 CCHA Best Defensive Defenseman award finalist ... Has transformed from a stay-at-home defenseman to a dynamic defensive anchor who can also join the offensive rush ... Recorded four points - all assists - in MSU's first three home games, including a two-assist game against Northern Michigan (10/26) ... Earned CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors (Nov. 5) after a five-point weekend in a sweep at Alaska ... Had a hand in every MSU goal in the first game against the Nanooks, scoring once and adding a pair of assists (11/2) ... Scored the game-winner and assisted on Tim Kennedy's power-play goal in the series finale at Alaska (11/2) ... Continued his point-scoring streak with an assist in each game of the home sweep of Mercyhurst (11/9-10) ... Ended three-game pointless streak with an assist on Bryan Lerg's first-period goal against Wisconsin (11/24) ... Dished out a solo assist on Justin Abdelkader's first-period goal against Ferris State (12/7) in game one of the series ... Contributed primary helper on Bryan Lerg's game-winning power-play goal in game one of January's Lake Superior State series (1/4) ... Snapped a seven-game scoreless streak with a power-play goal against Michigan (1/26), tallying the first point of his career against the Wolverines ... Assisted on Jeff Dunne's late third-period power-play goal at Northern Michigan (2/8) ... Recorded a pair of assists in game one of the Western Michigan series (2/15), including a helper on Bryan Lerg's game-winner as well on the primary assist on Tim Kennedy's short-handed tally in the third period ... Assisted on Bryan Lerg's third-period power-play goal in game one of the Michigan series (2/22) ... Finished the regular season with two assists against Bowling Green (2/29), helping on two of Justin Abdelkader's three goals ... Led the team with 55 blocked shots.
2006-07 (Junior): Voted team's Most Improved Player after enjoying a breakout junior season ... One of four skaters to appear in all 42 games ... Posted seven goals and five assists after one goal and two assists in his first two varsity seasons combined to tie for second among full-time blueliners ... Led the team with a +19 ... Finished second among defensemen in postseason scoring with 3-2-5 in eight games ... Collected his first assist of the season on Tim Kennedy's goal against Sacred Heart (10/28) ... Had points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career in the Miami series in Oxford (1/5-6). He assisted on a Tim Crowder goal Friday, then Saturday night, he scored his second career goal :56 into the third period. It sparked a four-goal final frame for the Spartans ... Named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week (1/8) for his play in the Miami series, where he was a +5 and helped the penalty kill go 9-for-9 on the weekend ... Tallied his second goal of the season and third of his career with just 23 seconds remaining in the second period of MSU's 4-0 shutout of Lake Superior State (1/20). Followed that up with a goal with just 1:01 left in the first period of the Spartans next game, a 5-1 route of Nebraska-Omaha (2/2), to create the first goal-scoring streak of his career ... Tallied his first career power-play goal - and fourth goal of the season - in game one of the Western Michigan series (2/16) ... Played in both games of the Nebraska-Omaha series in the CCHA quarterfinals, and was a +2 ... Had the most prolific offensive day of his career in the CCHA consolation game against Lake Superior (3/17), scoring a goal in each of the first two periods and assisting on Tyler Howell's overtime game-winning goal. It was the first two-goal/three-point game of his career. Also finished the game with a +4 rating ... Pinched in from the blue line and netted the fourth goal in Michigan State's 5-1 rout of Boston University in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal (3/23) ... Collected an assist on Chris Mueller's empty-net marker with 1.2 seconds remaining in the NCAA title-game victory over Boston College (4/7) ... Finished the postseason with a plus/minus rating of +8, good for second on the team and first among blueliners.
2005-06 (Sophomore): Appeared in 43 of 45 Spartan contests ... Collected his first point of the season, an assist, in a 7-4 loss to Nebraska-Omaha (11/11). The assist was his first in the Spartan uniform ... Contributed two assists to a 5-1 victory over Wayne State (1/7). His performance was the first multiple-point game of his career ... Skated in his 50th career game as a Spartan during a 2-1 win over Notre Dame (2/3).
2004-05 (Freshman): Played in 18 games with one goal and six penalty minutes ... Tallied first career goal in 5-0 win over Nebraska-Omaha (3/17) in CCHA Super Six Quarterfinals.
PRIOR TO MSU: Spent two seasons with the St. Michael's Buzzers of the Ontario Provincial Junior "A" Hockey League (2002-04) ... Tallied six goals and 18 assists for 24 points in 39 games in 2003-04 ... Also recorded 61 penalty minutes ... Appeared in 42 games in 2002-03, recording 15-15-30 totals ... Also finished with 68 penalty minutes ... Earned St. Mike's Rookie of the Year honors ... Prior to St. Mike's, played in the Minor-Midget Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) ... Won the Bantam All-Ontario Championship with the Toronto Red Wings in 2001-02 ... Won the PeeWee All-Ontario Championship with the Toronto Marlies in 1999-2000.
PERSONAL: Born Feb. 19, 1986 ... Finance major ... Enjoys playing competitive soccer, boxing and working out ... Graduated from St. Michael's College School in Toronto, Ontario ... Selected as the school's Outstanding Graduating Athlete ... Completed an internship with Voutsara's Financial in the summer of 2006, learning the basics of financial advising ... Favorite NHL team: Toronto Maple Leafs ... Favorite NHL player: Jim Slater ... Says his parents are his idols because "they encourage me to do my best" ... Son of Joe and Isabelle Vukovic ... Sister Natalia played varsity field hockey at York University ... Brother Matthew is in the Canadian Army Reserve and recently completed an eight-month tour in Afghanistan ... Says his parents are his biggest hockey influences because "they have always supported me in all my decisions."
GP G A Pts Shots Shot% Pen Min +/- PPG SHG GWG 2004-05 18 1 0 1 14 .071 4 8 -3 0 0 0 2005-06 43 0 4 4 14 .000 7 14 +7 0 0 0 2006-07 42 7 5 12 37 .189 9 18 +19 1 0 0 2007-08 42 3 19 22 57 .053 12 24 +5 2 0 1 TOTAL 145 11 28 39 122 .090 32 64 +28 3 0 1