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Lewandowski Named B1G Freshman of the Year; Three Spartans Earn All-Conference

March 13, 2018

EAST LANSING - Mitchell Lewandowski was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was one of three Spartans to receive All-Big Ten honors, the conference office announced on Tuesday, March 13. Sophomore Taro Hirose was voted to the All-Big Ten Second Team, while Lewandowski and senior Carson Gatt earned honorable mention all-conference. Additionally, Lewandowski was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and was the only unanimous selection on any of the all-conference teams.

“To be able to come in as a freshman and score 19 goals in today’s college game is really impressive,” MSU head coach Danton Cole said of Lewandowski. “Somewhat like Taro, he never really had a huge falling off – he started scoring early and kept scoring right until the last weekend of the year. He played a critical part on our top line and had a great year.”

Lewandowski finished his rookie year with team-leading 19 goals, which tied for the most in the Big Ten during the regular season. His 33 points during the regular season ranked second on the team and tied for eighth in the Big Ten. He added an assist in the conference quarterfinal series vs. Ohio State to give him 34 points on the year, which were the most by a Spartan rookie since 2002-03 when David Booth had 36.

Lewandowski’s goal total placed him in elite company, as he became just the seventh freshman in program history – and first in 20 years – to score at least 19 goals. Only Rod Brind’Amour (27), Joe Murphy (24), Kip Miller (22) and Rustyn Dolyny (20) had more goals during their rookie seasons in Green and White.

The native of Clarkston ended the regular season with nine more goals and eight more points than any other Big Ten rookie and led all conference freshmen in points, goals, power-play goals, power-play points and game-winning goals. In Big Ten games, he was tops among rookies in goals (13) and power-play goals (5), while tying for first in points (18) and game-winning goals (2).

Nationally, Lewandowski was first among all rookies in goals and power-play goals and third in points at the end of the regular season.

Lewandowski is the first Spartan to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and fifth player in program history to earn conference rookie of the year honors, joining Jeff Lerg (2006), Rod Brind’Amour (1989), Joe Murphy (1986) and Bill Shibicky (1984), who all collected the accolade in the CCHA.

Lewandowski had nine multi-point games, including four contests – all Spartan wins – with at least three points. He had a season-high four points, including the game-winning goal with 1:26 to play, in a 6-4 win over Western Michigan on Oct.20. His other game-winning goals came vs. Lake Superior State (Oct. 28); Ferris State (Nov. 18); Wisconsin (Jan. 12); and Penn State (Feb. 16).

He was named a Big Ten Star of the Week four times in 2017-18.

Hirose’s 42 points were the most by a Spartan since Corey Tropp had the same number in 2009-10 as he became just the fourth Spartan since 2007-08 to eclipse the 40-point plateau. His 30 assists were the most by a Spartan since 2004-05 when Jim Slater had 32.

Hirose finished the regular season second in the Big Ten in both points (40) and assists (28).

“Right from the beginning of the season, Taro was leading the way in scoring and it seemed like every close game that we won he was involved,” Cole said. “He was just really consistent throughout the whole year, and never went more than a game or two without a point. Even more impressive were the matchups that his line faced all year; they pretty much saw the other team’s best defensemen and best defensive forwards all season and he was able to keep producing and leading us.”

Hirose didn’t go more than two consecutive games without a point and registered at least a point in more games (25) than any other player in the Big Ten. The Spartans went 8-3 when Hirose recorded at least two points as his 11 multi-point games were a team high.

The native of Calgary, Alberta, started the season with points in each of the first six games, which included scoring the winning goal with 40 seconds to play in the home opener vs. Bowling Green. Hirose had a season-long seven-game point streak from Nov. 10 – Dec. 1 over which he had nine points and an overtime game-winner vs. Ferris State on Nov. 17.

He had four, three-point games, the last of which came in the form of a goal and two assists in a win at No. 5 Notre Dame on Feb. 24.

Hirose was often at his best on the man-advantage where he led the Big Ten in power-play assists with 16 and tied for tops in points with 17.

Hirose and Lewandowski played alongside sophomore center Patrick Khodorenko all season as the trio combined for 108 points – 44% of the Spartans’ team total.

Along with providing valuable leadership on one of the nation’s youngest teams, Gatt was also the Spartans’ highest-scoring defenseman, producing a career-high 19 points, which ranked seventh among Big Ten blueliners. His 15 assists tied for third most on the team.

“Carson did a great job on and off the ice for us as one of our captains,” Cole said. “He contributed offensively and defensively, led our team in ice time and got every hard matchup and tough assignment we could give him; he just had an outstanding year.”

For Gatt, it is his second straight All-Big Ten honorable mention selection. He is also the Spartans’ recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, which goes to honoree from each of the seven Big Ten teams. The student-athletes chosen for the Sportsmanship Award are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

Gatt, a South Lyon native, started the year with assists in four of the first five games and had points in back-to-back games seven times in 2017-18. The Spartans never lost when he scored, going 2-0-2.

Gatt, who will graduate this spring with a degree in political theory and constitutional democracy, was the lone senior in the Spartans’ lineup for 29 of 36 games. He finished his career with 41 points (7g, 34) and 220 blocked shots in 133 games.

2017-18 All-Big Ten Hockey Team and Individual Awards
As selected by Big Ten coaches and Media Voting Panel

Cooper Marody, F, Michigan
Jake Evans, F, Notre Dame
Tanner Laczynski, F, Ohio State
Jordan Gross, D, Notre Dame
Trevor Hamilton, D, Penn State
Cale Morris, G, Notre Dame

Tony Calderone, F, Michigan
Taro Hirose, F, Michigan State
Mason Jobst, F, Ohio State
Quinn Hughes, D, Michigan
Sasha Larocque, D, Ohio State
Sean Romeo, G, Ohio State

Mitchell Lewandowski, F, Michigan State
Tyler Sheehy, F, Minnesota
Matthew Weis, F, Ohio State
Andrew Sturtz, F, Penn State
Trent Frederic, F, Wisconsin
Carson Gatt, D, Michigan State
Ryan Lindgren, D, Minnesota
Wyatt Kalynuk, D, Wisconsin
Peter Tischke, D, Wisconsin
Hayden Lavigne, G, Michigan

Mitchell Lewandowski, F, MICHIGAN STATE
Casey Mittelstadt, F, Minnesota
Linus Weissbach, F, Wisconsin
Quinn Hughes, D, Michigan
Wyatt Kalynuk, D, Wisconsin
Tommy Nappier, G, Ohio State

Cale Morris, G, Notre Dame

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Defenseman or Forward):
Trevor Hamilton, D, Penn State

Cale Morris, G, Notre Dame

Mitchell Lewandowski, F, Michigan State

Steve Rohlik, Ohio State

Cooper Marody, F, Michigan


Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees
Sam Piazza, Michigan; Carson Gatt, Michigan State; Mike Szmatula, Minnesota; Andrew Oglevie, Notre Dame; Christian Lampasso, Ohio State; Erik Autio, Penn State; Tim Davison, Wisconsin.



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