Neil's Notebook

Latest Entries

Thomas Ebbing had a career-best three points in the win. MSU Athletics
Neil's Notebook: A Night of Firsts in Win over Clarkson
Joe Cox, Thomas Ebbing and Ryan Keller each scored their first goals of the season on Sunday and Michigan State received the secondary scoring it's been looking for in a hard-fought 6-4 victory over Clarkson in a nonconference game at Munn Arena.

Ron Boyd MSU Athletics
Neil's Notebook: Spartans Seek Consistency in Final Game Before Break
Last Saturday, Michigan State played its best game of the year. Without a doubt, the Spartans 3-3 tie and shootout victory over the No. 3/6 Gophers was a game to savor. So what will the Spartans deliver on Sunday when they close out the pre-Christmas part of the season with a nonconference contest against Clarkson?

Brent Darnell scored twice in Saturdays tie. MSU Athletics
Neil's Notebook: Darnell Leads Spartans' Bounce-Back Effort
Less than 24 hours after watching Michigan State's series opener against Minnesota from the stands as a healthy scratch, Brent Darnell got back into the lineup Saturday and had arguably the best game of his Michigan State career.

Complete Archives

12/15/2014 - Neil's Notebook: A Night of Firsts in Win over Clarkson
12/12/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Seek Consistency in Final Game Before Break
12/07/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Darnell Leads Spartans' Bounce-Back Effort
12/06/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Look to Regroup After Friday's Loss
12/04/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Lineup Shuffling Produces Results For Spartans
11/27/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans in Search of Sweep
11/19/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Eager to Start Big Ten Play at OSU
11/15/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Suffer One-Goal Loss to No. 8 BC
11/06/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Penalty Kill Shines in Early Going
11/02/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Walsh's Goal Sparks Victory
11/01/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Create Chances, But Can't Convert
10/30/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Similarities Abundant For Spartans and Bulldogs Ahead of Weekend Series
10/19/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Fall Short in Bid for Sweep
10/18/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Top Line Delivers in Opener
10/08/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Freshmen Strong Exhibition Game
04/03/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Season Review and Look Forward
03/21/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Season Ends With OT Heartbreak
03/19/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Energized Spartans Ready for Big Ten Tourney
03/16/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Early Deficit Too Much to Overcome
03/15/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Special Teams Push Spartans to Victory
03/13/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Seniors Lead Spartans Into Final Home Weekend
03/09/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Yanakeff Delivers in Comeback Win Over Michigan
03/08/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Out of Sync in Loss
03/02/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Rally, But Come Up Short in Exhibition
02/27/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Face Talented U-18 Squad in Saturday Exhibition
02/13/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Look To Break Through on the Road
02/09/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Wolfe, Hildebrand Shine in Second Straight Tie With OSU
02/08/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Late Goals Force Tie
02/06/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Freshmen Making Strides
02/02/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Play Gophers Tough in Hard-Fought Series
02/01/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Push Minnesota; Win Shootout Again
01/30/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Ready to Challenge Top-Ranked Gophers
01/25/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Swept by Michigan
01/24/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Produce Chances, But Fall Short
01/22/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Jake Chelios Continues His Production
01/19/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Sweep Penn State
01/18/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Senior Line Produces in 3-0 Win
01/12/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Better Effort Leads to Tie, Shootout Win
01/11/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Third-Period Goals Doom Spartans
01/09/2014 - Neil's Notebook: Berry Eager to Regain Form as Spartans Head to Columbus
12/29/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Solid Defensive Effort Leads to Win Over Michigan
12/28/2013 - Spartans Enjoy Outdoor Experience, But Come Up Short in Shootout
12/16/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Shut Out in Final Game Before GLI
12/13/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Krygier Consistent on the Blue Line
12/08/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Recapping the Weekend
12/07/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Begin Big Ten Play in Solid Fashion
12/05/2013 - Neil's Notebook: The Big Ten Era Begins
12/02/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Find Chemistry in Weekend Sweep
11/30/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Solid Effort Leads to Win Over Princeton
11/27/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Welcome Ivy League Opponent to Munn
11/24/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Experience Gained in Saturday's Loss
11/23/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Look to Bounce Back Tonight
11/21/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Ferrantino Making His Mark Early in the Season
11/10/2013 - Neil's Notebook: A Closer Look at the MTU Series
11/09/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Look to Bounce Back on Saturday
11/07/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Renew Series with Huskies
11/04/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Yanakeff Delivers in Finale vs. AIC
11/02/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Senior Linemates Step Up In Win
10/31/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Jake Chelios off to a Strong Start
10/26/2013 - Neil's Notebook: MacEachern Nets First Goal in Loss
10/24/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Looking Ahead to This Weekend
10/17/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Goaltending Tandem Leads Spartans Into Opening Weekend
10/10/2013 - Neil's Notebook: A Look at Wednesday's Win
09/26/2013 - Neil's Notebook: MSU Hockey Media Day
08/21/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Pro Camp Adds More Spartan Bonding Moments
03/26/2013 - Danton Cole to Be Honored as Distinguished Spartan
03/19/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Building Blocks In Place As Season Concludes
03/14/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Alaska Series A Shot Of Confidence
03/08/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Second Season Begins
03/04/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Quite the Script for Spartan Seniors
03/01/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Four Years, Gone in a Blink
02/21/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Sorenson Heads
02/18/2013 - Neil's Notebook: 'Satisfying' Win a Springboard for Stretch Run?
02/14/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Freshman MVP?
02/11/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Wolfe Finally Seeing Some Reward
02/07/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Energy, Commitment of Ferrantino Apparent
02/04/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Spartan Struggles are Complex
01/28/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Rivalry Week, With A Twist
01/24/2013 - Neil's Notebook: A Look at What's To Come in B1G
01/14/2013 - Neil's Notebook: 'We're on the Hook Now'
01/04/2013 - Neil's Notebook: Scoring drought plaguing Spartans
12/30/2012 - Third Period Collapse Spells Doom for Spartans
12/28/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Seniors Ready for Final GLI
12/15/2012 - Spartans Halt Skid with 3-1 Win Over Ferris State
12/11/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Mistakes Prove Costly in Recent Games
12/06/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Draeger Keeps it Simple
11/29/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Look to Provide Consistent Offense
11/15/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Maturing Berry Coming Into His Own
11/11/2012 - Record Crowd Watches 7-2 Rout of Michigan
11/10/2012 - MSU Falls at Michigan, 5-1
11/08/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Goaltender Competition a Positive
11/02/2012 - Spartans Fall, 1-0, to Bowling Green
11/01/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Sorenson's Happy, Productive as a Sophomore
10/29/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Taking Stock After the First Month of the Season
10/19/2012 - Three-Goal Rally Propels MSU to Win Over Niagara
10/18/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Captain Greg Wolfe Emerges as Quiet Leader
10/11/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Inexperienced Spartans Face Big Opening Challenges
10/09/2012 - MSU Posts 6-1 Victory in Windsor Exhibition
04/10/2012 - Dwayne Norris Honored as Distinguished Spartan
03/24/2012 - Neil's Notebook: P for Progress
03/19/2012 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Second Season
03/15/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Await NCAA Fate
03/11/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Different Effort, Though Same Result
03/02/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Yanakeff Coming On Strong
02/26/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Operation Rebound
02/23/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Final Weekend Big for Spartans
02/19/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Senior Night Script Has Happy Ending
02/18/2012 - Neil's Notebook: OT Monkey Comes off Spartans' Back
02/16/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Seniors Writing Happy Ending to Challenging Careers
02/13/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Final Games Critical in CCHA Race
02/12/2012 - Neil's Notebook: 'That's Hockey'
02/11/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Captain Krug Rises to the Occasion
02/09/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Excel on the Kill
01/29/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Third Period Is Recent Turning Point
01/26/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Krug's Leadership, Play Impressive
01/26/2012 - Championships Built On Memberships
01/23/2012 - Neil's Notebook: More 'Very Good Teams' Await Spartans
01/22/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Settle for Four Points in LSSU Weekend
01/21/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans' Poise, Resiliency Pays Off
01/19/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Merrifield A Guy Who Makes Spartans Go
01/16/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Competitive CCHA is Tight in Standings
01/14/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Have Good, Bad News From Friday
01/12/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Look to Get Scoring Touch Back
01/07/2012 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at a Tough OT Loss
01/05/2012 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Stress Consistency in Second Half
01/01/2012 - Neil's Notebook: GLI Brings About Fantastic Play, Heartbreak
12/30/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at an 'Ugly Win'
12/28/2011 - Neil's Notebook: GLI Success Important to Krug, Spartans
12/21/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Nill Strives for Impact Beyond MSU Career
12/12/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the First Half
12/11/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Shootout Victory
12/05/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Surging Spartans Making Up Ground
12/04/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Spartans Stay on Task to Sweep
12/01/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Scoring Questions Answered Early
11/27/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Tie With the Gophers
11/26/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A second look at the Friday win over the Gophers
11/24/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Re-igniting A Future Rivalry With Minnesota
11/21/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the NMU Series
11/17/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Shelgren Prepared For, Savoring Senior Season
11/12/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at Yanakeff's Performance
11/10/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Changes Suit Reimer's Game
11/14/2001 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Sweep of Western Michigan
11/07/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Changes Suit Reimer's Gam
11/04/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the First Month of the Season
10/31/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Series Sweep of Robert Morris
10/29/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Win Over RMU
10/27/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Wolfe Developing Into Goal Scorer
10/24/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Home Opener
10/21/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Ohio State shutout
10/17/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at the Laker Series
10/13/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Nill Needs to Think Less, 'Have More Fun' Playing Hockey
10/10/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at Opening Weekend
10/07/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Perlini's Skill, Will Helps Lead Spartans
10/04/2011 - Neil's Notebook: A Second Look at our First Look at the Spartans
09/27/2011 - Neil's Notebook: Hockey Media Day
08/25/2001 - Neil's Notebook: News from Spartan Pro Camp
MSU Athletics

About The Author

Neil Koepke

Neil Koepke, one of the longest-tenured and most-respected college hockey journalists in the country, joined the staff of as a hockey writer. Koepke will provide exclusive content to the site weekly throughout the college hockey season, extending his coverage of Spartan hockey into its 26th year.

Koepke has covered college hockey for 39 seasons, which includes the last 25 as the hockey beat writer for the Spartan hockey program in the Lansing State Journal. Prior to joining the LSJ staff, he had spent 13 seasons as the University of Michigan beat reporter for the Ann Arbor News and one year as an analyst with Ken Kal, now the voice of the Red Wings, on U-M radio broadcasts on WAAM.

Koepke joined the Lansing State Journal in the fall of 1986, beginning his beat when the Spartans were coming off an NCAA title the previous spring. As he did back in that fall, Koepke switches media outlets at a pivotal turning point in the MSU hockey program, as Michigan State kicked off its 71st season of varsity hockey - and the first in the head coaching career of former Spartan playerTom Anastos - in early October.

"Neil is someone who is well-known in the hockey community, and is well versed not only in the history of our program, but also on the history of college hockey on the whole," said MSU coach Tom Anastos. "He has a passion for our sport, and a passion for this program. While his work will now appear on the web instead of a printed newspaper, I am confident that his writing will continue to provide unique insight into the Michigan State program. I am excited that we were able to bring him aboard."

Koepke has covered 34 NCAA Frozen Fours, starting in 1977 when Wisconsin defeated Michigan 6-5 in overtime to win the NCAA title at Olympia Stadium in Detroit. He has covered Michigan State in seven of its Frozen Four appearances (1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2001, and 2007), the last six for the Lansing State Journal. In all, he has covered more than 1,000 Spartan hockey games over his last quarter-century of coverage.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Koepke began playing hockey at age 11 and spent one season playing for the Ohio State University freshman team as a goaltender. He graduated from the University of Detroit in 1970.