Spartan hockey lands strong international recruit

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Matthew Mitchell Photography

Danton Cole/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Kyle Hatty, Hockey Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State landed a huge recruit on Halloween when Nikita Tarasevich committed to MSU. Tarasevich was born in Minsk, Belarus but has played hockey in the United States the past couple years after he played for the Russia Selects U-13 “A” team.

Tarasevich is a very skilled and versatile forward, but slightly undersized at 5-foot-9’ and weighing 165 pounds, however he plays very strong with the puck despite his size. Scouting reports say he is a quick forward with incredible vision in all three zones of the ice and a quick release when shooting.

He could be a very good accusation for the Spartans on the power play, he would be well utilized on the left side on the umbrella formation since he will have a defenseman up top and Mitchell Lewandowski floating around on the opposite side of the umbrella, and his left shot to counter Lewandowski’s left-handed shot on the right side.

Tarasevich spent last year and will spend this year playing for the Little Caesars U-15 and U-16 team. His production is not an issue, for the past several years he has been floating at around a point per game at all levels he has played at, including selects tournaments.

Last year on the Little Caesars U-15 team he played 68 games and tallied 63 points in those games (38 goals, 25 assists) and will only develop more since he is still only 16 years old. He will play one more season for Little Caesars this year and fine-tune his abilities before he joins the Spartans for the 2020-21 season.

Overall, this is a very good accusation for head coach Danton Cole as he develops the Spartan hockey program more and more every year. Tarasevich will also come in at a good time since this season Michigan State will lose forwards Sam Saliba and Patrick Khodorenko to graduation, but Tarasevich should be capable to pick up some of the slack and replace the production Michigan State will lose this spring.