The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 6, 1979-Page 3C
Blue icers have nowhere to go but up
By BOB EMORY
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association never has
been known for its predictability.
The 1976-77 season serves as one example. Michigan was
felt to be a strong team, but not quite as good (on paper
anyway), as the year before when they finished fourth in the
ten-team league. Six players were lost to graduation and the
rest of the team was made up mostly of sophomores and
BUT WHEN THE regular season was over and all the
playoff ice chips had settled, Michigan had lost an overtime
game in the NCAA finals at Olympia to Wisconsin, which just
happened to have the finest group of college hockey players
ever assembled on one team in one year.
The following season, 1977-78, wasn't much different, only
this time the Wolverines were expected to win the league and
then make a serious bid to win their first national crown since
1964 and their eighth overall.
The Denver Post rated Michigan number one in the nation
and through the first 14 games of the season, the Wolverines
did little to make one think otherwise. They were cruising
along with an 11-3 record and scoring goals in bunches
before, as Joseph Heller once declared in a different time and
context, Something Happened.
: BEGINNING WITH a two-game sweep by Michigan Tech,
the Wolverines proceeded to lose 19 of their last 23 games,
finish in a three-way tie for seventh place in the WCHA, and
then miss the playoffs altogether, based on their season
series against the other two teams with identical records,'
Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth.
Michigan: a year to forget
Last year's 6-25-1 conference record (8-27-1 overall) can
be attributed to three factors: inexperience, injuries to three
hightscoring centers, and weak goaltending. All three played
ad equal part in giving Michigan its worst record since 1973.
Of the eighteen guys that played most of the time, six
were freshmen, seven were sophomores and there were only
two juniors and two seniors. The defense especially was
young and it showed. Three freshmen and two sophomores
composed the rearguard and opponents managed to score an
average of 5.86 goals per game against the Wolverines.
THAT STATISTIC, however, was mostly the fault of the
three goaltenders, Rudy Varvari, Bob Sutton and Peter
Brown. Neither one was consistent for more than four period
in a row and it got so that coach Dan Farrell didn't know who
At one of the "Blue Line" Luncheons last year, Farrell
said: "Lately we've walked in right before the game and
tgirow a puck to the goalie who we decided to start but one
In the third game of the season against Duluth, an unfor-
tunate thing happened to the Wolverines. Terry Cullen, the
most highly recruited freshman in the country, suffered a
very serious neck injury and was lost for the year. Never
mind that he would have bolstered the offense immensely,
there is a chance Cullen will never play hockey again. The
doctors won't make a decision until late September.
Dan Lerg and freshman sensation Murray Eaves were the
other two centers to get injured. Lerg, an Olympic candidate
and veteran scorer from the glory team of 1977, missed 13
games with a knee injury and Eaves was leading the team in
scoring until he tore ligaments in his knee and missed the
final 13 games of the season.
FARRELL WENT out and recruited five forwards, all
with impressive junior records, in an effort to put some pun-
ch back into his offense that only scored 3.61 goals per game
last year. Of the five, Brad Tippett from Prince Albert,
Saskatchewan, Bruno Baseotto from Calgary and Ted
Spears, a local All-Stater from Ann Arbor Pioneer look to be
Tippett was an All-Canadian Junior left wing and Baseotto
was the leading scorer last year in the Alberta Junior
League, believed to be the strongest division in Canadian
With all of this, however, the offense is still a big "If." If
Cullen can play again, if Lerg doesn't make the Olympic
team, if Eves can duplicate his phenomenal rookie season
and if some of the freshmen can strengthen the wings, then
Wolverine Hockey Statistics
BLUE SOPHOMORE center Murray Eaves moves in on the Colorado College net, but this time the angle is covered by the
sprawling goalie. Eaves was the Wolverines' leading scorer last season, until he tore ligaments in his knee, missing the final
13 games of the season. Along with Eaves, two other Blue centermen, Dan Lerg and Terry Cullen, were both sidelined
with critical injuries, playing a part in Michigan's last place finish in the WCHA.
OVERA LL (8-27-1)
M. Miller, LW .............2:
M. Eaves, C............. 12
T. Manning, D............
J. Olver................ 10
D. Todd, RW ............... 12
B. Wheeler, .LW..........
R. Bourne,C............... 7
J. Mars, RW...........
D. May. RW............. 8
J. Tessier, LW........... 6
B. Lundberg, D ............ 4
G. Hampson, C...........6
J.BlumD ................. 1
S. Richmond, L.W......... 2
M. Coffman, RW...........
P. Brandrup, D ............ I
D. Richter, D .............. 2
M. Perry, D ............... I
D. Brennan............ 0
J. Waymann, D......... 0
T. Cullen, C............. 0
R. VarvariG........... 0
B. Sutton, G..............0
R. Pacholzuk, LW ........ 0
P. Mason, (7.............. 0
MICHIGAN TOTALS ...... 132
P. Mason I-5 ..,...............
R. Varvari 6-13 ............
B. Sutton 1-9-1.............
MICHIGAN TOTALS 8-27-1 ...
Opponents 27-8-1 ..............
W C Hl A
GA AVG. SAVS PCT.
27 4.85 167 .861
144 5.56 .855 814
75 6.07 4:39 .854
210 5.75 1221 .85:3
132 3.60 942 .877
You have your academic
institutions of higher learning,
,and then you have some colleges
which seem to emphasize
athletics to the exclusion of all
But Michigan treats academics
and sports equally-doing both in
a big way. The Blue gridders
pack in 100,000 bodies each fall
' weekend, while the basketball
squad has routinely played to
sellout crowds the last three
years in modern Crisler Arena.
Don Canham's financial and
promotional ability have seen to
it that Michigan possesses one of
the most lucrative and successful
athletic departments in the coun-
try, With both men's and women's
minor sports programs growing
in participation each year.
When you were in the second grade
your folks made you join the Cub Scouts
or Brownies, right? Hated every
minute of it, except for cookie time, eh?
Well, here's an invitation to join
another group - the Daily Sports staff.
We meet every evening, Monday
through Saturday, to put out the sports
pages, with most of us only working one
night a week.
Daily sports writers travel to Colum-
bus, Bloomington, East Lansing and
Crisler Arena, among other athletic
hotspots. Along with writing stories and
columns, we have an AP sports wire, to
get you all the world and national sports
Come on over and give us a look - it's
a lot of fun, great experience, and like
school, only requires as much time as
you wish to spend.
-Geoff Larcom, Sports Editor
YES THERE IS MEXICAN FOOD
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Come & Discover Our Delicious
Assortment of Mexican Treats
including: TACOIS (hard and soft shell)
We also serve vegetarian beans
and other vegetarian items
Try Us! You'll Like Us!
EAT IN OR CARRY OUT
414 E. William, just 2 blocks from the Union
GQALTENDING stability was a prime concern in coach
Dan Farrell's recruiting efforts this year, resulting in the
signing of Paul Fricker, the top goalie in the Pacific Coast
League last year, by Michigan.
time, the goalie we chose dropped the puck and then we knew
we were in trouble."
Trouble is right. Varvari saw the most action, posting a 6-
13> record with a 5.60 gaa. Sutton, a University of Pen-
nsyvlania transfer, was 1-9-1 with a 6.39 gaa and Mason, im-
pr'essive at times for a freshman, was 1-5 with a 4.85 gaa.
The goaltending situation should improve considerably
with the recuritment of Paul Fricker from Vancouver.
Fricker was the top goaltiender in the Pacific Coast Junior
League last year and Farrell is counting on him developing
inito a fine goalie in this league.
"NO MATTER WHAT," said Farrell, "we can't go wrong
With our goaltending this year." If Fricker proves he can
pay well in the WCHA too, and with the other three having
onie more year of experience, it would be wrong indeed for
them not to improve onlast year's performance.
Michigan should be a good scoring team. If not, or if only one
or two of the ifs come true, scoring will again be a major
problem for the Wolverines.
FARRELL WAS so confident that his young defense would
come around this year, that he didn't even recruit one defen-
seman. "We didn't see too many better young defensemen in
the league than the six we've used all year," was what he
said at the end of the season.,
Junior to be Tim Manning was the mainstay. He was third
in scoring (7-27-34) last year and he has gained much ex-
perience over the last two years.Freshman Brian Lundberg
was a big surprise last season and Farrell is very high on the
kid. Although not a big scorer, the big (5-11, 180) powerful
blond handles the puck well, can block shots, ram people into
the boards and he improved steadily with each game.
Mark Perry and John Blum are entering their third year
of play and should give the defense much confidence. Both
are strong, solid defensemen who don't mind going into the
corners. Blum led the team in penalty minutes last year with
87 and whenever a fracas occurred, Blum could usually be
found in the vicinity.
One Final Thought
After two losing seasons in a row, rumors (as usual)
began to fly concerning Farrell's position. Despite the fact
that the team was the youngest in Michigan history, Farrell
still felt pressure from certain people about his record.
BUT FARRELL, a short, compact man, took it all in
stride and he views the coming season philosophically: "I'd
be lying if I said I didn't feel pressure," he said. "But we're
all trying our very hardest and we'll go out and play the best
we can, and whatever happens, happens."
And that's just the point. In the wild and wacky world of
the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, anything can