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October 28, 1983 - Image 13

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-28

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 28, 1983 - Page 13

Falcons, Buckeyes get
early nod in CCHA

By MIKE MCGRAW
When you think of the hockey hotbeds
of the nation, the quiet, rural state of
Ohio usually is not the first location to
pop into your mind.
But this season the Buckeye state will
be bouncing into the Central Collegiate
Hockey Association race with the top
two teams.
Bowling Green, regular season con-
ference champions the last two years,
and Ohio State, owners of the top-
scoring line in the country, are the
CCHA favorites as the season gets un-
derway.
\ THE FALCONS return eight of their
top nine scorers from last year's squad,
but that one loss is a big one. Two time
all-American Brian Hills, who set a
conference record with 82 points last
year, was lost to graduation and BGSU
will be forced to defend its crowns
without him.
without him.
But the Falcons still have loads of
returning scorers. Forwards Dan Kane
(58 pts), John1Semanski (57), and Peter
Wilson (49) will lead the assault, while
record-setting defenseman Gary
Galley, who scored 17 goals to top all
league blue-liners, also returns.
However, the team from northwest
Ohio will be breaking in a new goalie in
freshman Gary Kruzich from Illinois,
and also lost two other key members of
the last year's roster, so head coach
Jerry York isn't convinced his team
will be on top for a third straight time.

Greater balance seen
in '83-84 campaign

defend that honor. The Buckeyes also
sport goalie John Dougan, who was ten-
th in the country last year with a 3.33
goals against average.
"We have a good, if not
the best chance to be on top
this year," said OSU coach Jerry
Welsh. "Us and Northern are probably
the most experienced teams. But I don't
think there'll be as big a separation
between the teams this year. The
league is moving towards the middle on
both ends."
Michigan State, defending playoff
champions, will still be tough, but lost
Ron Scott, probably the best goalie in
the country the last two years, and are
also missing last season's leading
scorer and two top defensemen.
But coach Ron Mason still has
strength in forwards Newell Brown,
Gord Flagel, and Lyle Phair to con-
tribute some goals and if the two new
goalies, freshmen Norm Foster and
Bob Essensa play well, they could be
near the top once again.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN coach Rick
Comley is excited about the Wildcat
team this year and, with 21 lettermen
returning, he should be. The team is led
by senior netminder Jeff Poeschl, who
compiled a 3.12 goals-against last
season. Northern lost leading scorer
Eric Ponath, but NMU will try to pick
up the slack with center Bob Curtis and
wing Dave Mogush, the team's second
and third leading scorers last season.
The biggest break of the off-season
had tobedwhen the Canadian Olympic
team made its final cut a few weeks
ago, because among the rejects were
Michigan Tech's top two non-seniors of
a year ago, center Bill Terry and defen-
seman Dave Ryerson. The Huskies
also bring back most of their defense,

but the team is very young.
A squad on the rise this season could
be the Ferris State Bulldogs. The Big
Rapids school managed a strong finish
last year and gave MSU all it could
handle in the first round of the playoffs
before succumbing to a last period,
three-goal Spartan rally. FSC has two
legitimate all-conference candidates on
its roster in center Randy Merrifield
and defenseman Jim File.
ONE OF LAST year's surprise
teams, Miami of Ohio, lost quite a few
good players to graduation and has 14
freshmen and sophomores on the
roster. But the Redskins do still have
the key man from that sixth-place
finishing team in goalie Alain Chevrier,
so they could damage title hopes late in
the season after gaining some ex-
perience.
Speaking of needing experience,
Western Michigan has eight freshman
and six sophomores among its top twen-
ty players. However, the Broncos top
three scorers return, so coach Bill
Wilkinson is realisticly looking to move
into the playoffs this season.
Last year's bottom two teams, Lake
Superior and Illinois-Chicago, didn't
look like much of a threat until last
weekend. That's when the UIC Flames

I x'

HOCKEKY

knocked off Northern
LSSC stunned Bowling
Falcon's own ice.
But that's the'kind of
coach Welsh expects.
happens in the league
surprise me," he said.

Michigan and
Green on the
thing Buckeye
"Nothing that
this year will

. i

So already the CCHA is showing signs
of more balance. And it is evident that
it won't be smooth ice for the Ohio
teams as they attempt to live up to high
pre-season billings.

Follow the Wolverines
At Home or Away
On
The Michigan
Hockey Network

... gunning for third title
"WE'RE NOT talking about any long-
range goals right now, but we always
want to improve on last year," said
York, whose team was upset by Lake
Superior last weekend. "There are real
fine teams from top to bottom in the
league,. plus teams get keyed up to play
us since we're the champions."
One way Bowling Green can
definitely improve on the past is to
gain a bid to the NCAA tournament.
The past two seasons the falcons have
failed to win the CCHA playoffs and the

1983-84 Michigan Daily
Hockey Guide
The Michigan Hockey Guide has been compiled
by the Michigan Daily hockey staff: Katie Black-
well, Jim Davis, Joe Ewing, Mike McGraw, and
Tim Makinen, and edited by associate sports
editor Chuck Jaffe. Photos were taken by
Michigan Daily photographers Jeff Schrier and
Brian Masck.
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