The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 11, 1985 - Page 9
Improvement is the goal
for young defensive crew
By ADAM OCHLIS
No, defense is not a dirty word
around Yost Ice Arena these days, as
one might think.
Anyone who witnessed last week's
22-goal intrasquad game probably
l as their doubts about Michigan's
defensive unit, but with no defen-
seman of significance lost to
graduation, coach Red Berenson
rturns a unit comprised of many
BERENSON HOPES that experien-
ce will help the defense improve on
last season, one in which the
Wolverines allowed 208 goals (averag-
ing more than five every contest).
Todd Carlile, Bill Brauer and Pat Goff
will no doubt share their experience
with the younger players.
ANCHORING THE defensive unit is
sophomore Jeff Norton. The Acton,
Mass. native was undoubtably
Michigan's top defenseman last year.
A pretty good feat for a freshman.
Berenson leaves no doubt as to Nor-
"He's a top notch Division I
player," said Berenson. "He's ready
to have another strong season."
While Berenson primarily commen-
ted on how well Norton played defen-
sively, the 6-2 185-pounder also was
impressive offensively, tallying eight
goals and 16 assists for 24 points,
placing him eighth on last season's
scoring totals. With that kind of offen-
sive potential, Berenson indicated
that the New York Islander draftee
will be active on both sides of the rink.
"HE WILL participate in the offen-
se more than he did last year,"
Helping to solidify the defense will
be sophomore Gary Lorden,
Michigan's most improved player last
season. Lorden, who like Norton also
hails from Massachusetts, is a steady
player who rarely makes a mistake.
Unlike his classmate, however, Lor-
den concentrates solely on what
defensemen are supposed to do -
"I'm more defensive minded," said
Lorden. The statistics back him up, as
his one goal and two assists last
season would attest.
THE 6-3 defenseman thinks that the
defense will continue to improve. "I
think that we will improve each
week," he said.
Perhaps Berenson's greatest coup
was recruiting defenseman Myles
O'Connor. The highly touted third
round pick of the New Jersey Devils of
the NHL has been very impressive in
both training camp and the in-
trasquad game. Paired with Norton in
both practice and the pre-season game,
the Calgary native hopes Berenson
holds that line.
"I'd love to stick with (Norton),"
said O'Connor. "He's a really good
defenseman. I think we complement
each other as far as helping each
BERENSON HAS high hopes for his
"He has very good skills and has the
potential to be a strong player," he
The 18-year old also has impressive
offensive credentials, compiling 27
goals and 60 points last year in high
school at Notre Dame College.
Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
High flying Myles O'Connor (4), a heavily recruited defenseman out of Calgary, Alberta, clears the zone in last
week's intrasquad scrimmage. Freshman defenseman Dan Capuano one of Michigan's three recruits from
New England, tries to impede O'Connor's progress.
BOSTON BLUE BLOOD:
Red inks eastern icers
... can score as well
... most improved player
"I'm not sure how strong we'll be
defensively," conceded Berenson.
"The defense can only be as strong as
the support they receive from the
goalies and forwards."
The ability is there, however, as no
less than three of the defensemen -
all underclassmen - have already
been selected in the National Hockey
League's entry draft. In addition,
Michigan's trio of senior blue-liners of
ANOTHER FRESHMAN, Dan
Capuano, will probably team with
Goff. Capuano, who according to
Berenson had an inside track for one
of the starting six positions, would be
pleased if the Goff-Capuano tandem
"We worked pretty good (at the in-
trasquad game)," he said. "We bring
the puck out well. He's a very good
skater, a good partner to play with."
While Goff may be a good skater, he
along with Brauer are not much of an
offensive threat. Carlile, however can
put the puck in the net, as his five
goals last year would indicate.
"He can shoot the puck as well as
anybody," said Berenson of the North
St. Paul, Minnesota native.
By RICK KAPLAN
Hail, hail to Michigan, the champions of the east?
That's the way the fight song sounds when discussing
the hockey team. The addition of three new-comers
from New England this season brings the Wolverine
player total from that region to six in the past two
RIGHT WING Billy Powers, a transfer from St. An-
selm College in Manchester, N.H., was named the
Divison II Rookie-of-the-Year in 1984-85. Freshman
defenseman Dan Capuano, a Cranston, R.I. native, and
Bill Campbell, from Westboro, Mass., both left the
East for Ann Arbor.
With three sophomores from Massachusetts on the
squad, Coach Red Berenson 's future nucleus lies with
players who learned to "pahk the cah in Hahvahd
Berenson gives credit to assistant coach Mark Miller
for getting Michigan's foot in New England's door.
"When I came here last year," Berenson said, "Coach
Miller had done a lot of work in the East in previous
years, and had brought in (Defensemen) Jeff Norton
and Gary Lorden and (goalie) Timmy Makris from the
Boston and Rhode Island area.
"AT THAT point, we got to know some more people
out there. We had some good tips on players, and we
brought in three more kids."
"That's one of the hockey hotbeds right now,"
Powers believes Berenson's presence attracts
easterners. "Out east, most kids like sticking around
town because they don't like going far away from
home," said the sophomore winger. "But with a coach
ike Berenson, I didn't really think about being away
"I GUESS his reputation is what really pulls players
out here," Powers said. "They know they're going to
get the best coaching in college hockey."
Berenson echoed Powers' sentiments about New En-
gland players' provincialism. "The traditional kid
from the East in considered a little bit of a mama's
boy, in that they're very close to their families.
(Leaving home) is a big step for them.
"One boy we were recruiting last year said he
wouldn't mind leaving home to play hockey because he
had travelled. I said, 'Where have you been?" and he
said, 'I've been to Cape Cod.' So everything is relative."
THE SECOND-year head coach feels Powers has a
step up on the other new-comers because of his ex-
perience. "I think Powers will adjust to this style of
hockey quickly," Berenson said. "We've seen a big
improvement in him from our first workouts until
Powers is coming off a big year at St. Anselm, where
he scored 35 goals. and had 25 assists last season. He
was a stand-out at Matignon High School, perennial
Massachusetts hockey champions..
Berenson is quick to point out that his recruiting is
not limited to the East. Two players from Calgary,
Alberta, and another pair from Minnesota extend the
borders of his reputation from coast to coast.
From north of the border comes Myles O'Connor, a
third-round draft choice of the New Jersey Devils. The
freshman defenseman is currently paired with Norton
on the blue line. "Jeff's a really good defenseman; that
makes it a lot easier on my game," O'Connor said.
Freshman left winger Jeff Urban was selected by the
St. Louis Blues in the ninth round. In the intrasquad
game last week, he played with Brad McCaughey and
Chris Seychel on a line which accounted for eight goals.
Other new-comers are freshmen Todd Brost, a cen-
ter, defenseman Dan Capuano, right wing Mike Cusack
and goalies Bob Lindgren and Mike Rossi.
Coach: Jerry Yo
CCHA: 17-15, 4th
Who to watch:
Wansbrough, Paul Ysebaert,
Brian Meharry, lain Duncan;
defensemen Scott Paluch, Doug
Claggett, Brian McKee; goalie
Gary Kruzich; transfers Mark
Lori, Tom Pratt. The freshmen
Spartans aim to
BG looks to soa
Coach: Jerry York
CCHA: 13-17-2, 6th
Who to watch: Forwards Dave
Beaudin, Joe Tracy, Darcy Gryba;
defensemen Mark Shortt, Don
Perkins; goalie Bob Krautsak;
freshmen Roger Beeden, Sean Clif-
ford, Andy Forcey, Dan Wilhelm.
Tons of offensive firepower, but lit-
Coach: Val Belmonte
CCHA: 15-17, 5th
Who to watch: Forwards Mike
Rucinski, Scott Knutson, Jeff
Nelson, Rob Klenk, Paul Tory;
Defensemen Shawn Cronin, Harry
Armstrong, Mike Mersch; Goalies
Jim Hickey, Brad Ryan; Fresh-
men Sheldon Gorski, Trent Rees,
Harry Reimer. Will have trouble
repeating last season's successes.
By SCOTT G. MILLER
Do not shed any tears for Michigan
State even if coach Ron Mason wants
"We will not be the top-ranked team
in the CCHA," said Mason last week.
"We lost 10 bonafide players including
six to the NHL. It will have a big im-
pact on our team."
WHY THEN are the Spartans
projected to repeat as Central
Collegiate Hockey Association cham-
pions despite having the fewest re-
turning lettermen in the league? Be-.
cause they possess tradition, talented
recruits and defense.
The backbone of the defense will be
the junior goaltending tandem of Bob
Essensa and Norm Foster. Essensa
last season had the lowest goals-
against average in the league at 1.78
while Foster was second at 2.91. Four
defensemen also return including first
team all-CCHA selection Don Mc-
Sween(2-23-25) and senior Brad Beck
The Spartans may not even miss the
early departure of league leading
scorer Craig Simpson (24-45-69), the
second selection in the NHL draft last
year. Freshman forward Joe Murphy
is the best of an excellent rookie crop
that will make an immediate impact.
Murphy turns 18 this month and will
therefore be eligible for this season's
NHL draft, for which he is considered
the consensus number-one pick.
"MSU IS still the king of the hill[
because they won it all," said Western
Michigan coach Bill Wilkinson. "They
will be until someone knocks them
Bowling Green could be that
someone. The Falcons finished fourth
in the CCHA last season in a
rebuilding year after winning the
1983-84 NCAA title. Eleven freshman
and five sophomores made the squad
and made for an unpredictable season.
to let the offense take care of itself."
The Falcon offense will be led by
CCHA rookie of the year Paul
Ysebaert (23-32-55), Brian Meharry
(16-27-43) and Jamie Wansbrough (37-
Bowling Green was not the only
team to employ an abundance of
freshman last season. Lake Superior
had 11 freshmen on last year's squad
that finished a surprising second to
MSU. The Lakers return 21 lettermen
and appear ready to challenge for fir-
"WE HAVE the potential to be the
top team," said coach Frank An-
zalone. "Especially if we can fill the
especially its offense. "We have never
been deeper in the forward lines in my
10 years as coach here," said Welsh.
"We have more speed, balance and
experience than we had a year ago."
WELSH IS looking for increased of-
fensive production from . leading
scorer Dave Beaudin (25-24-49), Dar-
cy Gryba (17-25-42) and Joe Tracy (21-
24-45) to compensate for lack of
If the defense does not solidify,
goaltender Bob Krautsak's 4.34 goals-
against average could balloon..
Goaltending is the big question
mark on the Western Michigan squad
that finished third last season. Glen
(XHA Coaches .18-85 Final CCHA
pre-season pol tn g
1. Michigan State *.... 7 5 0
2. Lake Superior... 21 It 0 42
:i~rstp~aevoeslP~4 ,3 . W0eternMichigan . 18 13 1 37
2. Bwlin Gren (3 . . 71 5 IllinoisCicag . .. 15 17 0 30
1. Lake Superior(t1) .,9 6 i tae.....1.3172 18
f. MICHIGAN . . ., ..39i tte.... 82.1~
9 Ferris Mtate. ... ... .18 # Michigan galne playoff seeding:
edge over Miami due to the tie-
rebuilding year, but we want to see
some short term rewards," said
Berenson. "Our improvement will be
directly related to our young players'
If the Wolverine rookies play well,
the squad could surprise the top
teams. "If anyone takes Michigan
lightly, they will be in real trouble,"
said Western Michigan assistant
coach Tom Newton. "They have ex-
cellent recruits and this will be Red's
second season. The players and the
coach are now used to each other.
They will sneak up on people."
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO surprised the
pollsters by finishing fifth last year
after having been projected to finish
in last place. The Flames return 19
players from last year's squad in-
cluding high scoring left winger Mike
Rucinski (29-32-61), and centers Scott
Knutson (20-22-42), and Jeff Nelson
However, the Flames will be hard
pressed to keep the fire burning.
CCHA most valuable player Ray
Staszak is now a Detroit Red Wing
and his linemate Colin Chin signed
with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coach
Val Belmonte is still optimistic as the
team enters its fifth season of NCAA
Division I hockey.
"This will be a big year for UIC
because this will be our oldest and
deepest team. Many people think
because we lost Ray and Colin, we will
be down this year," said Belmonte.
"Although we will miss Ray's and
Colin's sticks, we still have the best
team ever at UIC, and I'm shooting for
a .500 or better record."
Miami of Ohio's new head coach Bill
Davidge will be rebuilding his squad.
Defense will be the first priority.
Goaltender Brent Smith (4.52) will
have to lower his goals-against for the
Falcons to be competitive. Senior
right wingers Bill Easdale (20-27-47)
and Todd Channell (15-32-47) will lead
defensive gap left by Chris Guy and
Chris Dahlquist. We can win lots of
games on defense, and we have the
talent to replace the players we lost."
Healy, a second team all-CCHA selec-
tion, graduated. His replacement is
sophomore Kevin McCaffery, who has
played in only five games in his