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December 10, 1987 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-12-10

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Hall of Fame Bowl
tickets still available
Y Michigan Ticket Department
Corner of State of Hoover
The Michigan Daily


Men's basketball
vs. Austin Peay
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Crisler Arena
Page 9

Thursday, December 10, 1987

It's all in the family
Roberts restores defense for Red and Blue

When he was seven years old,
Michigan defenseman Alex Roberts
was more into hockey than your av-
erage Bloomfield Hills elementary
school mite.
You see, his dad and two uncles
had played college hockey for the
Spartans, and his Uncle Gordie
(Roberts), now a solid defensive
stalwart for the Minnesota North
Stars, was beginning his pro hockey
career with the Hartford Whalers of
the now defunct World Hockey As-
sociation. Alex modeled his pee-wee
play after that of his uncle Gordie.
Uncle Doug Roberts was then a
Red Wing, and one of his teammates
was Red Berenson.
"I remember meeting Red for the
first time with my Uncle Doug
when I was little, probably on some
outdoor rink," recalled Roberts, who
at 6-1, 195 pounds is a tad bigger
now than he was then. "Red was a
legend, and as a little kid it was
quite a thrill to meet him."
THAT THRILL had a lasting
impact. As a high school senior,
Roberts had to choose between be-
coming a Bronco at Western Michi-
gan, or a Wolverine by coming to
Michigan and playing for the living
legend Berenson.
"I really liked the Western pro-
gram, and coach Wilkerson was great
to me on my recruiting trip," said
Roberts. "What it came down to was
Michigan's superior academics, the
chance to play immediately, and
coach Berenson's reputation."
Indeed, there was an influx of
new, young players on the Wolver-
ine squad at the start of last season.
The hockey program had ten highly
touted recruits, including four de-
fenseman, who all were expected to
step in and make Michigan a winner

over the next four years.
In addition to Roberts, Berenson
had garnered defenseman Todd
Copeland, a second-round pick of the
NHL New Jersey Devils; Brad
Turner, a third-round pick of Min-
nesota; and Randy Kwong to im-
prove a porous Michigan defense.
Also, forward Bryan Deasley was
Calgary's first-round pick last June.
AT FIRST it intimidated
Roberts to be in a recruiting class
with a plethora of NHL picks. But
once he stepped on to the ice, he re-
alized he was capable of playing at
this level.
"Alex was overlooked (in the
draft), but I don't feel the NHL draft
is as important as some people make
it out to be," said Berenson. "The
draft just gives the kids an indication
of how certain hockey authorities
perceive their talent and potential.
But what's most important is how a
player develops during his college
Accustomed to playing on win-

ning teams throughout his adoles-
cence, it was frustrating for Roberts
to swallow the Wolverines' 4-14
start last season. At the midpoint of
last season, Roberts had accumulated
just two assists while racking up 55
penalty minutes, many of which
came foolishly due to lazy play.
Then Roberts' and the Wolver-
ines luck changed. They swept Mi-
ami in Ann Arbor, won eight of
their next 16 games - including an
emotional 8-2 victory over the
Spartans in East Lansing - and a 9-
5 win against the Lake Superior
Lakers up in Sault Ste. Marie. Fi-
nally, the bursts of talent that
everyone had expected from the
Wolverines were evident.
"That sweep over Miami really
gave us a boost," said the sopho-
more defenseman. "I had been taking
some bad penalties, getting beat de-
fensively, and not doing much
offensively the first few months. It
was really a confidence thing. We
were losing, and when you're 4-14,

mistakes just seem to repeat them-
selves. Michigan was a different
hockey team the second half (last
AFTER 18 GAMES this sea-
son, it is easy to see the improve-
ment. Just check the stats. The
Wolverines are 9-9 overall. And
Roberts, with two assists this past
weekend versus Boston College, has
three goals, five assists (in 14
games) - one more point than he
accumulated all last year. In addition,
the sophomore has improved defen-
sively (he leads all Wolverine de-
fenseman in plus-minus) and has re-
duced the time he spends in the
penalty box (39 minutes).
"Coach has this philosophy that
every player has a ceiling of poten-
tial, basically based on raw talent,"
said Roberts. "Confidence raises this
ceiling, and in my case that's played
a major factor. Growing up, at ev-
ery level of play I was able to be one
of the better players. It just took me
a little longer to play with confi-
dence on the college level."
Said Berenson, "Often, players
will restrict themselves and see
themselves a certain kind of player. I
think I always saw Alex as a better
player than he saw himself. His
workhabits weren't so great last
year. But he's improved on that, and
his play has picked up because of it.
"Al is a solid defensive player
who can take the body. But like his
uncle Gordie, he's good offensively
with the puck as well. He can pass
with authority, he has a good shot.
Overall, his play has improved. He's
not taking the gambles that hurt him
and the team too often anymore."

Doily Photo by JOHN MUNSON
Michigan's Alex Roberts has already exceeded his point totals from last

For The Holidays

ILI y '.k

'Coach has this philoso-
phy that every player has a
ceilin of otential, basi-
cally based on raw talent.
Confidence raises this
ceiling, and in my case
that's played a major fac-
- Alex Roberts



Peru soccer players die in crash
LIMA, Peru (AP)- A navy plane carrying Peru's clear. A soccer team fields 11 players.
top soccer team crashed into the ocean off a Lima Alianza Lima, one of Peru's top teams of the
beach, and a crewman was believed to be the only sur- decade, finished second in the league last season. It was
vivor among 44 people aboard, navy officials said yes- eliminated earlier this year in the first round of the
terday. Copa de Libertadores, South America's most important
A spokesperson said the survivor pulled from the tournament.
choppy waters was believed to be a pilot and was being The P-27, which can carry 50 passengers, was re-
treated at a military hospital. turning from a game in Pucallpa, a jungle city 355
. He said 12 bodies had been recovered since the plane miles northeast. Alianza had defeated Deportiva Pu-
crashed late Tuesday night after having trouble with its callpa,1-0, earlier Tuesday to gain first place in Peru's
landing gear and circling the Lima airport for two soccer league.
hours. "None of the players stayed in Pucallpa. All of them
Aboard the twin-turboprop Fokker F-27, owned by were on the plane," club President Agustin Merino told
the navy and chartered by the Alianza Lima profes- a news conference yesterday.
sional soccer team, were 28 players, the team manager, Freddy Pimentel, director of the airport control
eight team employees, and seven crew members, the tower, said the plane was to have landed at 8:10 p.m.
spokesperson said. Tuesday. The navy said it was declared in an emergency
Other officials said the passengers included Marcos five minutes later because of problems with its landing
Calderon, the team's internationally known coach. gear.
Only 16 passengers were identified as players in a Peru's most authoritative television news station
later navy statement and the relationship to the team of said the plane lost contact with the control tower at
the others on the list, except for the manager, was not 10:30 p.m. after making three passes over the airport.
Billy M artin ~~CARRY ~~~~~~ E
to marry for OUTDELIVERY
DALLAS (AP) - Billy Martin,
taking his fifth shot as New York ORIGINAL SICILIAN TRAY
Yankees manager, is also making a I
fourth try at marriage, and he says one Couon Per Person
*DEEP DISH SICILIAN Not Accepted at'
PIZZA WITH 2ITEMS & or Dine-In ati
that should help restrain his PZAWT |ES&n n sarn
emotional outbursts. 2 PEPSIS. 12" X 12" . =ottage=Inn 'Cf
"I'll be married and I'll be staying ..----------------.. ----.....


Michigan Daily


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at home more," Martin said
Wednesday at the winter baseball
meetings. "I'll still get mad but
having somewhere to go after the
game should help me healthwise."
Martin, 59, is marrying Jill
Guiver, in her early 30s.
Ie I

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Preservation Awareness Corner
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