Club Wolverine Invitational
The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, March 7, 1989
- Yesterday, only hours after a crushing 3-2 triple
overtime playoff defeat to Bowling Green, the hockey
offices were bustling with hopes for next year.
Coaches and administrators pushed hard to land a final
recruit, current Wolverine Alex Roberts' cousin.
But in the back of their minds, and probably more
so in the front, there were memories of the past, of
that bone-crushing defeat, which sucked all the life-
blood out of a spirited Wolverine hockey team.
"Is there a feeling of. emptiness in you today?"
coach Red Berenson was asked.
He leaned back in his chair and said, "Oh yeah. It's
terrible. It's like your house burned down."
THERE WOULD be no playoff trip to Joe Louis,
and no NCAA tournament bid. Instead, after 41 games,
players were at home watching Gilligan's Island,
going to the bank, or sleeping - instead of making
their usual trek to Yost Ice Arena around 3 p.m.
And there was that void of emptiness. All over. Six
months of games, now concluded. Remember a piano
recital or competition which you practiced so hard for
- then went and hit F sharp instead of F. And your
chance at glory quickly fled.
Rob Blake hit the F sharp for the Wolverines last
Sunday night and prevented them from achieving a
symbol of their hard work.
Friday, after the Wolverines found themselves
facing elimination, Don Stone said he didn't even want
to think about the chance of losing because of the pain
it would bring..
"I REMEMBER when we lost last year to
Western," Stone said. "And I remember how it felt. I
carried it around all summer."
Now, although the effort was there, and they went
out like anything but a lamb, that feeling is probably
After the game, players were stunned at their loss as
they sat in quiet. But, slowly but surely, they turned
and thanked those who can be credited with bringing
about the new attitude which is shaping the Michigan
They made the rounds to the three players who have
been through all the crests and valleys of the past four
years. They thanked Jeff Urban for his presence, and
thanked captains Todd Brost and Myles O'Connor for
their influential leadership. Personal remembrances of
seasons gone by were expressed, and a tear or two
Their season was over.
"I'm proud of our team," Berenson said. "It's been a
very positive year. I hate to have those things
forgotten because of one goal, or one shot, or one
Red's team shouldn't
be too Blue after loss
period. But the impact of that game is so hard."
WHEN REMEMBERING the positive, it starts
with the come-from-behind Great Lakes Invitational
championship. "This is the first time since I've been
here that the team really started believing in itself and
that it could win. The GLI is the perfect example,"
Anchored by O'Connor, and bolstered by the
emergence of Roberts and Todd Copeland, the defense
became quite a steady unit. The Wolverines also set a
new record for road wins.
It was the chemistry developed in the locker room
which helped the team to its highest finish in the
Berenson era at Michigan. The team was, and is, a
close bunch who stick together on and off the ice.
There's a lot of camaraderie and not too many broken
It's a team with a big sense of humor, as I
discovered one day when I left the locker room to put
on my coat and found its sleeves stuffed with paper
towels. It took me a day to discover my bookbag
stuffed with hockey pucks.
IN OTHER WORDS, it's a good team filled with
.character and good guys. The reason it's this way is
because of the leadership at the top - the captains and
This season the expectations again exceeded the
outcomes, and at times some of Berenson's line
changes seemed susceptible to criticism. Nonetheless,
slowly but surely the program has been turned around.
Berenson is a perfectionist and expects only that
from his players. It may mean that players do not
always "like" their coach - but they also understand
their coach is only pushing them to improve.
When you meet Berenson you soon have immense
respect for the man. His presence and conduct
immediately bring this feeling about, and it is. seen in
the way his players carry themselves.
On a personal note, this is the highest compliment
* I could pay. There have been times in the past year
when Red and I have had some heated "discussions."
But instead of leaving his office in a fury, I left with
more respect for the coach than when I entered. That
doesn't happen very often.
Red and the entire team wanted to let the seniors
experience the CCHA Finals. Warren Sharples did
everything he could Sunday to allow this, making 53
saves. But it was not to be.
With this season's team effort well noted, hopefully
that gut feeling of emptiness Berenson and Stone
spoke about - and the entire team feels, will
dissipate. And instead, a feeling of pride in this
season's accomplishments will arrive.
The Michigan hockey team ended its season with a devastating loss Sunday, in the CCHA playoffs. But the
Blue seniors will leave with fond memories, while the returning players look forward to a bright future.
Wrestlers seek revival
in Oklahoma City
BY STEVEN COHEN
Though the Michigan wrestling
team finished a disappointing third at
the Big Ten championships last
weekend at Purdue, the team is still
very much in the hunt for the
national championship in Oklahoma
City, March 16-18.
The finish behind Iowa and
Minnesota was somewhat of a
letdown for the fourth-ranked Wol-
verines, as they had defeated every
team in the Big Ten, compiling a
12-0 conference and 20-2 overall
record. The 20 wins set a new
Michigan standard for dual meet
"It was a three-team race and we
were in it all the way," said
Michigan coach Dale Bahr. "We
pretty much did how we were seeded
but we weren't able to come up with
enough surprises to pull it out. With
eight qualifiers, I'd say we have an
excellent chance at a national
LIKE LAST season, Michigan
qualified eight wrestlers for the
NCAA's. But this year the Wol-
verines have two Big Ten cham-
pions, one more than they had in
1988. In addition, Michigan earned
more points (109) than it did last
Michigan maintained the stellar
level it had wrestled at all season,
but the other teams raised their
performances to a'higher level.
"Most of the coaches thought that
this was one of the best Big Tens to
watch," Wolverine 190-pounder Fritz
Lehrke said. "There were a lot of
close matches. Us, Iowa, and Min-
nesota were all real close and behind
us there were four or five teams all
within a few points of each other."
The narrow race is indicative of
the new-found parity in the
conference. For the first time, each
team had a finalist and every team
qualified wrestlers for the national
THE DIFFERENCE was that
the Iowa Hawkeyes raised their
wrestling to a higher level and had
several pleasant surprises.
Like Doug Streicher. The
unseeded Iowa 150-pounder, who
earlier this season was shellacked by
Michigan's Sam Amine, pinned the
second and third-seeded wrestlers en
route to a second-place finish. Strei-
cher was one of five first-year red-
shirts to qualify for the tournament.
Before Michigan ended its 98
match dual meet streak, Iowa coach
Dan Gable observed: "They (Mich-
igan) better get us now while we are
But Iowa, with 16 consecutive
conference titles, can never be
counted out. Said Iowa assistant
Barry Davis: "Dan Gable has the
charisma and the ability to get his
wiostlers motivated for the big
BA H R'S contention about,
"surprises" is on the mark. Both
teams had highly-ranked wrestlers
with equal chances to perform well,
but the margin in Iowa's favor was
the result of the efforts of Streicher
and unseeded 158-pounder Mark
Reiland, who took third place.
But at the national cham-
pionships, it seems as if Iowa will
have more uncertainties than Mich-
igan. Iowa still has the five first-year
wrestlers and second-ranked,167-
pounder John Heffernan reinjured his
knee at the Big Tens. Michigan
counters with six returning qualifiers
and the most returning NCAA
points in the country.
"I think our chances at nationals
are a lot better than Iowa's," 134-
pounder John Fisher said. "We have
guys who can get to the finals and
place high, give us a lot of points.
Tom Brands, he might be the
second-ranked guy now but he's still
only a freshman and there are some
guys who can beat him. At 134,
Melchiore will have a tough road and
Heffernan, he's hurt. He's one of
their big scorers and now is not the
time to be hurt."
And will Streicher and Reiland
repeat their unlikely performances?
Tune in March 16 and find out.
The season isn't over for
Michigan yet. The best is still to
1. John Moore
2. John Fisher
3. Larry Gotcher
4. Sam Amine
5. Joe Pantaleo
6. Mike Amine
7. Fritz Lehrke
8. Bob Potokar
Big Ten Championship
1. Iowa 125 1/4
2. Minnesota 113 3/4
3. Michigan 109
4. Ohio State 70 3/4
5. Indiana 66 1/4
6. Northwestern 64 1/2
7. Wisconsin 53
8. Purdue 49 1/4
9. Michigan State 30 1/4
10. Illinois 27 1/2
, r FOR S
D FALL T
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is Friday, March 10.
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