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February 05, 1990 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-05

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday- February 5, 1990 - Page 5

Eric Lemont

Icers peaking at
right time of year
'Michigan is heading for the playoffs!
Okay, so eight of the nine league teams and my backyard pond squad
qualify for the CCHA postseason. But as the Wolverines write the final
chapters of the epic saga that is the CCHA hockey season, they do have
some things to be excited about.
e Goaltender Warren Sharples is as sharp as he's been all year and right
winger Denny Felsner is back to his scoring self. But more important is
the appearance of a deep and diversified scoring attack.
Three weeks ago in Bowling Green, Michigan coach Red Berenson
pulled Sharples after he allowed three Falcon goals in the game's first eight
minutes.
But against Western Michigan this weekend, Sharples faced 64 shots
and allowed only four goals.
"Sharples slammed the door on us and never let us back in the game," a
despondent Bronco coach Bill Wilkinson said after Friday's game. "To get
39 shots and only two goals...it's frustrating. But that's life."
And life doesn't get any easier, Bill.
On Saturday, Wilkinson looked a little dazed after a close game
spontaneously combusted into a rout. With Michigan up 3-2 in the third
period, the Wolverines scored four goals in six minutes to send Wilkinson
searching for a drink. After losing two games and any realistic chance for
home ice in the playoffs, the coach was reduced to sipping apple juice with
his son.
Unfortunately for Wilkinson, it was against his team that Felsner
played his first full series in over a month. Coming back from a injury to
his right knee, the right winger tallied two goals and an assist over the
:weekend.
The team's leading goal scorer removed any doubt he had fully
recovered when, on one play, he 1) slipped the puck between a Bronco
defender's legs 2) utilized a Reggie White "swim move" to get around the
defender and 3) flipped a shot over WMU goaltender Rob Laurie.
While Berenson concedes Michigan is better with Felsner in the lineup,
the sophomore's long absence may have actually helped Michigan by
forcing other players to step forward and pick up the scoring slack.
The two-game,14-goal Michigan scoring barrage was a complete team
effort, as nine different Wolverines scored goals. This balanced blitzkrieg
proved to be a weapon the Broncos could not counter.
0 The Bronco offense was easily contained because the Wolverines were
successful in holding Western's top four scorers to no goals and three
assists.
The Bronco braintrust will have to devise another strategy if the CCHA
standings remain the way they are right now. In that case, Michigan will
play Western Michigan in the first round.
The Wolverines have handled the Broncos in all four matches this year,
winning by a combined score of 23-8.
"We might as well play Western," senior defenseman Todd Copeland
said. "We haven't beaten Ohio State (another playoff possibility). Right
now...Western, we want them. We seem to have their number right now."
The Wolverines also remember the 10-0 thrashing the Broncos gave
them in their playoff series two years ago. Those that played in the game
have mixed feelings on its importance.
"We have a big senior class and we've kind of been watching them,"
Copeland said.
Said senior center Rob Brown: "To me it doesn't matter who we play.
There's still a lot of memories (of the 10-0 game) and we owe them for
that. We're in the process of getting them back for it with the sweep this
weekend."
Sharples added, "Half our team wasn't even here for that game two years
*ago and we can't use that as motivation. Getting to Joe Louis Arena will
- be motivation enough."
And what does the coach think? Would his eyes light up at the
possibility of playing the Broncos in the first round?
"We're not going to have a choice in it," Berenson said. "I like our
team. I like our depth. I like our defense better. If we get goaltending like
we did this weekend we're going to be a tough team to beat - at home or
on the road."
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New line
provides
offensive
depth
by David Hyman
Daily Hockey Writer
The Michigan hockey team
showed something new this week-
end.
A new fourth line - and one that
produces.
On Friday night, junior Jim Ball-
antine was centered between soph-
omore right winger Doug Evans and
first-year left winger Dan Stiver. The
line combined for three goals and
one assist.
"I like our team and depth at this
time of the season," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said. "We have a
fourth line that can contribute."
Ballantine had been playing along
with fellow center Rob Brown before
the switch and felt the two could
produce more if they were on diff-
erent lines. "I like this line better,"
Ballantine said. "I think I can help
more here and Rob can help more
there. I also don't consider us a
fourth line."
This was evident in Saturday's
game, when Ballantine did not lose
one faceoff. There are very few, if
any, teams that boast a fourth line
center with such ability at winning
the draws.
Stiver showed the promise with
which he began the season by notch-
ing two goals, including a rising
wrist shot off a Ballantine faceoff
that left Western goalie Mike Power
motionless in Saturday's victory..

JUNEL MULL
First-year left winger Dan Stiver paced Michigan's new fourth line with two goals this weekend against
Western Michigan. The Wolverines strengthened their hold on fourth place with their sweep

WESTERN
continued from page 1
sprained knee.
Stone added his second goal of
the game 56 seconds later and first-
year defenseman Chris Tamer scored
his first career goal to finish the
scoring at 17:24. "It felt great,"
Tamer said. "I was thinking about
(not scoring) as the teammates were
joking around that I was the last one
to score. But it was unreal. It didn't
hit me until I got to the bench."
Western had opened the scoring
when junior defenseman Chris
Clarke's slapshot from the point
sailed past Michigan goalie Warren
Sharples at 5:18 of the first. But
Michigan countered with goals by
senior right winger Brad Turner and
first-year left winger Dan Stiver to
take the lead at the end of the first.
Both teams exchanged goals in
the middle period before the im-

- r

portant third.
Friday's game did not come down
to the third period, but it did put
Michigan in position for a sweep as
well as earning Berenson his 100th
win at Michigan. "It was long
overdue," Berenson said. "But it was
more important that we won."
Sharples turned away 37 Bronco
shots to keep the Wolverines in the
game the full 60 minutes. "Warren
was on tonight and that was the
key," first-year defenseman Patrick
Neaton said. "They're an offensively
explosive team and Warren stood on
his head today."
Wolverine sophomore right
winger Doug Evans notched his first
career goal at 7:31 of the first to
open the scoring, rifling a wrist shot
past WMU goalie Rob Laurie.
Felsner scored with 2:55 left in
the first, but WMU's sophomore
right winger Keith Jones cut the lead

to one at 18:58. Three Michigan
goals in the second, by first-year
center Mark Ouimet, senior defen-
seman Todd Copeland and Turner,
increased the margin to 5-2.
Two goals in the third by Stiver
and first-year left winger David
Roberts sealed the Michigan victory.
"They played real strong early and
set the tempo of the game," Wil-
kinson said. "Sharples slammed the
door on us in the second and never
let us back into the game."

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