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October 08, 1990 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-08

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Page 14-The Michigan Daily- Monday, October 8, 1990

Michigan

Hockey

Preview
IA contention

Wolverine

icers skate into CC

by Dan Zoch
Daily Sports Writer
The difference between Mich-
igan's hockey team this year and
those of the past decade is that this
year the squad has an excellent
chance of coming out on top.
When coach Red Berenson came
to Michigan six years ago, the team
was considered a joke in the CCHA
conference. They have worked their
way since then from being ranked
ninth to second in the preseason
polls.
"I won't be satisfied until we're a
first-place team," said Berenson, "un-
til we're a team that is capable of
winning a national championship.
I've always told my teams that. But
then it was beyond expectations, it
was beyond being realistic. But this
team's potential is the best of any
team I've seen. This team is capable
of being the best team that I've had
since I've been with Michigan. We
expect to win."
Last year, the Wolverines came
in fourth in the CCHA, behind
Michigan State, Lake Superior, and
Bowling Green. In post-season play,
the Wolverines beat Bowling Green
and finished in third place.
The team's expectations are so
high because of an amazing recruit-
ing year and the quality of their
returning players.
"I think this year's team has a lot
more speed, quickness, and indiv-
idual skill," said sophomore team
co-captain David Harlock. "I think
our freshmen class has added a lot to
us this year. Individually, they're-
really talented, and in terms of their
skating ability, they're ahead of
where we were when we started."
Eight first-year students and one
sophomore transfer earned positions
on the Wolverine roster, and among
them there are many standouts,
including centers Brian Wiseman and
Cam Stewart, along with wingers
David Oliver and David Wright.
In last Friday's Blue-White game,
Wright scored two goals while
Wiseman scored one and gave two
assists.
Two more first-year players,
Chris Gordon and Steve Shields, are
currently competing with junior Tim
Keough for the starting goalie po-
sition.
"The goalkeeping job is pretty
much wide open," said coach Ber-
enson. "I think we have three goalies
who could conceivably be our start-

ing goalie on any given night.
Keough is the incumbent, in the
sense that he's been here a few years,
but he really hasn't had the role of a
starting goalie. I don't have any par-
ticular plan to play one, two, or
even all three. I'm really waiting for
them to show me who's ready to
play."
Gordon also seems to think that
the Wolverines are headed away from
starting one goalie throughout the
season.
"I think it's going to be a three-
way rotation until somebody comes
along on top at being the most con-
sistent," Gordon said. "You can't
really go on the first two games or
the first week of the season. You
have to play a few games and find
out which goalie is going to be
stronger throughout the series."

Patrick Neaton, and team co-captain
David Harlock. Harlock is the first
sophomore in more than forty years
to hold the position of team captain.
"This year's team has a lot of
attributes that we were lacking last
year," said Harlock. "Realistically0
we're looking to improve on every-
thing we did last year."
The Wolverine offense also looks
to surpass last year's efforts. Led by
junior Denny Felsner, seniors Don
Stone, and sophomores Mark Oui-
met and CCHA All-Rookie forward
David Roberts, Michigan's offense
looks forward to a successful season.
Berenson also sees sophomore Dar
Stiver and first-year standout Brian
Wiseman contributing goals.
Coach Berenson sees both a bles-
sing and a larger amount of added
pressure in being ranked so high in
the preseason.
"It's a complement to our pro-
gram," said Berenson. "They've seen
the progress we've made, the im-
provement of the last few years. It's
also a compliment to our recruiting
which has produced great kids in the
last two or three years. But, on the
other hand, we haven't proven that
we are a second-place team."
"We haven't finished any higher
than fourth," Berenson added. "We
knocked on the door of third place,
but we haven't finished any higher
than fourth. It's a complement but
it's also a challenge."
Both Michigan State and Lake
Superior will be there to provide the
team with such a challenge. Mich-
igan State received six of nine first-
place votes in a CCHA coaches poll,
compared to Michigan's three, and
Lake Superior is ranked third.
"Obviously, Michigan State and
Lake Superior have really tough
teams, but we're going to be real
competitive with them this year,"
said Harlock. "Each time we step on
the ice with those two teams, we
won't take a back seat to them."
"Realistically, I think we should
finish in the top two if not first,"
Harlock added. "We're looking to
take it one series at a time and build-
ing up from there."
For the first time, Michigan can
look at teams like Michigan State
and Lake Superior and not be look-
ing up at them.
"There is an atmosphere of ex-
citement over what this team can do
this year," said Berenson.

Michigan left winger Denny Felsner swoops in on the Blue squad's net during Friday night's Blue-White game
at Yost Ice Arena. The junior is expected to lead the Wolverine offense in its assault on the 1991 CCHA crown .
R okies
Berenson counts on big things

Bre -son

from heralded recruitin

g

class

i

bVI Joni Durst
Daily Hockey Writer
Last year, nine experienced
seniors led the Michigan hockey
team to a 24-12-6 record and a 4th
place CCHA regular season finish.
This season, the same number of E
talented newcomers may lead the
team even further.
The Wolverines added eight first-
year players and one sophomore
transfer to their roster and the result
is a No. 2 pre-season CCHA ranking
and a mound of hopeful
expectations.

_ not be an easy walk for the frosh.
The adjustment from Junior
league to the consistent, fast-paced
intensiveness of collegiate hockey
poses enough difficulties without the
added pressure of expectation. Yet
the majority of the first-year icers are
positive of their potential.
"I think we could be more
influential (than last year's rookies),"
frosh goalie Chris Gordon said.
"These guys (frosh) are really
incredible and are going to make
things happen when they get in with
the other guys. I mean, we're only
freshman and it's going to take time
to adjust, but once we do we're
going to hopefully do some great
things."
Gordon is one of two recruits
playing a significant role. With the
graduation of Warren Sharples, the
Wolverines were left with only one
experienced goalie in junior Tim
Keough. The recruitment of 20-year-
old Gordon and his counterpart Steve
Shields will help to fill the gap.
Both tout junior league recognition:
Gordon spending two years with
Omaha and Shields contributing one
to the St. Mary's Lincolns in the
Western junior B league.
"I think any of the three can
conceivably be our starting goalie on
a given night," Berenson said. "I'm
really waiting for them to show me
who's ready to step in and be that
starting goalie. Goalkeeping is very
important and it may not be a one
man job this year."
Helping to support the goalies
along the blueline will be another
duo of recruits. Sophomore transfer
(UM-Dearborn) Paul Sancimino and
frosh Aaron Ward join the ranks of
the veteran defensemen. At 17, Ward
represents the youngest player on the
Michigan squad, a factor that works
to hinder his adjustment to the
Wolverine program.
"For all freshmen its been an
adjustment, but I think I have to
prove myself," Ward said. "Being
young, they didn't take me just
because I might have had potential
further down the rpad, but I want to
be able to do something now to help
out the team. There's been a lot of
skeptics, people saying I should
have waited a year to come."
'rTh.nih thitam.rv,.rtnnar ndi th

draft selection by the Boston Bruins,
will also add their above average
acceleration and offensive prowess to
the front lines.
Stewart and Oliver have paired
up with senior leftwinger Don Stone
and Wiseman has been placed with
junior Ted Kramer and Stiver on
wing. Both of these lines should be
high-scoring, backing up the veteran
line of Roberts, Ouimet, and Denny
Felsner, which produced over 60
points in the final nine games of last
year. Yet, to further exploit the

But Berenson seems much more
worried about how many goals are
allowed by his team this season than
by who allows them.
"One of our team goals is to
finish at the top in our league in
goals against, and that's a big chal-
lenge," said Berenson. "We were
third in the league last year and we
want to move up in that area. If we
can take a step forward there, we can
take a step forward in the standings."
The Wolverine defense is keyed
this year to achieve this goal. The
team's defense consists of five
returning lettermen, including senior
Mark Sorensen, junior Doug Evans,
and sophomores Chris Tamer,
CCHA All-Rookie team member

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1 9 9 0... .... .9 1...
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...... L WI . S e : %0.*:W....... ...... ...... ......... .y ..... ...... .... ....
10 ................ .Vs .........W................ Q .. ..M .
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........... .... ............. ... ....... ............ .........:.. .. .......... .......... .. . .... - .. ........ ... ..... ----- ......... .......... g c i* 9 9 09.ih, ' okv C a - t

Gordon

Ward

"I won't be satisfied until we're a
first-place team," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said. "There were
times when that was unrealistic, but
this team's potential is the best I've
seen. We expect to win."
With new players comprising
more thar one-third of the roster and
oily three senior members, it's hard
nbt to worry about the youthfulness
and inexperience of the squad. But
tough practices and several
scrimmages have worked to fill in
and smooth over the cracks.
"The scrimmage games are
giving (the new players) a feeling of
c9nfidence and fitting in on the
team," Berenson explained. "I think
they know what kind of hockey they
have to play when they get into
scrimmages. There are always some
question marks and we'll make some

offensive potential of the recruits the
coaching staff plans to mix up the
lines to find just the right chemistry
between the frosh and the veterans.
"I think we've got some
flexibility (within the lines) if for
some reason we go into any kind of
tailspin as far as offense goals or the
way our lines are playing," Berenson
explained. "We can always make a
couple of changes."
Berenson and his players are
expecting anything but a tailspin
this season, in part because of the
new faces. Hockey differs from many
other major collegiate sports in the
fact that the first-year members play
major roles in the team's production.
And after all the final adjustments
are made and the program begins to
take flight, the attitudes and abilities
of the talented Wolverine rookies

Coach: Red Berenson

I

r--

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