Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
vs. Michigan State
Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena
The Michigan Daily Friday, October 25, 1991 Page 11
by Rod Loewenthal
Daily Hockey Writer
Michigan State hockey prides
itself on its defense. Spartan coach
Ron Mason hopes that his squad's
traditionally strong defense will
provide a foundation for this year's
squad. When No. 2-ranked Mich-
igan's powerful offensive travels to
East Lansing tonight, Mason's de-
fense cannot rest.
The Wolverines open their 1991
campaign with a weekend series
with the Spartans.wThe two-game
matchup begins tonight in East
Lansing, and closes Saturday night
in Ann Arbor. Face-off for both
games is 7:30 p.m.
Picked to finish fourth in the
preseason CCHA media poll, Mich-
igan State is searching for solutions
after last season's lackluster 17-18-
5 record and fifth-place showing.
"If our defense is as good this
year as it was last year, I'll be very
happy," Mason said. "Last year, we
were second in goals against in the
But hopes for this year dimmed
with the losses of standout senior
defenseman Jason Woolley, who
left the State squad during the
offseason for the Canadian Olympic
team, and junior Michael Stewart. A
first-round draft pick of the New
York Rangers in 1990, Stewart is
temporarily sidelined with a knee
As a result, the bulk of the
defensive burden will fall on senior
captain Joby Messier and standout
goalie Mike Gilmore.
"Our whole philosophy is to
play a good team defense," assistant
Spartan coach Tom Anastos said.
"We're looking for Mike Gilmore
to be consistent for us. He's a fifth-
year senior and we expect him to
have a solid season for us."
Gilmore and the rest of the
Spartan defense have the added in-
centive of opening against the Mich-
"It's going to be a great test for
our new kids," Mason said. "It's
going to be the type of series that
sets a standard. We'll know what it
takes to stop a top collegiate team."
With the likes of Michigan's
Denny Felsner, Mark Ouimet, David
Roberts, and Brian Wiseman, State's
defense will have its hands full. In
order to stop Felsner, the Wolver-
ines' main threat, Mason hopes to
have one line geared especially
toward Michigan's top scorer.
"Felsner's dangerous on the ice,"
Mason said. "But they're not a team
of one threat. They've got two or
three other players that can hurt
Michigan's Chris Tamer is one of
those players. Literally. The junior
defenseman holds the Michigan
single-season record for penalties
and penalty minutes. In his final
appearance last season against the
Spartans, Tamer was disqualified
"We need to shut them down,"
Tamer said. "We have to prove to
them that we're better than them.
They used to be on top, but now
we're on top."
Michigan captain David Harlock attempts a shot against Michigan State last season. Harlock will anchor the
Michigan defense this season, which starts this weekend with two matches against the Spartans.
'M&M'mainly a mismatch
But Golden Gopher defensive
pressure could pose problems
for Wolverine aerial attack
Continued from page 1
Johnson have led a backfield that av-
erages 240 rushing yards per game.
But Minnesota's strength is its de-
fense, which has allowed fewer
points (139) than the Wolverines
"If people don't hit the big
plays, we're gonna have a tough time
scoring on them," Moeller said. "If
their defense has a great game, which
they are capable of, you can be in
In addition, Michigan will play
without fullback Burnie Legette,
who sprained his ankle against
Indiana last week. In his place will
be redshirt-frosh Greg McThomas.
"McThomas has as good hands as
anybody on the team. That guy has
really matured in the last year, "
Moeller said. "It won't be Legette,
but he won't hurt us in there."
The Gophers' own running attack
r will be hampered by their decimated
line, which has yet to start the same
five players since Minnesota's first
However, quarterback Marquel
Fleetwood poses a serious rushing
threat by himself.
"We respect Fleetwood's ability
to move around - we have to con-
tain him," Moeller said. "He can
make the big plays.
"But we think those kids back
there are not bad when it comes to
running the football - you just
can't ignore that and key in on the
one guy," Moeller added. "We have
to stop the run first."
Both coaches expect the game's
most explosive offensive player to
be split end Desmond Howard.
Howard scored Michigan's three
touchdowns in the Indiana game
against both single and double
coverages, prompting Hoosier coach
Bill Mallory to liken the junior
Heisman candidate to Superman, a
comparison with which Gutekunst
As much as Howard's receiving
prowess, Gutekunst respects his
kickoff and punt return ability.
"His kicking game always gets
them in good field position,"
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QUARTERBACKS: As an option
quarterback, Minnesota's Marquel
Fleetwood will offer the Wolverine
defense a different look. Fleetwood is
dangerous both running and passing,
conjuring up memories of another
Gopher signal-caller, Ricky Foggie.
The Wolverines' Elvis Grbac
hasn't been flashy recently, but he
hasn't needed to be. Grbac, who leads
the conference in passing efficiency,
has been intercepted four times this
year (three against Florida State),while
throwing 17 touchdown passes.
RUNNING BACKS: The Gophers don't
have a Darrell Thompson-caliber
back this year, but they do shuffle a lot
of people into their option attack. Look
for Chuck Rios to get the most carries
for the home team.
Michigan's versatility in the
backfield is its biggest strength. When
starter Ricky Powers takes a breather
after pounding out the tough yards,
Jesse Johnson's quick acceleration
throws a change-up to the defense.
Greg McThomas is an ample backup,
but the Wolverines may feel the ab-
sence of starting fullback Burnie
OFFENSIVE LINE: While Mich-
igan's line may be banged up,
Minnesota's is decimated. The Go-
phers have experienced such a rash of
injuries that they have been forced to
startarookie, right tackle Pat O'Brien.
Michigan will miss Steve Everitt,
but sophomore Marc Milia filled in
admirably against Indiana. The Wol-
verines' biggest problems here may
side linebackers Neil Simpson, Mar-
tin Davis, and Brian Townsend to
prevent Fleetwood from getting to the
SECONDARY: Minnesota possesses
arguably the best pair of safeties in the
Big Ten in Sean Lumpkin and Andre
Thaddies. However, the real respon-
sibility falls to the cornerbacks, Drion
Mays and Derek Fisher, who must
accomplish what no other cornerbacks
have been able to do: cover Desmond
Michigan's prevent secondary only
seems to be preventing Wolverine fans
from getting a good night's sleep. The
Michigan secondary has to find a way
to get to the receivers before the ball
SPECIAL TEAMS: While Minnesota
hopes not to have to use him, the
Gophers have a talented punter in Dean
Kaufman. But Kaufman will have to
be careful not to outkick his coverage,
with Howard returning punts for the
Michigan has had trouble with all
facets of their kicking game, but the
windless Metrodome may be the per-
fectplace forplace kickerJ.D. Carlson
to break out of his season-long slump.
'M' linebacker Martin Davis brings down Indiana's Vaughn Dun bar. The Wolverines play Minnesota tonight.
result from communication problems
that are frequent in the Metrodome.
WIDE RECEIVERS: The Gophers
have a pair of speedsters in senior
Keswic Johnson and sophomore John
Lewis. Minnesota tight end Patt Evans
is also a threat.
While Desmond Howard alone
wins this category for the Wolverines,
Yale VanDyne is a big part of the
reason Howard still sees single cov-
erage. Michigan also appears to have
found a third receiver in redshirt frosh
DEFENSIVE LINE: Senior Ben
Williams is a load at left end for the
Gophers. Along with senior An-
thony Bryant, Williams anchors
Minnesota's four-man front, estab-
lishing the kind of pass rush the
Wolverines long for.
Michigan's front three are a
quarterback's dream and a running
back's nightmare. Chris Hutch-
inson and company will be in the
spotlight against Fleetwood's
LINEBACKERS: Both teams boast
strong units. The Gophers are led by
senior Joel Staats, an honorable
mention all-Big Ten selection lastyear,
and Andre Davis.
Butkus Award candidate Erick
Anderson wants to prove that the
Wolverines can do more than outscore
people. The pressure will be on out-
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