Page 6-The Michigan Daily-Sports Monday- October 28, 1991
Ward rebounds from blindside bashing
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by Andy De Korte
Daily Hockey Writer
Being scoreless and losing by two goals with
9:10 left in the second period, Michigan coach
Red Berenson had to be worried.
One second later, he was immeasurably more
concerned. At 9:09, defenseman Aaron Ward was
cross-checked from behind into the boards by
Spartan Bryan Smolinski.
With a penalty imminent and the Wolverines
in possession of the puck, referee Steve
Piotrowski delayed whistling the play dead.
However, within moments the magnitude of the
blow became apparent, and both Michigan's and
Michigan State's medical personnel and equip-
ment were on the ice.
"It was a bit of a lazy play on my part. I
knew I was going to get hit. I thought I was go-
ing to get hit on the side, but I got hit from be-
hind and my head snapped back," Ward said. "I
knew I was either dead or alive, I knew I wasn't
in a coma because I knew what was going on."
Ward lay on his back for 15 minutes as the
trainers secured him to a backboard and attached
a neck brace. Fortunately, feeling came back to
Ward's limbs during the ambulance ride to
"It was actually a freak accident, the way it
happened," Smolinski said. "I had no intention
of hitting Ward from behind, I knew what I was
doing, where he was going, where he'd touch the
puck, but I certainly did not intend to hit him
the way it looked.
"What happened was we were both there, he
was trying to keep his balance and not fall. We
both tried to keep our balance hitting each other
and unfortunately, he took the real bad end of
Intentional or not, the junior center apolo-
gized to Ward after Saturday's game.
Michigan defenseman Chris Tamer was not
appeased by Smolinksi's recollection of the play
and also thought Smolinski should have drawn
more than a five-minute major penalty.
"It made me mad, (Ward) could have been se-
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Aaron Ward returned from Friday's back injury to score a goal Saturday.
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riously hurt, it was a serious call and it should
have been dealt with that way," Tamer said.
If Piotrowski had judged that there was in-
tent to injure, he could have given Smolinski a
Ward's prognosis improved steadily Friday,
and Ward was given clearance from his physician
to play Saturday. The decision was left to Ward
and Berenson. Ward declared his desire to play
and Berenson obliged him. Thus, wearing a strap
around his ribs, he returned to the ice Saturday
night to face the Spartans.
"I was pissed off as hell when I got back last
night, I heard (Spartan coach Ron) Mason say on
television that it was a good, clean hit," Ward
said. "How could it be a clean hit, if someone's
lying on the ice and they could be paralyzed."
Ward took the strap off for the rest of the
game to improve his mobility. He even con-
tributed to the Wolverine cause, scoring
Michigan's third goal of the game.
When asked if his goal was revenge, Ward
replied: "It was one of those goals, that if you
shoot it, it just goes in. It kind of jumped
Gilmore's stick. Revenge won't come until Joe
Louis (the next time Michigan faces MSU.)"
No excuses, icers
just didn't execute
by Josh Dubow
Daily Hockey Writer
One point out of four.
That sure wasn't the way the Michigan hockey team wanted to start
out its season. A loss and a tie to Michigan State might make some
people worry about the future for the Wolverines.
Why did Michigan start so poorly?
There are many convenient excuses people can look at to explain this
inauspicious beginning. First, it was the opening weekend, and the
Wolverines were a little out of sync - especially on the power play.
But, Michigan State also was playing its season openers, and the Spartans
had had one less week of practice than Michigan.
Or, you could look at the officiating as an excuse. The referees seemed
to be calling some plays very closely while letting other infractions
slide. But, it did not appear as if either team gained the upper hand
through the officiating. Actually, Michigan coach Red Berenson praised
the officials after Saturday's tie.
"I think we took some unnecessary penalties," Berenson said. "It's a
sign of discipline, frustration and mental fatigue. But it's also a good
sign with the referees that they aren't allowing that stuff."
Perhaps the most logical excuse would be the ice. Friday night at East
Lansing, the ice was one of the slowest and choppiest surfaces the
Wolverines will encounter for quite sonie time.
That is until Saturday's fiasco at Yost. While the
ice was a little smoother, it was so soft that it
resembled soup. Also, the 24 saunters around the ice
ordered by referee Brent Rutherford to clear up the
fog delayed the game, hurting any chances for
Michigan. to build momentum or keep focus
throughout the contest.
"It's kind of hard to concentrate on one thing for
three and a half hours," Michigan goalie Steve
Shields said. "We just had a mental lapse and gave up tSh-ieds
those three goals."Shed
However, the Wolverines did not want to use the'poor ice surfaces as
excuses for their poor play.
"The ice was soft, and all that fog made it difficult," Michigan
defenseman Chris Tamer said. "But there's no sense in talking about it,
because it was the same for both teams."
If these weren't the problems, what were? Is it possible that
Michigan isn't as good as advertised?
While that is possible, one series is too little time by which to judge a
team. Even though the Wolverines did not play well, it was not because
of lack of ability, but rather a lack of a maximum effort throughout the
"Individually, I thought I could have done more things than I did,"
Michigan center Brian Wiseman said after Friday's loss. "We've got to
do it for 60 minutes."
Also, the Wolverines admitted that maybe they were looking too far
ahead instead of concentrating fully on MSU.
"I think we're talking about national championships too soon,"
Tamer said Friday night. "They worked hard, we didn't, and it showed."
Will this lack of effort and concentration be a recurring problem?
No. If the players did not realize that they need to work harder, it
might pose a problem. But because they know what they must do, in or-
der to reach the expectations that have been placed on them, this series
might serve as motivation for the rest of the season.
"We know we can't just go out on the ice and win," Wiseman said.
"We have to go out there and play like its our last game."
Even though the Wolverines' mood is down right now, they are look-
ing to use this series as a springboard for the remainder of the season.
"While morale for the team is pretty low, we're hoping we can build
on this," center Mark Ouimet said. "Hopefully this will be a wakeup
call for us."
If this does arouse Michigan, this weekend was not a lost weekend
after all. While one out of four points against MSU is a bad weekend, it
has taught the Wolverines that press clippings and predictions don't win.
games. Hopefully this lesson will teach Michigan that a championship-
caliber team must come out and play hard every game. If the Wolverines
do learn from this, it should help avoid more upsets later in the season.
Continued from page 1
later, Felsner scored on a breakaway
to bring the Wolverines within one,
3-2, going into the second intermis-
"Those two goals were mainly
the result that our defense was
tired," Michigan State coachtRon
Mason said. "We just wanted to get
into the lockerroom."
David Oliver tallied another
Michigan score in the third period,
but only after Nicolas Perreault had
put State up, 4-2, with what became
the game-winning goal. Rookie
Steve Suk added an insurance goal at
17:59 to ice the game for the Spar-
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Although the specifics were dif-
ferent Saturday night, the outcome
was more or less the same.
Michigan drew first blood when
center Mark Ouimet, with assists
from Mike Knuble and Felsner,
scored on the power play. Less than
two minutes later, Felsner scored to
put the Wolverines up, 2-0, for the
remainder of the period.
In the second period, Ward
notched a shorthanded goal for the
Wolverines after returning from
Friday night's injury scare. It ap-
peared as if the highly-touted
Wolverine team had finally shown
up, but Michigan State scored four
straight goals to put the Spartans
up, 4-3. Ouimet saved the Wolver-
ines from another loss with his sec-
ond goal of the night, coming 5:19
into the third period.
The two teams then headed into
overtime, in a game already length-
ened by many team skate-arounds to
break up the fog on the ice. Physi-
cally exhausted from the heat in
Yost, neither team was able to
punch in the winning goal and the
two squads skated to the 4-4 tie.
"It feels like a loss tonight,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
"I thought we had a better game
tonight, but we can't be satisfied
with that tonight."
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