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September 05, 1991 - Image 57

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 5, 1991 - Page 3

WOLVERINES MAKE FIRST NCAA APPEARANCE IN 14 YEAxs
' icers return to greatness

Jeff Sheran

Sheran My Thoug

y Jeni Durst
Daily Hockey Writer
During the 1990-91 season, the
Michigan hockey team was continu-
ally characterized by the three Rs:
Red, rookies, and records.
Under the tutelage of coach Gor-
don "Red" Berenson, a young
Michigan squad produced the best
season by a Wolverine club in 15
years. With the addition of nine new
players to an already strong contin-
gent, the team drove to a second-
place CCHA finish and its first
NCAA tournament bid in 14 years.
On their way, the Wolverines
broke a myriad of school records, in-
cluding most wins in a season (29),
longest unbeaten streak (16), and
most victories by a goaltender
(Steve Shields, 25).
Shields was far from the only
newcomer to contribute heavily to
the team's success. Fellow goal-
tender Chris Gordon also played an
integral role, as did center Brian
Wiseman, forwards David Oliver
and Cam Stewart, and defender
Aaron Ward. Wiseman was voted
CCHA Rookie of the Year, while
Oliver and Ward were named to the
all-rookie team.
Yet the ending greatness of the
Wolverines was difficult to por-
tend at the beginning of the season.
Picked by conference coaches and
nmedia members to finish second in
the CCHA, Michigan dropped three
of its first nine games, and great ex-
pectations began to turn into skepti-
cism. However, after struggling to a
4*3 loss and a 4-4 tie against top-
ranked Lake Superior State, the
*Wolverines started the second half
ol the season by capturing 15
straight victories.
The winning streak began at the
Qreat Lakes Invitational, where the
),olverines grabbed their third con-
secutive title. at Joe Louis Arena.
Michigan squeaked out a 2-1 victory
over Michigan Tech to earn a spot in
the tournament final against Maine.
The Wolverines and the fourth-
*rlnked Blackbears were knotted, 1-1,
with four minutes remaining in the
tgird period until Oliver slammed
tyre puck into the Maine net on a
lreakaway. Michigan iced the 3-1
victory with an empty-netter late in
the contest, and proved to the
Hockey world that it was a national
power.
"I thought they had more jump
than we did tonight," Maine coach
Ofhawn Walsh said. "We just didn't
\et the offense, and you've got to
gave Steve Shields credit for that."
Throughout the tournament, the
IMichigan defense had to step up to
Pill the voids left by starting de-
fenders David Harlock and Patrick
lReaton, who spent the winter holi-
4ays playing in the World Junior
National Tournament. Shields
mved equal to the task, as he took
hme the Most Valuable Player
award for his outstanding work be-
$veen the pipes. The frosh stopped
10 of 31 Blackbear shots in the
Ohampionship game.
"Shields was the difference for
us tonight," Berenson said. "We
Qave up some good chances, but he
ung in there."
Shields felt the tournament was
turning point in his season.
" After the Great Lakes, I had a
,ot of confidence, and it felt like I
could go out there and win the
games for the team every night,"
Shields said. "It was a different

eeling than the beginning of the
year when I was nervous and
Icrewed up."
> Momentum from the GLI vic-
'tory carried Shields and the Wolver-
ones to 13 more consecutive victo-
;es. The streak came to an end when
Oey were finally knocked down by
onference rival Michigan State.
literally, knocked down.

M'

sports fans sing

the Maize and Blues'
Like all great duos in history - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Run
and DMC, Bill and Ted - Michigan and sports go together.
If you don't believe me, just ask University president James Duder-
stadt. During his brief address at commencement in May, Duderstadt
mentioned the football team more than he did the graduates.
And when George Bush completed his own speech, the stadium joined
in a pulsating rendition of "Hail to the Victors."
What a song. If asked the average Michigan student what his or her
alma mater was, the student would know nothing of the "Yellow and
the Blue," whose only recognized word, ironically, is "Hail." Instead,
the student would rattle off a few bars of "The Victors," which at
Freshman Convocation, we yearn was written by Louis Elbel in 1898.
We don't know who the University's provost is in 1991, but we know
good ol' Elbel wrote that catchy Victors tune.
The best part of having "The Victors" for a fight song is being able to
compare it to the paltry offerings of other schools, especially Big Ten
opponents. Northwestern, a school replete with paltry offerings, barely
throws together a brass section; its pep band is basically just a bunch of
bass drums and would-be musicians who wish they played for Michigan.
The only other university in the world with a comparable fight song
is Notre Dame. Actually, both schools' tunes have similar chord pro-
gression. Some prefer Notre Dame's vibrant verses, while others prefer
Michigan's exultant "Hail!" (it allows a stadium full of musically in-
ept fans to synchronize their timing.)
The problem with conceding praise to Notre Dame for its fight song
is that the Fighting Irish beat Michigan in football. The streak has
plummeted to four straight seasons. I remember a year ago at this time,
when friends who were then seniors remarked how they had never seen
the Wolverines beat Notre Dame. Then came Rick (No time to wallow in
the) Mire and his repulsive, Touchdown Jesus-inspired, luck-of-the-Irish
completion off the hands of intended receiver Raghib Ismail and into
those of (get this!) Lake Dawson.
My friends were crest-fallen. Four years at Michigan, four losses to
Notre Dame.
At the time, I snickered. After all, I had another season, another op-
portunity. But the closer Michigan gets to kickoff, the more worried I
become that my bachelor's degree will be tainted with the "Never Beat
Notre Dame" slur.
Of course, the Wolverines should win this year. Sure. They should
win every year. Like two seasons ago, when host Michigan was ranked
No. 1, and the Irish were No. 2.
But this year, the Wolverines really should win. They have a remark-
able corps of returning starters, a warm-up game at Boston College, and
like in 1989, the home-field advantage.
Oh, and a shot at the national title. But they have that every year.
But while the Michigan-Notre Dame contest is one of the nation's
most pivotal and publicized matchups, it is just one in a litany of
Wolverine rivalries.
Every conference matchup, whether the conference be the Big Ten,
CCHA, or MCFHA, in every sport is accompanied by some sort of com-
petitive baggage - an outcome from the previous season's meeting, the
heated exchange between former coaches 63 years before, or some useless
relic which becomes all-important when it is the winner's trophy.
There is a mystique about Michigan athletics that other schools na-
tionwide envy. It can't necessarily be described, but it can most defi-
nitely be felt.
Really, the. only way to experience this feeling is to attend each sport-
ing event at least once, because the mystique extends beyond Michigan
Stadium and Crisler Arena. It reaches Keen Arena, Tartan Turf, and Can-
ham Natatorium, as well.
And who knows? At one of these events, you might even get to sing'
"The Victors." It'll make it worth the trip.

f

JOSE JUAREZ/DaiIy
Denny Felsner is back for one more season with the Wolverine icers, much to the chagrin of CCHA opponents.
Last season, Felsner led the Wolverines in scoring, as they finished second in the league during both the

regular season and the playoffs.
After the horn sounded to end
the first period, both teams skated
onto the ice to congratulate their
goaltenders. Michigan State goalie
Jason Muzatti, who was not playing
in the game, skated over to the
Michigan end of the ice and am-
bushed Shields. The attack spurned
retaliation, and bedlam ensued.
'This is a great
moment for Michigan
hockey. It was an
emotional thing. We
put a lot into this
season'
-Red .Berenson,
'M' hockey coach
The officials lost control of the
situation, as there were individual
fights going on all over the ice.
Twelve players were ejected and
subsequently suspended as a result
of the fight. Later, Berenson and
Spartan coach Ron Mason also re-
ceived one-game suspensions for
their teams' actions.
"I don't think the referee had a
handle on what was happening,"
Berenson said. "It brought us down
to a different level of college
hockey than I'm used to seeing. It's a
blemish on the league. It's a blemish
on college hockey."
The Wolverines began their post--
season with a two-game sweep of
Ohio State, 5-4 and 9-4, in the first-

round of the CCHA playoffs, and
put themselves into position to
meet Lake Superior in the finals.
Both squads came into the con-
test with something to prove,cand
both did. LSSU proved it was still
No.1 by defeating Michigan, 6-5, and
Michigan proved it was a team to
contend with by taking the Lakers
to overtime. The Lakers won the
game when Clayton Beddoes blasted
home past Shields 6:39 into the ex-
tra period.
After such an impressive regular
season and playoff showing, Michi-
gan was rewarded with its first
NCAA bid since 1977. In the first
round of "The Show," the Wolver-
ines faced the Cornell Big Red in a
three-game series at Yost Ice Arena.
Cornell spoiled the festive at-
mosphere of the tournament by tak-
ing the first game of the series in
overtime, 5-4. Cornell tied the game
at four with just three seconds left
and won it just 21 seconds into
overtime.
The disappointment from the
opening loss served as a wake-up
call to the Wolverines, who re-
bounded in the second game for a 6-4
victory and sealed the series in grand
fashion, 9-3.
"This is a great moment for
Michigan hockey," Berenson beamed
afterward. "It was an emotional
thing. We put a lot into this season.

It would have t ;en a shame to get
into the NCAAs and not make it
past the first round."
Michigan seemed to be on track
for the NCAA semifinals in St.
Paul, Minn., but their train was de-
railed in Beantown. Boston Univer-
sity dominated the Wolverines, sur-
rendering only two goals the entire
series, 4-1 and 8-1 The Terriers ad-
vanced to the championship game,
only to fah to Northern Michigan
in triple over-nme.
"They were the better team this
weekend, no q' stion," Berenson
said. "Whether it was the first-
round bye or the I ome ice, it's tough
to say."
The Wolverines' loss marked the
end of Michigan's season, the end of
its championship hopes, and the end
of collegiate hockey for four
Wolverines: seniors Don Stone,
Kent Brothers, Mark Sorensen, and
Jim Ballantine.
"It was a rough way to end a ca-
reer," co-captain Stone said. "But
when we came here, we were still a
mediocre team. I would have never
thought I'd play in 'a (NCAA)
game."
The rest of the Wolverines will
be back for the 1991-92 season. They
will still have Red. They will have
six new rookies. And don't be sur-
prised if they end up with still more
records.

The University of Michigan

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