Page 6 -The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - March 30, 1992
'M' icers catch train
to 'The Big Dance'.
by Ken Sugiura
Daily Hockey Writer
DETROIT - David Roberts' smile wasn't one of irrepressible joy, the
smile of someone who had just been informed he had won the lottery. It
was more a relieved grin, the kind you might get if you slept through your
alarm, jumped in and out of the shower, sprinted out the door and caught
the train to work just as it was leaving the station.
"We're going to the Final Four," he said, reflecting on the gravity of the
words he had just uttered. "The Big Dance."
After a season in which sometimes their worst enemy was themselves,
in a game in which it looked like the overbearing weight of expectations
might finally break their backs, the Wolverines redeemed themselves.
They showed, in escaping Northern Michigan, 7-6, in the NCAA West
Regional semifinal, they aren't just a collection of big names, but they
have plenty of heart to go along with an abundance of talent.
The Michigan hockey team has waited a season for this game, for the
chance to get to Albany, N.Y., the Final Four site, and sometimes its impa-
tience has shown. And finally, when the opportunity arose, the Wolverines
got cold feet.
"I think there was a little bit of panic on the ice," Roberts said.
And then it all changed. Michigan woke up and realized, hey, the
train's leaving for Albany, and we're not on it. It began with an improba-
ble score by Roberts, with five-tenths of a second remaining in the second
period. The junior has endured a down year, but provided the spark for the
"It was obviously very big for them," Northern Michigan coach Rick
The score sent the Wolverines into the lockerroom trailing, 6-4. And
then came what may become known in Michigan legend as "The Talk," a
pep talk given by grad assistant Kent Brothers.
"You could feel the whole room rising up, and then we were fHying in
the third period," Roberts revealed.
Steve Shields, the Michigan goalie, got his own personal wakeup call,
delivered by coach Red Berenson. Until that point, he had been shaky.
Northern had scored its fourth goal off a Shields miscue, as he lost control
of the puck Nhile looking for a pass. Wildcat forward Jim Hiller chased it
down and fed Scott Beattie, who rushed in alone into the slot and blistered
a slapshot past Shields.
"I told Shields, 'You cannot give up another goal," Berenson instructed
his goalie after the second period. "'If you give up another goal, we cannot
Shields returned to the ice in the third period and stonewalled the
Wildcats. He successfully turned away each of the 11 NMU shots that
came his way, four of them originating from below the hashmarks.
Forward Mike Helber also had a reality check. The usually-heady for-
ward committed a couple of foolish penalties early, the second of which
led to Northern Michigan's second score. With the possibility of playing
his final hockey game staring the senior in the face, he turned his act
"We came out with a 'we can win' attitude," Helber said of his team's
attitude in the final stanza.
None exemplified it more than Helber. Finding himself virtually alone
with the puck in the Wildcat zone, Helber slammed home the game-winner
with 1:38 showing on the Joe Louis Arena scoreboard.
The train has left the station, and the Wolverines are safely aboard,
thanks to alarm clocks named Roberts, Berenson and Brothers.
Northern Michigan's Jim Hiller decks a Wolverine in front of the Michigan bench. His two goals and two assists weren't enough to top the Wolverines,
who scored four straight goals to win the NCAA West Region semifinal yesterday, 7-6. Michigan advances to the Final Four in Albany, N.Y.
by Josh Dubow
Daily H ockey Writer
DETROIT - Trailing Northern Michigan, 6-
3, late in the second period, the fortunes of the
Michigan hockey team were dimming. The
Wolverines had been outhustled and outplayed
over the first 39 minutes and 42 seconds of the
The game turned around when Michigan de-
fenseman Aaron Ward carried the puck from his
own zone and induced Wildcat forward Mike
Harding into a tripping penalty. This brought
about the Wolverines' eighth p~ower play, and
began a remarkable comeback.
Michigan controlled the neutral-ice faceoff
and Denny Felsner fed a streaking Ted Kramer at
the Wildcat blueline. Kramer then passed to
linemate Cam Stewart who carried the puck into
the right corner and centered the puck to David
Roberts. The junior thien beat Northern goal-
tender Corwin Saurdiff with a wristshot from the
slot with five-tenths of a second remaining in the
"I didn't know this would be such a big goal
when I got it," Roberts said. "The guy went
down, and I put it right through him."
"Roberts' goal was the biggest goal of the
game," said Mike Helber, who tallied the game-
winner late in the third period. "It gave us a little
life, and we came out with that 'we believe' kind
of attitude in the third."
While Roberts could not imagine the impor-
tance of his marker, his teammates used it as a
starting point for their comeback.
"I came in the lockerroom and sat next to
Denny," David Oliver said, "and I told him that
might be the biggest goal in Michigan history. I
thought that would turn the game around.
Shortly after Oliver's prognostication, Michi-
gan coach Red Berenson gave a pep talk to his
squad, but the most important talk came next.0
Graduate assistant Kent Brothers - who was
a forward on last year's team - gave what
Oliver described as an "emotional" speech talk-
ing about the team's failures against Boston Uni-
versity in last year's NCAA East Regional final."
"Kent Brothers came in and gave us a pretty'
good pep talk," Roberts said. "It got the whole
team fired up. We went out in the third period
with a lot of confidence, and probably played our
best period of hockey of the season."~
While the players give Brothers much of theF
credit for the comeback, he deflects the compli-
ments back to the players.
"I just told the guys that it's too easy to quit,'"
brothers said. "When you get close and then
things don't work out, it's easy just to give up.9
I've been quiet all year, but it could be the Iast'
game and you got to do anything you can."
Continued from page 1
falling Steve Shields and laid the puck in for' the easy
shorthanded score. The last of Northern's scoring, their
sixth on the evening, came from the same Frederick, his
twenty-sixth of the season. The goal put Northern
ahead, 6-3, and, after Roberts goal, Michigan and the
Wildcats skated into the lockerroom for the second in-
termission with Northern cherishing a two-goal lead.
During the break, Michigan coach Red.Berenson
plotted the coup strategy. Ignoring the fact that
'We had them so mentally down.
If they came out in the third period
down, 6-3, and we could play some
five-on-five hockey, it might have
been a different story.'
- Rick Comley
Northern Michigan hockey coach
Northern owned a 52-1-4 record when leading after two
periods, Berenson leveled with the players. "The play-
ers had to decide if they wanted to give themselves a
chance," Berenson said.
The Wolverines took the opportunity and beat the
odds. Early in the third, Michigan capitalized on a five-
on-three power play situation with a Patrick Neaton
shot. The junior recorded his tenth goal of the season
and third point of the game while bringing the
Wolverines to within one. Later, Michigan assistant
captain Denny Felsner hit paydirt. With a feed from
Tamer, Felsner knocked in his second goal of the
evening, tying the score at six apiece. .
And then Helber delivered the verdict. With all his
strength he drove the searing slapshot home, lifting the
Wolverines by skinning the 'Cats.
gone; not eXCitement .
by Andy Do Korte
Daily Hockey Writer
DETROIT -- This season the NCAA Hockey Tournament began using '4
different format. The top two teams in both the East and the West brackel4
still received first-round byes, however, all games would be single eliming$
tion with no home-ice advantage.
Despite winning, 7-6, Michigan coach Red Berenson was less than eir
thused with the change.
S"When it's all over I guess we can sit back and look at all the facets. The
excitemtent is there if that's what they want," Berenson said. "Obviously;.
the chance for upset is there more in a one-game series and not at the home '
rink. They got the excitement all right, but it's too bad you don't get the
home crowd in it."
Three teams that would have enjoyed home ice - number one seeq
Maine, and the two number two seeds, Minnesota and St. Law/rence - were
all upset in the second round.
NMU coach Rick Comley never approved of the change.
"My first impression is that I don't like it. I think that this weekend re-
ally highlighted our competition against basketball We had some great
games this weekend but no one to see them."
Comley's concern with attendance was warranted. A mere 620.
watched the action at Joe Louis. Fans numbered more than 6,205 seven
times during the regular season.
For all the fuss about where they play the games, Wolverine forward
DaIdthink we could have paye that game at Ohio State and both teams
would have come out and played hard."
L AST CHAMPIONSHIP?: Oliver had some extra motivation to beat the
Wildcats. Oliver played with current Wildcat Tony Szabo for the Vernon:
Lakers of the British Columbia junior league, and the two won the.
Centennial Cup in 1989-90.
Oliver played against many of the Northern players during his junior ca.e
reer. In tribute to winning the Cup, Oliver sported his championship ring foi
teBEGIN WITH A BANG: During the pregame skate, a skirmish developed
between the teams and resulted in four minutes of penalties for NMU's Joe
Frederick and Michigan's Chris Tamer.-
"Frederick was chasing a puck into our zone, and I inadvertently
knod him down," dTamer sai. "I don't want guys skating into our zong
Berenson felt the incident had a real effect on the game.
"The game got off to rough start because of the ruckus that we had.
Since so many penalties followed that the flow of the game was really dis.@
Wolverine David Oliver exults after Michig an's 7-6 victory over Northern Michig an .
"$....*.: EN E N'S
H OCK EY
F IN AL FO U R
Lakers skate past Golden
Gophers, into Final Four
DETROIT (AP) - Paul
Constantin scored his first career hat
trick and freshman Brian Rolston
added two goals and two assists as
Lake Superior State advanced to the
NCAA Final Four for the first time
in four years Sunday with an 8-3 vic-
tory over Minnesota.
game at 15:37 of the first period
with a power play goal. His slap shot.
from the left point sailed over goalie
Jeff Stolp's right shoulder and
opened the floodgates for the Lakers.
Just 14 seconds later, defenseman
Steve Barnes flicked a quick wrist
shot through Stolp for another power