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Polls don't mean diddly
once the whistle sounds*
by Tim Rardin
Daily Hockey Writer
If games were played on paper, the Michigan
hockey team would've swept Western Michigan
easily this past weekend. But on the ice, things
just aren't so simple.
Talent-wise, the Wolverines have the clear
advantage against possibly every team in the
country, and certainly in the CCHA. That's why
they're the No. 1 team in the nation. But don't be
deceived - talent alone does not a team make.
This weekend proved that. Again.
"These polls don't mean a thing," Michigan
coach Red Berenson said after the his team's 8-4
embarrassment Saturday. "All the talk and names
on paper don't mean anything. It's how people
perform, not only individually, but as a group."
Indeed, the Wolverines didn't perform partic-
ularly well, especially in Saturday's game. After
Friday's 2-2 tie, one might've expected Michigan
to learn its lesson going into game two with the
Broncos. However, Western jumped out to a
quick 3-0 lead in the first period en route to its 8-
"Western played a good game, " Berenson
said. "They took advantage of their chances, and
they kept the lead. They really didn't do anything
to hurt themselves."
The same could not be said about Michigan.
Mental approach to a game is as important as the
physical side, and that aspect seemed to be lack-
ing for the Wolverines at times. They simply
didn't come to play for a full 60 minutes in either
game, and it cost them, as the Broncos took ad-
vantage of many Michigan mistakes.
"It's all mental and we weren't mentally
ready to play," forward David Roberts said. "We
are much better than these guys."
The mental factor was perhaps more impor-
tant with the absence of three key players from
Patrick Neaton (out due to a death in the fam-
ily), Dan Stiver (separated shoulder), and Chris
Tamer (suspended for flagrant high-sticking in
Friday's game) all missed Saturday's game, so
admittedly, the Wolverines were not at full
strength. But at the same time, that does not jus-
tify the Wolverines' lackadaisical play.
"It's a total team effort from the goaltending
on out," netminder Steve Shields said. "There's
just no excuse for the way we played."
Though it's hard to pinpoint exactly why
Michigan faltered, a disappointing week of prac-
tice may have affected the weekend's results.
"We didn't have good practices, especially at
the beginning of the week," forward Rick Willis
said Saturday. "I think it showed in the game."
"Maybe Michigan felt they could take us for
granted, that they just had to show up," Western
coach Bill Wilkinson suggested. "Obviously in
this league, you can't just show up, you gotta
play. Anyone is going to be able to beat anyone
in anybody's building if you don't perform."
So the simple lesson to be learned here is that
any team, whether Western Michigan or Lake
Superior State, is capable of knocking off the
Wolverines if they don't play the way of which
they are capable.
Easier said than done, I suppose.
And it's not as if the Wolverines haven't ever
lost to a team it was supposed to beat before.
Certainly, it's difficult to play your best every
night in a 40-plus game season. A series like the
Wolverines had this weekend was probably in-
evitable. But Michigan cannot afford many
weekends like this one if it hopes to live up to its
expectations and repeat as CCHA champions.
"You have to look at these experiences frog
the positive side," David Harlock said. "It's bet-
ter for us to learn that (we have to come to play
every night) now as opposed to halfway through
the season. It gives us a lot of time to re-group.#
Mark Ouimet takes a shot against Western Michigan in the second period
of Saturday night's 8-4 loss to the Broncos.
(A AAA AA
AA A nInn n
Depleted lineup hinders
by Chad A. Safran
Daily Hockey Writer
Michigan's weekend lineup was signifi-
cantly altered this weekend due to some exten-
uating circumstances, especially in the defen-
Senior defenseman Patrick Neaton did not
play either game against Western Michigan
because of a family emergency.
At the conclusion of the Michigan's 2-2 tie
Friday night in Kalamazoo, Wolverine senior
defenseman Chris Tamer was given a five-
minute penalty for flagrant high sticking. Ac-
cording to NCAA rules, Tamer was suspended
for the next game for receiving a penalty of
Without two of their top offensive de-
fenseman and senior right wing Dan Stiver -
out with a separated shoulder suffered against
Ferris State last weekend - the Michigan
power play was considerably weakened. The
Wolverines went two for 12 with the man ad-
vantage against the Broncos on the weekend.
"There's three of our players on our two
power-play units," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "We haven't been solid in that
area the last couple of games. We did more
While Tamer and Neaton will both return
for next weekend's series against Lake Supe-
rior State, Stiver, who did not skate at all last
week, is uncertain about his return.
"He is out next week," Berenson said. "He
may not return until after Thanksgiving."
DEBUTING: Because of the absence of the
two defenseman, Mark Sakala made his first
appearance in a Michigan uniform Saturday
night. Sakala, a sophomore from Detroit, did
not play at all last season.
"It's been a year and a half since I played in
a real competitive game," Sakala said. "I was a
little shaky at first. Then, as time went on in
the game I felt a little better. The team was
great. They really helped me out a lot."
Sakala gained his first career point, assist-
ing on Brian Wiseman's second period goal.
Chris Gordon saw his first game action
. this season at the beginning of the second pe-
riod. Berenson replaced starter Steve Shields
who gave up three goals in the first period.
Gordon allowed three goals to get past him be-
fore Shields was reinserted at the 14:24 mark
of the same period.
"I felt ready to play," Gordon said. "I think
I might've tried to do too much. It's just one of
those breaks. Other times things go right, this
time it didn't."
IT HAS BEEN A WHILE: Saturday was the
first time since the 1986-87 season that the
Broncos have won at Yost. The last time that
happened the Broncos scored eight goals as
well. The victory was also the first for the
Broncos over the Wolverines in four years. In
the time between victories Western Michigan
had gone 0-9-2 against Michigan.
QUICK RETURN: Because of the two new
teams in the CCHA, Michigan will only play
each team three times each season. The
Wolverines get their opportunity for revenge
against the Broncos in less than a month. The
two teams have their final regular season con-
frontation at Yost Nov. 27.
Continued from page 1
travails, defenseman Chris Tamer was handed a game-
misconduct at the end of overtime for a high-sticking
"I thought we were starting to come alive, especially
late in the first period," Western head coach Bill
Wilkinson said. "We got by the initial shock of playing
the No. 1 team in the country. Sometimes we may give
people too much respect."
After outshooting Western, 31-17, Friday, Michign
was less than satisfied with a tie.
"You can name all the reasons you want, it's just a
matter of us not working hard enough," Roberts said.
"We worked hard at times, we just gave them too
Michigan again dictated play in the first period
Saturday, outshooting Western, 14-6. However, just
3:38 into the game, the Broncos led, 2-0. They were up,
3-0, before Sittler scored with less than a minute to play
in the stanza. Berenson pulled Shields in favor of Chris
Gordon for the second period.
"Their first two shots went in," Roberts said. "We
were down, 2-0, in the first shift. We went out there and
got things going, almost scored a couple goals, then
they go right down the ice - shot, goal."
Just over one minute into the second period, Ward
scored his second goal of the night. Michigan then cut
the deficit to one on tallies by Mike Knuble and Brian
Wiseman. Wiseman's goal was a brilliant individual ef-
fort as he weaved across the blueline, down the boaeds
and wound up alone in front with a gaping net.
Just 18 seconds later, though, Western retaliated
with a goal of its own. After the Broncos' sixth goal,
Ward's third, Shields was back between the pipes.
The Wolverines were plagued by penalties througlh-
out the game, giving the Broncos 11 power-play
chances for the contest. "We took unnecessary pengl-
ties," Berenson said. "Discipline was a factor in the
weekend - it cost us. We lost Tamer because of a
penalty, that was costly. It hurt us tonight."
Wiseman pulled Michigan within two goals early in
the third. But it was not enough. Western added two late
scores, one an empty-netter, to reach the final of 8-4.
"We didn't show them the respect they deserved,"
Wiseman said. "We didn't help out Shields and Gordon
on defense. We have to generate more offense. It's hard
to pinpoint the cause of what happened tonight. The
puck just wasn't bouncing our way."
"It certainly shows us that at the present time, we are
definitely beatable and we have to come to play every
night," captain David Harlock said.
Michigan goalie Steve Shields stands dejectedly after allowing the last of
Western Michigan's eight goals Saturday night
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