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December 07, 1992 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-12-07

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - December 7, 1992 - Page 5
Shields shines in split
'M' goalie turns away 50 shots on weekend

by Tim Rardin
Daily Hockey Writer
In a series that was immensely significant
for Michigan hockey, both in the standings and
in terns of the rivalry, Wolverine goaltender
Steve Shields cane up with arguably his
strongest performance of the season against
Michigan State.
Consistency has been a problem for Shields
in the initial stages of the season, though he
still carried an impressive 2.27 goals against
average into the weekend. But despite the fact
that Michigan managed only a split with the
Spartans, Shields played big, providing save
after crucial save to keep the Wolverines alive.
Shields faced only five shots from Michi-
gan State in the first period Friday, going rela-
tively untested until an MSU power play goal
7:07 into the second period.
"Because of our defensive game, I'm not
going to go out there every period and get a
bunch of shots," Shields said. "But I have to be
ready for when they come."
Make no mistake, the shots came, but
Shields was ready.
It was after the Spartans closed a 4-1 deficit.
to 4-3 just 48 seconds into the third that
Shields lived up to his billing. The 6-foot-3,
210-pound junior saved 22 on the night, but
had to withstand a furious flurry of shots from
Michigan State late in the final stanza, to se-
cure the victory.
In fact, the hockey gods must have been
acknowledging Shields' heroic performance as
a Nicolas Perreault slapshot in literally the last
second of play somehow careened off the right
post and slid safely across the crease as time
expired.
"I was just praying. I was trying to do a

butterfly, but I'm not that flexible, so I tried to
do as well as I could," Shields said of the final
seconds. "Luckily, it hit the post."
While Shields literally saved the victory for
the Wolverines Friday, he kept Michigan in the
game to the very end in Saturday's 3-1 loss, as
Michigan's offense sputtered en route to a sin-
gle goal.
Shields corraled 20 out of 21 shots in the
first two periods, keeping the Wolverines in
contention for a possible weekend sweep until
late in the third, as Spartan center Brian
Smolinski scored two goals, including an
empty-netter with only one second remaining,
in the last five minutes of play.
Smolinski's first goal Saturday was one of
Shields' few mistakes in the the game, and the
series.
"I should've had it. He (Smolinski) crossed
the blue line and someonc dropped him the
puck. I should have been more aware of who
was shooting," Shields said. "He was forty feet
out. I'm capable of handling a shot like that. I
handle shots like that all the time in practice. It
was a mistake."
Shields hopes to build on his performance
of last weekend, and to develop the consis-
tency that has been lacking in his game thus
far.
"I played pretty well, but the goal
(Smolinski's first) put a damper on the week-
end," Shields said. "I would like to play my
best each night, and consistency has been a
problem. As the season goes on, I'd like to get
a little more focused because each game gets
more and more important."

Michigan goaltender Steve Shields knocks away a Michigan State shot in the Wolverines' 4-3 victory Friday at Yost Ice Arena. Shields
collected 45 saves for the weekend as Michigan split the series with the Spartans, winning Friday's game and losing Saturday's, 3-1.

"

fl

le

L I

0
net

Temperature rises
in heated rivalry

by Brett Forrest
Daily Hockey Writer
"You hate every guy on their team once you
step on the ice."
. -Michigan captain David Harlock
The path consists of M-14, U.S. Route 23 and
Interstate 96. It is a harsh, unhewn road, filled
with potholes and uneven terrain. From late fall
through early spring, wind and snow mercilessly
cuts through the roadways, making the sojourn a
biting, nomadic, plodding adventure.
The distance itself is roughly 60 miles. In the
most basic sense, this measurement separates two
educational institutions. In reality, though, for
many journeymen this trail represents a trans-
portation from the warm hearth of the homefront
to a dark pit of hatred located in a foreign, hostile
land.
The path connects Ann Arbor and East Lans-
ing; Michigan and Michigan State; Yost Ice Arena
and Munn Ice Arena. These three comparisons
could not be more contrasting. While these two
schools are admittedly quite similar, their fierce
hatred for each other accentuates the several dif-
ferences between them to the point of overindul-
gence.
The emotion is there. The tension is there. The
fierce competition is there. But there is something
more to this rivalry that gives it the added spice
that makes all the contests between the schools
seem ready to overflow with uncontrollable fury
emanating from all involved.
There is real, unadulterated hatred genuinely
felt by the members of each school toward the

other institution. Whether it is football, basketball
or checkers, the intensity that powers the competi-
tion found in these matchups is the bitterness
sparked by the sight of the other team's colors.
"You have two big schools that are so close
together and play each other in every sport,"
Michigan State hockey coach Ron Mason said. "It
is always the sports question I get. I'll go out with
my fishing buddies in the summer and the first
thing they will ask me is 'How'd you do against
Michigan?"'
This hatred is no more pronounced than when
the two schools take the ice against each other.
The intensity with which the players compete in
these games is so far beyond the level found in
their other contests that it is almost incomparable.
"It's stressed from the beginning of the week
to the end," Michigan senior David Roberts said.
"You know you are playing MSU. The press
builds up the rivalry. It makes it hard to play. The
emotion gets you so into the game you can lose
your focus."
There have been a handful of fights in games
involving these two teams in the past few years.
Saturday at Munn Ice Arena, the teams erupted
into a brawl at the conclusion of State's 3-1 vic-
tory. Three separate scraps broke out and the
overall effect of the scene marred what was oth-
erwise a classic college hockey battle. Michigan's
Cam Stewart and MSU's Nicolas Perreault were
the catalysts of the melee and there was still bad
blood following the incident. '
"We had the brawl at the Joe (Louis Arena) a
couple years ago," MSU center Bryan Smolinski

said. "(Tonight's incident) was the third brawl
we've had in three years. (Stewart) is a real dis-
turber, he plays a lot bigger than he is. They have
a lot of dummies on that team."
Michigan's Aaron Ward, a reluctant combatant
in the fighting, had a retort for the Spartan star.
"That's kind of stupid to say, considering
Cam's going with the biggest idiot on their team
(Perreault)."
There are some who will say Michigan started
the brawl because of the fashion in which they
lost Saturday. Smolinski scored the game-winner
with 4:54 remaining in the third period and then
clinched the victory on an empty-net goal with
one second left in the game.
However, the Wolverines had a difficult time
accepting a loss to the Spartans in any manner. To
make matters worse, Michigan State began taunt-
ing Michigan at the finale.
"They were rubbing it in our faces," Michigan
winger David Oliver said. "We won Friday night
and skated off the ice. That's just going to make
us look forward to playing them the next time."
When the teams meet again this year they will
not travel the bumpy roads between the two
schools. That next time could be in the Great
Lakes Invitational at the end of this month at Joe
Louis Arena. If the teams do not meet at the GLI,
they will play at the Joe Jan. 30.
Even though the players will not have the im-
petus of a 60-mile bus ride to coax them into the
right state of mind, in the absolute words of
Michigan captain David Harlock, they probably
will not need it.

HOCKEY NOTEBOOK
Roberts, Sittler named
to USAntonal teams
by Chad A. Safran
Daily Hockey Writer
Recently USA Hockey released its roster of players on the 1992
USA select team. Eighteen of America's top collegiate upperclassmen -
have been named to the squad which will compete in the USA Cup,
Dec. 18-20 in Albany, N.Y. An additional two players will be named to
the team before the start of the tournament.
One of the 18 players is Michigan forward David Roberts. Roberts,
a 6-foot-I senior from Connecticut will report to Lake Placid, N.Y., on
Dec. 15 for the team's training session prior to the USA Cup. Roberts
has 11 points on the season (4 goals-7 assists).
"The USA select team is part of USA Hockey's on-going player
development program," USA Hockey's International Program Director
Art Berglund said. "This tournament will provide an opportunity for
some of America's top college players to wear the USA jersey and gain
experience competing in an international event."
However, Roberts is not the only Michigan player to make a select
team. Winger Ryan Sittler was selected to play for the 1993 United
States Junior National Team that will compete in the World Junior
Championships to be held Dec. 26-Jan. 4 in Gavle, Sweden.
Sittler, a 6-2 freshman, is among 17 collegians on the squad. Sittler
has 10 points on the season (4-6). He was a member of the bronze
medal winning team a year ago as a senior at the Nichols School.
"We feel we have assembled a mature team that is familiar with the
type of performance necessary to win a medal in the World Junior
tournament," said Berglund. "Our goal is to maintain our position as
one of the top junior teams on the international level."
NEW LINEUP: Friday, Michigan's Aaron Ward, normally a
defenseman, moved up to the forward line and played right wing. He
scored no points in the game. For Saturday's affair, Ward was back at
his customary defenseman spot as Michigan coach Red Berenson"
decided to dress seven defenseman.
As a result, Berenson chose to double shift forward Mike Knuble,
playing him on the third and fourth lines.
"Knuble is one of our strong right wings" Berenson said. "He
doesn't kill penalties like (Dan) Stiver and he doesn't get as much ice
time as (David) Oliver. He's the ideal guy. Besides, he played with
(Rick) Willis and (Mike) Stone last year. So, it was a pretty easy
decision to make."
WINNING COACH: Michigan State's Ron Mason is the NCAA's
winningest active coach and the winningest coach in Spartan hockey
history. His record in 14 years at the helm of the Spartans is 370-173-
30.
A pregame ceremony was held Saturday night at Munn Arena to
give Mason a plaque, honoring these achievements. He needs 16 wins
to surpass former Boston College coach Len Ceglarski's NCAA-
record 673 victories. Before coming to Michigan State, Mason coached
at Lake Superior and Bowling Green.
CROWDING AROUND: 7,525 spectators viewed Friday's game at
Yost Ice Arena. This was the largest crowd for a Michigan home game
this season. After six home games, Michigan is averaging 6,160 fans
per game. At this pace, a new record for average attendance would be
set.

ICERS
Continued from page 1
wasn't ready."
But the Wolverines pressed the
action for the remaining time.
After pulling Steve Shields for an
extra attacker with just over a
minute remaining in the third period,
Michigan fired several shots on net
only to be stymied by Spartan goalie
Mike Buzak each time.
Then the key moment came with
18 ticks left on the clock and a
faceoff in the Michgan State zone.
Michigan center Brian Wiseman was
matched up against the Spartans'
Anson Carter. Wiseman, who typi-
cally dominates faceoffs, lost this
one.
Then Smolinski got the puck
once more and fired home the empty
netter for the game's final tally.
"It was a great game," Berenson
said. "It's too bad the game was de-
cided by a weak goal on Shields'
part. I don't know whether we de-
served to win or we deserved to lose.
They got off to a good start."
"They capitalized on their
chances better than we did," Michi-
gan captain David Harlock said.
"We certainly had a number of
chances. They nlaved a ood defen-

lowed in and knocked home his
fourth goal of the season. It did not
take long for the Wolverines to
strike again.
With Michigan State defenseman
Ryan Fleming off for holding, the
Wolverine power play went to work.
Picture-perfect passing from Cam
Stewart and Wiseman led to an easy
goal for David Oliver, who split the
pipes for his 13th tally on the sea-
son: Two shots, two goals.
"On the road, you can't give up
two goals early and expect to win,"
Mason said.
With the Wolverines ahead, 3-0,
in the second after Oliver's second
goal of the game, the Spartans began
to fight back. Brian Clifford scored
Michigan State's first goal, a power-
play effort that was a carbon copy of
the power-play goal the Wolverines
had scored earlier in the period.
"They moved the puck really
well," Berenson said. "When you've
got a man advantage, there's always
going to be someone that's open. If
it's executed right, it's just about
impossible to stop. We did it once to
them and they did it once to us."
Michigan came back to extend
the lead back to three on a Pat
Neaton goal at the 10:16 mark of the
secnnd stanz. After receivino a

of the game. Perreault hit the right
post with the final shot of the game
as time expired to the relief of the
Michigan players.
"Never saw it," Shields said.
"But I heard it. After I kicked out
the first shot, I lost it. I was trying to
do a butterfly, but I'm not that flexi-
ble. So, I tried to do as well as I
couli. Luckily it hit the post."
"I am happy we got the two
points," Neaton said. "We let them
back in the game. They had some

chances down there. We had some
breakdowns here and there."
"It was a big win the way we
won it," Oliver said. "We had them
on the ropes. When it was 4-1, we
almost got carried away."
Although his team won, Beren-
son was not totally pleased with the
effort.
"I thought we were the better
team the first half and they were the
better team the second half," Beren-
son said.

, w
Through December 6, 1992
Men's Hockey Standings
TEAM W L T PTS.

X 1

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