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March 08, 1993 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-08

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Page 6- The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - March 8, 1993

I

Icers can't capture CCHA crown
Blue manhandles Kent OSU, but watches Miami hold on to flst place

t

EVArN P , IE/Daly
While Michigan coach Red Berenson did not have many reasons to get
this intense last weekend, he did earn his 200th career victory Saturday.
ereson adds a new
number to his legacy
by Chad A. Safran
Daily Hockey Writer
COLUMBUS - Michigan began its 1984-85 season with a new
head coach. Then-athletic director Don Canham hired former
Wolverine hockey great Red Berenson to lead Michigan back to the
national prominence it knew in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Almost nine years later, Berenson has reached a milestone he never
contemplated arriving at. Saturday night against Ohio State, Berenson
earned his 200th victory at the Michigan helm.
"It's insignificant," Berenson said. "I never really thought about
it."
Berenson coached the St. Louis Blues for three seasons (1979-82),
winning the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year following
the 1980-81 campaign. After Berenson was dismissed from the Blues
job, he embarked on his coaching career at Michigan. When he arrived
in Ann Arbor, his team was of quite a different caliber from the one he
coaches today.
Berenson's first season began well enough with Michigan, as his
Wolverines won four of their first five games, including the season
opener against Miami.
"When we won, we acted as if we had just won the Stanley Cup,"
Berenson said. "For a few years, no one on the team expected to win.
The players had just hoped to win."
The rest of the season was far from being successful. The
Wolverines finished in the CCHA cellar with an overall record of 13-
26-1. The lowest point of the season came when Ferris State took two
high-scoring games from Michigan.
"We were up, 7-2, going into the third period and ended up losing,
9-7," Berenson said. "It was horrendous. That was the longest night."
Numerous long nights followed as the Wolverines lost 26 and 20
games, respectively, during the next two seasons. Yet Michigan
improved its position in the conference, finishing seventh after
Berenson's third season.
"It was a learning process for me and the team," Berenson said.
"There were a lot of great teams, a lot of tough teams, a lot of long
nights. Bowling Green was coming off a national championship
(1983-84). Ohio State used to give us a tough time and of course, Lake
Superior was tough. We needed to convince the players that they were
good enough to compete."
Berenson's fourth season (1987-88) proved to be the turning point
for the Wolverines, catapulting them to the next level of competition.
Michigan won 22 games and finished fourth in the CCHA. The finish
marked the first time since the 1980-81 season that Michigan had
passed the 20-victory plateau.
Three seasons later, the Wolverines made their first trip to the
NCAA tournament in 14 years when they won a school-record 34
games and came away with a second-place finish in the CCHA, the
team's best ever in the conference at the time. That accomplishment
was surpassed by last season's league championship and an
appearance in the NCAA semifinals.
Berenson said that his successslies in something other than his
coaching abilities.
"It comes from recruiting good players," Berenson said. "They
don't always turn out the way you expect, but we have had a lot of
good recruiting the last five to six years that has paid dividends.
We've got a program, a facility and a school with a lot of
recognition."

by Chad A. Safran
Daily Hockey Writer
COLUMBUS - With the
Michigan hockey team (23-5-2
CCHA, 27-5-3 overall) comfortably
ahead in its 13-1 thrashing of Ohio
State Saturday, the players'
thoughts turned to, of all places,
Sault Ste. Marie.
Why would the Wolverines be
contemplating the happenings in the
Upper Peninsula?
Miami was playing Lake
Superior, and, following Friday's 6-
2 victory over Kent, Michigan found
itself two points behind the Redskins
for the CCHA regular season cham-
pionship as a result of Miami's 1-1
tie at Ferris State Friday night.
Unfortunately for the
Wolverines, the Lakers failed to hold
a 6-5 third-period lead, as Brian
Savage scored with less than three
minutes remaining in the final period
to knot the game at six. That was
how the game finished, giving the
Redskins their first league title ever.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
acknowledged that his team has ac-
complished much despite ending the
regular season as the runner-up in
the conference.
"We made a good rush for first
place," Berenson said. "It's a bit of a
downer. We were hoping for another
favor, but you don't always get it."
Berenson was referring to last
season when Lake Superior dropped
two games in the next-to-last week-
end of the season, giving the
Wolverines the outright regular sea-
son title.
Players offered different reac-
tions upon learning the outcome of
the Miami game.
"(It's) a little disappointing," said
right wing Mike Knuble, who scored
his 21st and 22nd goals in the win
over the Buckeyes. "We could have
controlled the outcome. We could
have clinched it, but (Miami) de-
serves it. They just finished it off."
"(It's) not really disappointing,"
center Mark Ouimet said. "We've
been gunning for second for so long.
Joe Louis (CCHA semis and finals)
is coming up and that's where the
games really count. It would be nice

to have hung another banner at
home."
Before Michigan could even
think of the Miami-Lake Superior
contest, the Wolverines needed to
dispatch of Ohio State. They did so
in a hurry, jumping out to a 1-0 lead
just :38 seconds into the game as de-
fenseman Aaron Ward scored his
fourth goal of the season.
The Wolverines continued to
roast the Buckeyes, culminating in
two power-play goals within a 31-
second span from Knuble and for-
ward Cam Stewart, who scored his
17th goal of the season on a break-
away off a center-ice faceoff.
"We played well right off the
start," Stewart said. "We made them
play how we did."
The goals kept coming, as the
Wolverines moved out to an 11-0
lead at the 12:30 mark of the final
stanza on Ryan Sittler's ninth tally
of the season. Steve Shields ap-
peared headed to tying a league
record for shutouts in a season
(three) until Tim Green put Ohio
State on the board with a power-play
goal at the 16:15 mark. It marked
only the third goal the Buckeyes

have put past Michigan netminders
this season.
The Wolverines managed to
strike back quickly with the
Wolverines' fourth power-play goal
of the night when center Kevin
Hilton scored his second goal of the
game. Rick Willis followed 1:07
later with the fourth line's lone goal
of the night for the final 12-goal vic-
tory margin.
Friday's affair against the Golden
Flashes was much closer than the
game with the Buckeyes. The
Michigan offense continued to pro-
duce numerous opportunities as evi-
denced by the 47 shots fired at Kent
goalie Scott Shaw.
Michigan jumped in front early
this night as well, scoring on the
second shift of the evening at the :50
mark of the opening period when
Stewart fired a shot from the left cir-
cle past Shaw.
"I just shot as hard as I could,"
Stewart said. "I didn't think it would
go in. It's good to get the first goal
and get on your right way."
Continuously throughout the
game, the Michigan defensemen, es-
pecially Chris Tamer, were able to

rush the puck up into the Kent de-
fensive zone.
"Their defensemen back in a o101"
said Tamer, who assisted on to
goals. "They weren't forcing. They
gave me the chance and I took it.
Too bad I can't score goals or else I
would have had some."
One defenseman who did put the
puck in the net was Ward, firing in
his second and third goals of the sea-
son, including one at 19:56 of the
first period that put Michigan up 2-0.
"You never want to give up a
goal at the start of a period or late in
a period," Kent State coach Bill
Switaj said. "We can't do that, and it
certainly didn't help us. We had tco
many turnovers in the neutral zone.
That was our biggest problem.
"Player for player, no team in the
league is close (to Michigan);"
Switaj said. "They can go one-on-
one with anyone. No team scares
you like they do."
With the regular season now con-
cluded, Michigan will host Notre
Dame in the opening round of the
CCHA playoffs. The Wolverines
have taken all four contests from the
Fighting Irish this season.

(.

EVAN PETRIE/Daily
Michigan center Ron Sacka circles Kent State's net, unleashing a shot at Golden Flame goaltender Scott Shaw.

SCORE BY PERIODS
Michigan 2 3 1- 6
Kent State 0 0 2- 2
First- Period: 1, UM, Stewart
16 (Hilton, Ward), 0:50. 2, UM,
Ward 2 (Oliver, Stewart),
19:56.
Second Period: 3, UM, Ouimet
12 (pp) (Sittler, Tamer), 6:17. 4,
UM, Ward 3 (Wiseman, Tamer),
11:19. 5, UM, Wiseman 11
(Sittler), 15:41.
Third Period: 6, UM, Stiver 22
(Stone, Ouimet), 0:44. 1, Kent,
Sylvester 29 (Purdon, Morin),
1:43. 2, Kent, Fair 6 (pp) (Morin,
Neal), 19:30.
Goalie Saves: UM, Shields (6-7-
2- 15), Loges (x-x-3- 3). Kent,
Shaw (13-13-15-41).
SCORE BY PERIODS
Michigan 616- 13
Ohio State 001- 1
First Period: 1, UM, Ward 4
(Stiver, Ouimet), 0:33.2, UM, Oliver
32 (Stewart,Neaton), 4:48. 3,
UM, Roberts 20, (Stewart,
Oliver) 7:46. 4, UM, Ouimet 13
(Roberts, Halko), 14:29. 5, UM,
Knuble 21 (pp) (Sittler) 18:08.
6, UM, Stewart 17 (Oliver,
Wiseman), 18:39.
Second Period: 7, UM, Neaton
9 (pp) (Oliver, Wiseman), 3:34.
Third Period: 8, UM, Knuble 22
(Roberts, Sacka), 2:47. 9, UM,
Hilton 14 (Oliver), 9:19. 10, UM,
Ouimet 14 (sh) (Stiver, Neaton),
9:54. 11, UM, Sittler 9
(Wiseman), 12:30. 1, OSU, Green
4 (pp) (Peters, Choi), 16:15.
12, UM, Hilton 15 (pp) (Sinclair,
Neaton), 17:21. 13, UM, Willis
12 (Stone, Sacka) 18:28.
Goalie Saves: UM, Shields (4-5-
4- 13). OSU, Slazyk (11-x-x-
11), Askey (x-9-10- 19).

C

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Depth of 'M' roster
)makes for great year

'%- I ----L-...

by Brett Forrest
Daily Hockey Writer
COLUMBUS- It's pretty simple. If a team has an
array of players who can put the biscuit in the oven, that
team probably has the best chance of winning a good
amount of games.
Sure, there is no skater who stands head and shoul-
ders above the rest as the guy who will carry the team,
but that is just one of the prices of winning.
At the outset of this CCHA season, many believed
Michigan would win with a balanced scoring attack.
The Wolverines needed four lines that could do just
about everything - hit, dangle and score. That belief
has come to fruition over the past 35 games. Five play-
ers are on pace to break the 50-point mark, and four
have already cracked the 20-goal plateau.
"Confidence is the key," defenseman Aaron Ward
said. "None of our lines doubts it can score. No line as-
sumes a certain role. There is no stereotype for any of
our lines."
This is a far cry from the makeup of last season's
squad where winger Denny Felsner was the guy. The
team looked to him for the clutch goal, the big play.
Felsner's linemates benefited from his scoring touch,
and it seemed that no matter who he skated with, the
line produced.
The inherent problem with that system of hierarchy
lies in the fact that it becomes a simpler task to shut
down one line rather than two or three. Opposing teams
keyed on Michigan's first line last season and were of-
ten effective at forcing the Wolverines to the brink be-
fore bowing. This year, that has not happened.
"Other teams can't check just one line," right wing
David Oliver said. "And when we get goals from the
fourth line, you can't stop it."
"What's going to carry a team in the playoffs is goal-
tending and depth," center Brian Wiseman stated.
"Teams like to key on one line but who are they going

to key on? A lot of teams will have trouble."
This even distribution should be important in thle
stretch run for Michigan. With most teams, if a top line
or player is shadowed and shut down, that just about
does it.
With Michigan, though, all the film watching and
priming cannot escape the fact that the Wolverines are
balanced through three lines and have a fourth that is
possibly the best fourth line in the nation.
"We never envisioned that it would be this balance(I,
it's crazy. It's going to be important (in the playoff$)
that we don't rely on one line," center Mark Ouimt
said. "It works no matter* what line combinations we
have. We have too many skilled players."
Michigan coach Red Berenson took these skilled
players and swapped them from line to line but now
seems to have settled on steady combinations. They
must be the right threesomes, for in the last seven
games, Michigan has outscored its opponents, 59-13.
Moreover, the Wolverines allowed the fewest goals
and scored the most in the CCHA this season. The
team's power play and penalty killing units also fin-
ished atop the league.
"(Balance) has been important," Berenson said.
"Instead of winning 5-1 or 6-1, it's 8, 9-1. More guys
contribute offensively."
Michigan scored more than ten goals in five games,
more than eight in 10 games - but only had three hat
tricks. The Wolverines scored eight shorthanded goals
from seven different players. Defenseman David
Harlock has two goals and eight assists. Goaltenders
Steve Shields and Chris Gordon even combined for two
assists in one game.
Few teams, if any, across the nation can come close
to matching Michigan's chasm of talent and symmetry
of offense. Who knows, depth and balance such as this
might be able to escort the Wolverines to heights not
seen since 1964, their last national championship.

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