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April 19, 1993 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-19

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Page 16-The Michigan Daly- Monday, April 19,1993
BLUE LINES:
<47 'M ' icers hope to reload, not rebuild

by Brett Forrest
Daily Hockey Writer

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EVAN PETRIE/Daily
Michigan coach Red Berenson will be without the services of center Mark
'Ouimet and his senior classmates next ye ar.
_________

The feeling of renewal upon which many of us
dote this time of the year has not escaped the
Michigan hockey team. True, the Wolverines'
season did end less than three weeks ago.
However, it is time to recover from the heart-
wrenching overtime loss to Maine in the NCAA
semifinals and look ahead to next year.
Six crucial seniors are now gone, off to pursue
other interests. Three-year captain David Harlock,
the anchor of the Michigan blue line, will likely
play for Canada in the Lillehammer Olympics in
January. Last season's leading scorer, David
Roberts, is playing out the year in Europe for the
United States and will attend the St. Louis Blues'
training camp in the fall. Defenseman Pat Neaton
is playing alongside Roberts in Europe and it
looks as if he will soon be sporting the red, white
and blue for coach Tim Taylor's U.S. Olympians.
Center Mark Ouimet, the fastest Wolverine
and second-leading scorer last year, played for the
Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey
League last week and will negotiate with the
Washington Capitals after he gets his degree this
year. Defenseman Chris Tamer will probably be a
Pittsburgh Penguin, if not this season then next.
Winger Dan Stiver, Toronto's 1990 eighth-round
draft choice, will presumably try his luck in the
Leafs' next training camp.
Michigan hockey's 1993 senior class made the
most impact on the program than any other group
in recent memory. Rarely does a team employ six
players with such talent and dedication, let alone
have them all in the same class. The defense
provided by Neaton, Tamer and Harlock helped
make Michigan the national leader in goals
against average. The line of Ouimet, Roberts and
Stiver led the team in goals and was a big reason
why the Wolverines finished second nationally in
goals scored per game.
But the six played their last game at Yost in

March, and their departure leaves a gargantuan
hole on the ice and in the lockerroom.
Coach Red Berenson will have another
outstanding senior class next season, though. Co-
captain forwards Brian Wiseman and Cam
Stewart look primed to have career years. Right
wing David Oliver has the talent and desire to
break Berenson's 31-year-old Michigan single-
season goal-scoring record of 43. These three
should make the BOS line one of the top
combinations in college hockey.
"Cam Stewart is really starting to come into his
own. He never really got his game together until
the second half of this year," Berenson said.
"With Wiseman, I think it could be his year. We
have four good senior forwards."
Goaltender Steve Shields is the top returning
netminder in the nation and needs just eight more
victories to become the all-time winningest goalie
in college hockey. Defenseman Aaron Ward, the
highest NHL draft choice in Wolverine history,
will be the backbone of a weakened defensive
corps and needs to have a career year.
Forward Mike Stone will continue to be the
hardest worker in the CCHA and will do his job
wherever Berenson places him. Backup
goaltender Chris Gordon, a starter on almost any
other college team, should still be the rock
Berenson needs him to be.
The junior and sophomore classes next year
have their share of quality players as well. Current
sophomores Mike Knuble, Rick Willis and Ron
Sacka enjoyed improved seasons last year and
should continue on an upward trend. Freshmen
Steve Halko and Kevin Hilton had outstanding
first seasons in the country's toughest conference
and will be counted upon heavily.
That brings us to incoming players. Although
most of the signings will not be announced until'
later this week, the grapevine has it that Berenson
is bringing in five forwards and two defensemen,;
with the possibility of a third blueliner.

"We have some offensive finesse, some size,
some speed coming in," Berenson said. "You're ,
not going to replace Roberts, Ouimet and Stiver.:
The freshmen will step in and find a role on this
team."
The complexion of the incoming class, which:
looks to be very talented, leads one to believe that:
next year's team will be long on goal-scoring and
short on defense. Out of five returning;.
defensemen on the roster, the team has only two
(Ward and Halko) who played on a regular basis
this past season. This looks to be the trouble spot Y;
for next year, but Berenson has that April @
optimism.
"It will be a real opportunity for the young
defensemen to step up and be counted," Berenson
said. "Ward should be a dominant defenseman.
All the way up, he has played behind our other
defensemen. It should be his year.
"Halko had a tremendous year for a freshman
defenseman. (All five defensemen) have proven "
they can play. I don't think we'll have any trouble
playing six defensemen."
It is time for renewal indeed. The Yost ice will
be given a rest later this month. Soon after,
orientation leaders will begin orienting rosy-
cheeked rookies. Shortly after that, sounds of
hockey practice will emanate from the bowls of:
Yost.
Before you know it, the arena will be filled to:
capacity for a game against Michigan State. The
wheel will continue to spin, pushed by an ever-;
changing group of Wolverines. The icemen will }
cometh.
"I like next year's team already. Your senior
year is always your best year. All six of the
seniors should have their best year. The senior
class, it's going to be their team," Berenson said.
"You're as good as your seniors, not your
freshmen. It will be hard to be better offensively,
and defensively (than last year's team), but I think
we'll be similar."
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