The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition-Sports - Thursday, September 9, 1993 - Page 7
Berenson right man
rceh the brink for the second straight year
by Chad A. Safran
Daily Hockey Writer
For the Michigan hockey team, the
9992-93 season was greeted with high
Led by one of the strongest defen-
sive corps in the nation, goalie Steve
Shields and a high-powered offense,
coach Red Berenson called his club
"the best team" in his nine years at the
helm of the Wolverines.
Berenson's team had possibly its
best season in his nine years. The team
won 30 games, led the nation in goals-
against-average and was rated one of
the top five teams in the nation for the
entire season. Yet, the ultimate goal, an
NCAA title, was not achieved.
The Wolverines (30-7-2 overall)
je their talent to gain a berth in the
CAA semifinals against the Maine
Black Bears at Milwaukee's Bradley
Center. Maine (42-1-2) entered the game
ranked No. 1 in the Albany Times-
AnionTop Ten for all but the first week
of the season when Michigan opened
the yearas the top squad. Maine came in
to the matchup having dropped only
one contest, a7-6 overtime defeatat the
bimnds of Boston University in Febru-
The Wolverines were on an emo-
tional high entering the game following
their thrilling4-3overtime triumphover
Visconsin in the NCAA quarterfinals
at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. David
Roberts scored at 1:35 of the extra ses-
sion to send Michigan on a trip to Mil-
waukee. It was the second consecutive
year that Michigan won in overtime at
eJoe to earn a trip to the national
1mifinals. buring the 1992 tournament,
the WolverinestoppedNorthern Michi-
Although Michigan and Maine
played April 1, the game proved to be
anything but a joke. The Wolverines,
playing their best hockey of the season,
jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals
ftom forwards David Oliver and David
Roberts and took a2-1 leadinto the first
However, the Black Bears tied the
score at two early on in the second
stanza. Then, junior defenseman Aaron
Ward notched his fifth tally of the sea-
son, apower-play goal on a two-on-one
with forward Cam Stewart, giving
Miichigan its final lead for the season, 3-
2. The Wolverines were 24-0 entering
the third period with a lead while the
Black Bears had never trailed entering
Sometimes statistics lie. This was
one of those times when the truth would
have been better.
Michigan became conservative in
its style, amassing only three shots in
the final period, compared to 15 for
Maine. The Black Bears tied the game
in the final five minutes ofregulation on
Cil Ingraham's second of the game.
e game went to overtime, but not
before the Wolverines managed three
solidchances on netminderGarth Snow.
"It was pretty apparent that the mo-
mentum was in Maine's favor from the
third period on," Berenson said. "We
needed to take them out of the game,but
we couldn't do it."
Then the extra session arrived. So
did the 1:36 mark. The time that will
stay in the minds of the players forever.
Bat is when Maine defenseman Lee
Siunders scored his seventh goal of the
season, sending the Wolverines on a
return flight to Ann Arbor.
"Give Maine a lot of credit,"
Berenson said. "They kept coming at us
when we're down and they showed that
they deserve to be No.1." Maine went
on to win the school's first national title
in any sport with a 6-5 triumph over
ending national champion Lake Su-
for the job once more
by Brett Forrest
Daily NSE Editor
It is a given in sports that teams cannot stay on the top for long. Red
Berenson's Michigan hockey team resided close to the pinnacle the past two
seasons and now the coach faces a dilemma--how to stay close to that level
Berenson was originally hired to bring glory back to a Wolverine hockey
program mired in a malaise. The Michigan hockey team was once the most
feared squad in the land, winning the first NCAA championship in 1948 and
six of the first nine titles.
Since the team's last national championship in 1964, Michigan reached
the final game just once, losing to Wisconsin in 1977. In May-of 1984,
Berenson took over the reins of a club that had endured two straight ninth
place finishes in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Berenson was the chosen man - the right man - to lead the Michigan
hockey team back to national prominence. He was a successful player in
college and in the NHL. He was a winning coach in the NHL. Most
importantly, though, Berenson was a Michigan man and he cared about his
As a player, Berenson earned All-American honors as ajunior and senior
at Michigan and still owns the school record for most goals in a season with
43 in 1962. He was the first player to step out of college and go directly into
the NHL, playing his last college game and his first NHL tilt on the same day.
Berenson won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1965 and
played in the original Canada Cup series for Team Canada versus the Soviet
Union. He also shares the modern-day NHL record for most goals in a game,
with six in a 1968 contest.
He played for Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour, the NHL's winningest
coaches ever. As a coach, Berenson guided the St. Louis Blues to the best
record in club history in 1980-81, earning the Jack Adams Trophy as the
NHL's coach of the year.
So he has a lengthy hockey resume. Red played 17 seasons in the show
and if anyone knows what it takes to succeed in the game of hockey, he knows.
Berenson's journey to success behind the Michigan bench has been a
methodical, plodding one. It took his team four seasons to have a winning
record. It was seven years before his team earned a berth in the NCAA
tournament. But each edition of Berenson's Wolverines has shown improve-
ment upon the prior set.
In 1990, the squad just missed out on an NCAA berth. In 1991, the team
earned its first NCAA invitation since 1977 and won a first-round series
against Cornell. In 1992, the Wolverines returned to the NCAA post-season
tournament and this time made their way to the semifinal round before
bowing to Wisconsin.
Last season, it looked as if the team was right on schedule. If it followed
the apparent plan then it would end up in college hockey's final game. This
was not be, however, as Michigan ran into a powerful Maine squad that
dispatched the Wolverines in overtime in the semifinals.
Now, Berenson may face a challenge more difficult than any he has faced
in his college coaching career.
His teams the past two seasons certainly did their school proud in reaching
the final four of college hockey. However, in the past two graduations,
Berenson lost Denny Felsner (now a St. Louis Blue and wearing Red's old
number), Mike Helber (now playing professionally in Europe) and David
Roberts (probably a pro next year with St. Louis).
He also will have to do without the services of Chris Tamer (most likely
a Pittsburgh Penguin in the fall), David Harlock (surely an Olympian in
1994), Pat Neaton (likely an Olympian) and Mark Ouimet (doubtless an
American Hockey League player next season).
Next year's senior class is a great one as well, with four excellent
forwards, the team's best defenseman and one of the finest goaltenders in the
country. After that, though, there is a drop-off in high-caliber players.
Berenson's recruiting classes have been strong the past three seasons, but
they dim in comparison to the past three senior classes.
What will Berenson do to keep his team atop the game? Perhaps he and
Michigan basketball coach Steve Fisher should hold a summit. Both teams
reached the edge of greatness the past two seasons but their predicted
dynasties are effectively finished before they ever started.
Now, for Berenson, it is time to regroup in a way. As former defenseman
Neaton said, "We've done a lot, we've accomplished a lot. But we've never
won the CCHA championship. We went to the final four, but we never won
Berenson has shown by leading his program out of the doldrums that he
is a top-flight coach and leader. But now he must somewhat start anew -
without ever having hung any banners at Yost. Many believed last year to be
Michigan's best and last - at least for a while - chance at an NCAA title.
"This is the best team I've had at Michigan," Berenson said the past two years.
With Felsner, Roberts, Neaton, Tamer and Harlock pursuing other interests,
Berenson must almost start from scratch to again create a contender:
His task is a stem one, but hey, he's done it before.
Senior center Mark Ouimet celebrates his first period goal against Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena Jan. 30. The
Wolverines handed MSU coach Ron
perior April 3.
Despite the loss, Oliver was not sure
Maine was the best in the country.
"It proved that Maine's not better
than us," Oliver said. "They just got the
last shot. All I'm going to remember
from this season is that Maine got the
Although, Oliver may not want to
remember anything from the season,
the Wolverines accomplished much,
including afifth consecutive GreatLakes
Invitational Championship with a win
over Northern Michigan.
Coach Red Berenson won his 200th
career game in a 13-1 drubbing of Ohio
State in the final game of the regular
Roberts finished second on the
Michigan career scoring list and first in
assists. The senior forward led the Wol-
verines in scoring with 65 points and
was one of five players with 50 or more
points. The others were Mark Ouimet,
Oliver, Stewart and Brian Wiseman.
Nine players topped 30 points, includ-
ing freshmen Ryan Sittler and Kevin
Hilton. The offense was second in the
nation in scoring, averaging over six
goals a game -just behind Maine.
However, it was the defense and
goaltending thatwere Michigan's stron-
gest points throughout the season, al-
lowing more than three goals only six
times. The Wolverines were the top
defensive team in the nation. Goalie
Steve Shields posted a goals-against-
average of just over two and had two
Mason the worst defeat during his years in East Lansing, winning 11-1.
shutouts. For his efforts, Shields was
honored with the Central Collegiate
Hockey Association (CCHA) Goalie of
the Year Award and was named to the
conference first team.
Shields also garnered second team
All-American honors. Wolverine
defenseman Pat Neaton, who posted
the league's topplus-minus rating (+39),
earned aspoton the CCHAfirst-teamas
The loss of six seniors, including
three on defense; captain David Harlock,
Chris Tamer and Neaton, will hurt the
team next season. The trio provided
steady play throughout the year. Tamer
set a new Michigan career record for
penalty minutes in his four seasons
wearing the maize and blue sweater.
The six departing Wolverines have
bright futures. Roberts is regarded by
many to be a lock to be playing for the
St. Louis Blues in theNHLnextseason.
Tamer will be at the Pittsburgh Pen-
guins' training camp and surely will
make an impact with some team.
Harlock and Neaton both look good to
be playing for their respective Olympic
teams in Lillehammer in January.
Ouimet played a game for the Wash-
ington Capitals' farm team, the Balti-
more Skipjacks, after the season and
will probably have a job next year.
Winger Dan Stiver's NHL rights are
owned by the Toronto Maple Leafs and
he will likely attend their training camp
in the fall. The contribution this class
made was a big reason why Michigan
was in the semifinal round in the past
twoNCAAtournaments. The complex-
ion of the team will have to change
drastically next year.
Shields, however, will be back be-
tween the pipes as he attempts to break
the NCAA record for career victories
(he is 8 shy of the mark). Despite the
loss of Stiver, Roberts and Ouimet, the
offenseremains solid. Oliver, Wiseman
and Stewart will give Michigan one of
the top lines in college hockey as the trio
skates in front of the hockey fanatics at
Yost Ice Arena.
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