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November 15, 1993 - Image 14

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6- The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, November 15, 1993

HOCKEY
Continued from page 1
much refereeing by the score,"
Berenson said. "They letalotof things
go, and the kids on the team that is
ahead take an awful beating out there.
I am not saying it is true, but I won't
disagree."
SMichigan managed to work
through the aggressive play on Satur-
day, attempting 44 shots on goal. If
the Flames' net wasjusta little wider,
the margin would have been much
greater, as four shots clanged off of
the pipes.
For the second night in a row, the
Wolverines, came out strong in the
third period, and showed that it is very
difficult for any team to wear them out.
"In the third period we didn't let
up," junior Rick Willis said. "We
took it right to them and scored a
couple more goals. It showed that
we're always fired up out there."
The four points that Michigan
earned over the weekend gives them
11 points in the CCHA, tying them
for second place in the conference
with Bowling Green.

Gordon shows he is
a true team player
By MICHAEL ROSENBERG
DAILY HOCKEY WRITER

91

DOUGLAS KANTER/Daiy

Chris Gordon picked up two victories this weekend, as the Wolverines defeated Western Michigan, 5-3, on Friday
night and Illinois-Chicago, 7-1, on Saturday night. The wins kept Michigan unbeaten with a 7-0-1 record.

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PLAYEOV. F3igh g Insh,

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Enrico Blasi scored two goals as Miami (Ohio)
beat Notre Dame 3-1 Saturday night in a Central
Collegiate Hockey Association game.
Blasi scored first, assisted by Bobby Marshall.
Jason Mallon put Miami (2-4 CCHA, 2-4 overall)
ahead 2-0 with an assist from Kevyn Adams.
Jamie Morshead scored for Notre Dame (2-3-1,
3-3-1) with 66 seconds remaining after the Irish
pulled goaltender Greg Louder for an extra at-
tacker. Blasi made an empty-net goal with 10
seconds remaining. Louter had 34 saves, while
Miami goalie Rich Shulnistra had 27 saves.
Western Michigan 7, Ferris St. 2
Chris Brooks had two goals and three assists as
Western Michigan scored three power-play goals
en route to a 7-2 victory over Ferris State Saturday
night.
The Broncos (2-4 CCHA, 4-4-1 overall) took
command with a four-goal second period to take a
5-1 lead. Brian Gallentine andDerek Innanen scored
early in the period and Mike Whitton and Brooks
scored 10 seconds apart late in the period.
Colin Ward and Brooks added third-period goals,
while Gallentine also had a first-period goal. John
Duff and Val Passarelli scored for the Bulldogs (1-
6, 1-8).
Brian Renfrew made 19 saves for Western.
Rich Nagy made 26 saves in two periods for Ferris
State, while Seth Appert made three saves in the

third period.
Alaska Fairbanks 10, Kent State 5
Trent Shachle scored three goals and Jason
Eckel and Kevin Oakenfold had two apiece as
Alaska Fairbanks beat Kent State 10-5 in CCHA
play Saturday night.
Schachle also got an assist as the Nanooks (2-4
CCHA, 4-5-1 overall) evened the two game series
with Kent State. The Flashes (2-3-1, 3-3-1) won 5-
4 Friday night.

Corey Spring, Cody Bowtell and Warren Carter
each got a goal for Fairbanks.
Kevin McPherson, SamThornbury, MarkDrouin,
Bob Krosky and Dean Sylvester got agoal apiece for
Kent State.
The Nanooks' Brian Fish replaced Larry Moberg
in goal after the second period. Moberg finished
with 15 saves; Fish had 14. Scott Shaw was in the
nets for Kent State and had a busy night, recording
46 saves.

CHICAGO - Imagine spending several years of your life trying to
become the first human being to travel to Mars, but when you finally get there,
you see another person who beat you to the punch. This, one gets the feeling,
is what would happen to Chris Gordon if he attempted such a trip.
Chris Gordon is the best backup goalie in the CCHA, and possibly in
the country. This is his pride. This is his problem. He is the best? He is the
backup. He is the best backup.
Gordon came to Michigan as a hot-shot recruit, fresh off of leading his junior.
team, the Omaha Lancers, to their championship. He played in 17 games as a
Wolverinefreshman,compilinga6-4recordandasolid3.62GAA.Inthe 100-yard
dash that is a collegiate career, Chris Gordon exploded out of the blocks.
Unfortunately, Gordon was in the same race as the Carl Lewis of college
goaltending.
Steve Shields came to Ann Arbor in 1990, the same year as Gordon. Shields
came in after starring for hisjunior team, the same as Gordon. Shields has gone
on to become an All-American. Not like Gordon.
After the 17 appearances in 1990-91, Gordon held out hope that he would
get some quality playing time. However, Shields had played in 37 games that
year, winning the MVP award at the Great Lakes Invitational and helping the 4
team into the NCAA tournament for the first time since Michigan coach Red
Berenson was an NHL player. Gordon had played well, but ... teams do not
play two goalies. Gordon sat on the bench.
Three years later, he still sits there. Coming into this season, Gordon
had a fine 3.66 career GAA in a scant 44 appearances. He had collected a
meager five wins since his rookie year, mostly in mop-up duty.
But if Chris Gordon was going to be mopping up, he was going to mop up
better than anyone else. And so he worked. In practice, mostly. He had faith
that some day, somehow, he would get his chance.
Opportunity knocks in many different ways, and Chris Gordon's chance
came in the form of a Ferris State forward who rolled onto Shields's leg in the
first period of last Saturday's game between the Bulldogs and the Wolverines.
So Gordon stepped in, and Michigan didn't miss a beat. The senior had 54
saves in 58 opportunities in two starts this weekend.
"Chris played exceptionally well," Michigan captain Brian Wiseman said.
I wouldn't even call it a surprise. I think he just wanted his chance to show he's
a bona fide CCHA goalie. We have total confidence in Chris."
The Wolverines have the same confidence in Gordon that they have in a
starting goalie, and for good reason. At most colleges, Gordon would be the
starter. He knows this to be true. People tell him every day.
"I hear that from pretty much everybody," Gordon said. "My family, my
friends, other coaches. They all say thatat any other school I could be starting."
But he is not at another school, and he is not starting. So he has made the
best of the situation. He has kept his mouth shut, worked hard, and helped the
team wherever possible.
"That's really gonna help us down the road, knowing he can step in and play
for us," Berenson said. "He's never given up on himself. One way or another
he never had this thinking that he wouldn't play again."
This has not been easy for Gordon. All athletes are fueled by two desires:
the aspiration to be the best and the will to win. Gordon has shelved the first
and concentrated on the second, and his teammates are grateful.
"All the boys took their hats off to Gordo," Michigan right wing David S
Oliversaid. "The toughestjobin the world is being abackupgoalie. He stepped
into the fire and did the job well."
This is his job. Watch the games, work in practices, and at any moment, get
thrust into the matchup at the most difficult position in hockey. Chris Gordon
has accepted his role. He has thrived in it.

KNUBLE
Continued from page 1
Steve, out of the house. The family
lived in Toronto, so Mike's father
figured the natural thing to do was
to take his sons to the local ice rink
and teach them how to skate and
later, how to play hockey.
At the age of five, Knuble was
placed in an organized league after
his family moved to Grand Rapids.
The boys began to play on a regular
basis and made it an integral part of
their family's life. In fact, the sport
may have been the glue that kept
the family together when tragedy
struck a few years later. Knuble was
only a sophomore in high school
when his father died of a sudden
heart attack at age 45.
"I don't know which way their
lives would have gone if it wasn't

for hockey," Knuble's mother said.
" I can't imagine what would have
happened If we didn't have the
support of the team and the
families. I attribute a lot of their
development as people to hockey."
Knuble was now at a crossroads.
He avoided the lure of junior
hockey, and decided to stick it out
in high school and earn his diploma.
It ended up being a good decision,
because Knuble thoroughly enjoyed
his senior year and the opportunity
to join the K-Wings was still a
viable option after graduation.
"I wouldn't trade my high
school memories for anything,"
Knuble said. "I still keep in contact
with members of my senior class."
Knuble's friendships have also
blossomed with the players in his
college class since they came
together in the fall of 1991. Rick
Willis, Al Loges, Alan Sinclair,

Mark Sakala, Ron Sacka and Tim
Hogan are all good friends who rely
on each other on and off the ice.
"As far as hockey goes, Mike is
a very talented individual," Hogan
said. "He is a great team player. I
have no negatives to say about him.
He's just a great guy."
While the current junior class
has developed into a solid group,
Berenson did not know what to
expect from them when they arrived
in 1991. It was a very large class
and many of the players came with
high expectations. Both Knuble and
Hogan were both earned honorable
mention on the CCHA All-Rookie
team, but the veterans were not
initially impressed with the rookies.
After all, the 1990 class featured the
likes of Brian Wiseman (CCHA
freshman of the year), David Oliver
(CCHA All-Rookie team), and
goalie Steve Shields (third in the
nation in victories as a freshman).
However, when Knuble and
company became sophomores they
too showed that they belonged at
Michigan.
"Knuble was rough around the
edges," Shields said. "His skating
was a little suspect. I think practice
has a lot to do with his
improvement. He practices with
sort of a fever and he takes the rest
of the team with him."
Those practice habits, which
Knuble prides himself on, led to an
outstanding sophomore season.
Early in the 1992-93 season,
Knuble scored five goals in two
games against Ferris State and was
named CCHA player of the week.

I I

"It was nice to get off to a great
start in the CCHA," Knuble said. "I
really didn't expect it, the puck was
just going like crazy."
He finished seventh on the team
in scoring with 42 points (26 goals,
16 assists) and ranked 11th in the
nation and second on the team with
11 power play goals. In postseason
action, Knuble tallied seven points
in five games.
After his freshman season,
Knuble took some time off to relax
before refocusing on hockey. He
drew on the people closest to him to
help gain the confidence necessary
to compete at Michigan and in the
entire nation.
Knuble has been very lucky to
have a large number of people around
to support him and his talent. Mrs.
Knuble travels to Ann Arbor,
Kalamazoo, Big Rapids and Detroit
to see her son play. While Knuble's
brother is ajunior at Michigan State,
he doesn't let the heated rivalry come
between his family.
"When people ask him who he is
rooting for, he says, 'I go to State,
but I'd rather see my brother and
his team do well,"' Knuble said. " I
guess blood is thicker than your ties
to your school."
Next in Mike's fan club is Judi
Maki. While in Kalamazoo with the
K-Wings, Knuble developed a
relationship with Maki and
describes her as a "second mom."
Maki housed Knuble during that
season and eased his transition from
a dependent lifestyle to an
independent one. Knuble keeps in
close contact with Maki throughout
the year.
Knuble said that it was difficult,
"just being away from home. She
(Maki) made life tons easier for me.
I love her to death;"
Although the advice and comfort
of parental figures and siblings are

important, it is helpful to have
friends as well. Knuble largely
feeds off the friendship of the
players on the team with whom he
began his Michigan career. He lives
in the shadows of Yost Ice Arena
with Willis, Loges and Sacka.
"You're closest with the guys in
your class and the guys you live
with," Knuble said. "That comes
from living a year together in the
dorms, hanging out all the time and
helping each other with the
adjustment to college."
It is not only his friends and
teammates that respect his abilities.
Players and coaches around the
country are beginning to realize that
the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior is a
threat whenever he gets the puck.
"Mike Knuble could have the
quickest release in the league," said
Western Michigan goalie Brian
Renfrew after Knuble burned him
for two goals Friday night in
Michigan's 6-3 victory.
Once again, this comes from
Knuble's desire for consistent
improvement. He explains his
innate skill by saying, "When you
play against a goalie everyday (like
Shields) he gets to know your
shooting motion real well. It is up to
you to practice and get a quicker
shot and a quicker release. It is
almost easier to score in a game."
Knuble frightens opponents
most when he is on the power play.
Thus far this season he has nine
points and five goals with the man
advantage. It is his style of play that
aids him on the power play unit.
Knuble, similarly to fellow forward
Oliver, "does not shoot for
rebounds." Both players stated that
they push each other to improve
their shooting skills and both have
benefited from their friendly
competition.
"He's (Knuble) been firing the

puck harder than I have ever seen
him and that just comes from
practice," Oliver said. "Nobody on
our team tries harder than 'Nubes."'
It is hard to imagine someone as
calm and friendly as Knuble being
one of the spark plugs at practice.
Part of this is seen in his intense
work ethic, but it is not just hockey
that gets Knuble fired up. If you
need to find Knuble on a spring
afternoon, he would probably be on
the golf course, schedule
permitting:Knuble is an avid
golfer, averaging scores in the high
70s to mid 80s. He takes golf as
seriously as he takes hockey.
"I take it seriously out there,"
Knuble said. "I play in flip flops, but I
don't mess around on the course."
Knuble has overcome a major
tragedy and has become an
important member of the Michigan
hockey team. Like everyone else, he
experienced growing pains, but
overcame them and through
practice and hard work has made
his life a success story.
As a fourth-round draft choice
of the Detroit Red Wings in 1991, a
pro career may be in the cards for
Knuble. For now, he is thinking
only of his duties as a Wolverine.
His junior season has gotten off to a
fast start and Berenson and the
entire team expect him to continue
improving. With his senior season
still a distant vision, Knuble has the
time, the talent and the work ethic
to become one of the nation's most
potent weapons.
"When you get to this level, if
you want to move on its got to
come from within," Knuble said.
"Nobody's going to make you get
on the bike or lift weights over the
summer. If you don't do it, you're
just going to be behind."
It is fair to say that Mike Knuble
has stayed ahead of the pack.

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