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October 31, 1994 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-31

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6- The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, October 31, 1994

Special teams depleted by injuries

Becoming a bad habit:

Daily Hockey Writer
BIG RAPIDS - Mike Knuble
will undergo tests at 4 p.m. today and
he is 99 percent sure that the results will
clear him to play in this weekend's
homestand with Ohio State and Lake
Superior State.
Knuble practiced with the team
Thursday, then rode the bicycle for 45
minutes. Friday, hepracticed with those
players who did not make the road trip,
although he did travel to Big Rapids.
Meanwhile, Knuble replacement,
sophomore Warren Luhning, left af-
ter the first period of Friday's night's
game with bruised ribs. Suffered last
Saturday, the injury has progressively
worsened; he reaggrevated it during a
power play the in the first period. Al-
though Luhning returned for a shift in
the third period, he, not the puck, went
into the net, forcing him to leave the ice
for good.
"I wouldn't be able to help the team
if I were out there," Luhning said hum-
bly, stressing how frustrated he is not
being able to play.
In three games this season, Luhning
has notched three goals and two assists.
In addition to his duties at right wing,
he plays the slot on the top power-play
Luhning was to undergo x-rays yes-
terday to target the problem.
verines have signed a highly touted
recruit. Greg Cozier verbally commit-
ted to Michigan last week after visiting
Ann ArborforMichigan's series against
Colorado College. Crozier, a 6-3 1/2,
190-pound senior at Lawrence Acad-
emy, chose Michigan out of a deep
pool of choices which included
Harvard, Boston University, Michigan
State and Denver.
In 20 games last season, Crozier
scored 22 goals and recorded 26 as-
sists. Speaking of the third-round pick
by the Pittsburgh Penguins in lastJune's
NHL Draft, Lawrence coach Charlie
Corey told the Ann Arbor News: "He
hasn't even begun to fllout. He goes to
open spaces well, he explodes to the
puck well. He creates so many oppor-
tunities with his size, speed, and reach.'
The verbal commitment is not a
binding accord until he signs his letter
of intent in November. Cozier knows a
lot about Michigan hockey -he lives on
the same street as former Wolverine
Ryan Sittler in East Amherst, N.Y.

IN THE BOX: After the 20 penalties
handed out to them in their contest with
York University, the Wolverines had
slim pickings to execute special teams
play because of so many coincidental
After going 0-for-4 in its first
game against Colorado College,
Michigan rebounded to score three
power play goals in nine opportuni-
ties the next night. Friday, Ferris's
special teams outchanced and
outscored the Wolverines (the Bull-
dogs went 2-for-6 on the power play
and held Michigan to 1-for-7). To

that point, Michigan had killed off
all 20 of its opponents' power plays.
Michigan coach Red Berenson and
several Michigan players indicated how
large role special teams played in their
tumultuous effect. Saturday, though,
the Wolverines were 3-for-8 while
Ferris was a dismal 0-for-8, but did
continue to take a few unnecessary
behind-the-play penalties.
A NEw BEGINNING: Friday's 3-2 loss
to Ferris State was the first time Michi-
gan lost a CCHA opener since the
1991-92 campaign when it lost to
Michigan State, 5-3, in East Lansing.

Mchigan splits agai
Daily Hockey Writer
BIG RAPIDS - A banana split is a treat, an indulgence if you will.
A split in general is a painful-looking 70's dance move.
But a split for the Michigan hockey team is a disappointment.
Granted, the Wolverines were on the road in the hollows of Ewigleben Ice
Arena, home of the Ferris State Bulldogs. Road philosophy dictates that a split is
'acceptable' away from home.
"On the road, a split isn't so bad, but for Michigan it is bad," a sidelined Mike
Knuble said.
But what is the excuse for last weekend's split against Colorado College? The
Tigers, then No.5, are the reigning WCHA Champions and granted, a formidable
opponent. The Wolverines played lackluster hockey that Friday, saying they
needed a night to readjust their game to cope for the loss of Knuble, their top right
wing. Michigan rebounded from a 7-4 loss to the Tigers, winning, 5-4, in what
would have been convincing fashion had it not needed a last-second rescue.
"Anytime you lose a game, the next night you're going to come out harder,"
defenseman Harold Schock said. "You expect that out of yourselves and your


teammates. We have a lot of pride in our locker room."
In order to achieve respect and maintain the quality of the reigning CCHA
Champions' 27-2-1 program, this year's team will have to win its next 24 games.
Let me reiterate that - its next twenty four games.
"We're not going to just walk into these rinks and (opponents) are just going
to roll over," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "Every weekend is going to be
like this weekend-we can be beaten or we might win or wemight split the series.
Overall, you'd have to look back and say, 'Well, it's a lot better than what could
have happened."'
At this rate, the Wolverines will finish one game over .500, thanks to their 8-
0 romp over York, Oct. 14. But that's too far off for projections.
Michigan's lone excuse at this point in time is its lack of depth. There is little
opportunity to overcome this obstacle right now because of the severe depletion
of right wings. Michigan only has 13 forwards, two of which were sidelined most
of the weekend, and being on the road, it had no additional resources to tap.
Michigan dressed 12 forwards each night, but essentially played only 11. Top
right wing Warren Luhning left Friday's game after the first period with a nagging
rib injury, and defenseman Peter Bourke dressed Saturday for his first game this
season, but only played one shift late in the game when Michigan was up, 6-1.
Bourke was listed on the roster as aleft wing, but played that shift on right defense.
"We have to mix it up a bit to find a combination that can win. Last night's
lineup couldn't do it," Knuble said before Saturday's rebound performance.
Saturday's lineup card depicted anumberof changes. Jason Botterill, anatural
left wing, played onthe right side of thetop line. Captain Rick Willisplayedon two
lines, which tallied eight points. He skated with usual linemates Ron Sacka and
John Arnold, and double-shifted with freshmen Robb Gordon and Bill Muckalt.
"The overall team effort was better tonight," Willis said. "People came
prepared to play tonight whereas they didn't last night."
These new combinations were a slight improvement. So far this season, the
Wolverines are on track with scoring, matching their previous mark of an average
five goals per game last season.
Michigan outshot Ferris 38-28 on Friday and 30-22 Saturday. Against
Colorado College, the Wolverines put 10 more shots on net than did the Tigers
in another rebound victory.
Yet, these statistics are only encouraging on paper.
"We don't expect to split," Knuble added. "We want four points."
If Michigan expects to earn four points on a given weekend, it must focus on
playing solid defense.
"All of our 'D' can play," said defenseman Mark Sakala, whose play this weekend
marks his first ice time this year. "It's really competitive back there for us. On any given
night, certain 'D' can step up and do just as good ajob as anyone else."
If that is true, the Wolverine 'D' has yet to live up to expectations. All nine
defensemen returned this season, welcoming the addition of freshman Chris Fox,
and Michigan has yet to find the right pairings, with the exception of Steven Halko
and Blake Sloan. The cries for blue-line heroics are now echoing in the heads of
Michigan's defense. Unlike the forwards, they have a pool to choose from and
even with lineup changes, hope is dwindling.
Schock, paired up mostoflast season and this one withTim Hogan, skated with
Sakala and Sloan, while Hogan sat out on a Berenson-imposed academic proba-
tion. Chris Frescoln played Saturday as Fox, who was benched in the third period
Friday along with Alan Sinclair after the two gave up a breakaway goal, sat out.
"Our biggest opponents are ourselves and that's the biggest thing right now,"
Sloan said. "If we come out and play our game, there is no team in this league
that's going to beat us."
But who is going to play in that game?

Freshman forward Bill Muckalt and the Michigan hockey team split their first two conference games of the season.

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