8B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, April 1, 1996
Continued from Page 1B
close to this.
"Not that this is an ego trip for a
coach, but the excitement and
satisfaction is nothing close to it."
: That satisfaction comes from
Berenson's 300 victories, which
transformed a program from ashes
to national champs.
When Berenson took over the
Michigan program in May 1984, he
inherited a 14-win, ninth-place team
that was going nowhere.
And things certainly didn't get better
right away. In Berenson's first three
years behind the Michigan bench, his
teams lost twice the number of games
they won, and never finished higher
than seventh in the CCHA.
The luster of the program that
won more national titles than any
other school was tarnished.
But amid the depression of
losing, Berenson knew that he and
his Wolverines' time would come.
It was just a matter of when.
"When" began to creep forward
as Berenson's teams moved up in
the CCHA totem pole each of the
next few years, going from seventh
place in 1987, to fifth in 1988, to
fourth each of the next two years, to
second in 1991 and then to a current
string of five years yielding four
"There's a lot of things that go
into this program," Berenson said.
Part of those things was the pain
endured by Berenson and his teams
in recent tournament history.
The year 1992 shed the first light
on when that time would come
when Berenson guided Michigan to
the NCAA semifinals before
bowing out to Wisconsin. But in the
three years that followed, Berenson
never got a chance to see any more
of that light despite getting closer
and closer to the end of the tunnel.
It started the following season with
a return trip to the semifinals, which
ended in an overtime loss to Maine -
a team that would appear again in
Berenson's nightmares, two years
later. Last March,
the Black Bears
,a Berenson a most
painful setback -
a 4-3 loss in triple
But that pain
can be overcome
by the desire of
Berenson his players to win:
something that a
player can gain naturally, but can be
enhanced even more by the work of
That desire helped make the day
And when it did, the players
"I love him," a tearful Bill
Muckalt said of Berenson following
the game. "I couldn't ask for a
better coach. It's just so special."
Brendan Morrison, who scored
the goal that gave Michigan the
title, knew how important this win
was for his coach. The champion-
ship, the 300th win, Berenson
seeing his "boys" on top of the
world. This was more than one
season's victory. This was some-
thing a long time coming, especially
"Coach is the happiest guy in the
building right now," Morrison said.
"It's an extra special win for him."
So was it coincidence, fate or
both that Berenson's day came
along with his 300th win - making
him the only Michigan skipper to
reach that plateau ?
Whatever it is, the Wolverines are
as happy for their father figure as
they are for themselves.
"It means a heck of a lot for us to
do it for him," defenseman Blake
Sloan said. The guy has been
around here for umpteen years and
it's a credit to his hard work.
"It's a great accomplishment for
him and I'm thrilled to death to be a
part of giving it to him."
But now that the time has come,
Berenson is as quick to throw the
credit to his players as they are in
giving it to him.
"I'm just so happy for these kids,"
Berenson said. "They've given so
much of themselves for this.
"That's the reward of coaching
The reward is making it to see
"We've worked for that day and
we've earned that day and our day
has come," Berenson said.
Indeed it has.
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d) All the above.
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d) Call a friend collect using 1 800 CALL ATT (you might win the Beverly Hills,
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4. You have to call your parents for money. Select the most appropriate scenario:
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Continued from Page 1B
wing Bill Muckalt said, choking back
tears. "This is a great group of guys."
The game itself was a gem. Both teams
shut the other down for stretches. Both
bounced back. But only one team can
win, and every player knew it before the
In a final that pitted such talented and
equally imipressive teams against each
other, overtime is almost predetermined
- if any team in the world knows that*
"I told them all before the game that
this thing could very well go into over-
time," a jubilant yet reserved Berenson
said, a content smirk crossing his face for
the first time all season. "It can come
down to a mistake, or a break, a good
bounce -and that's what happened."
"I knew we would win it," Morrison
said. "There was no doubt in my mind. It
was our time. It is our time."
It certainly is. Because each of the pas
four seasons have ended with Blue hearts
shattered and the daunting task of sweep-
ing the lifeless pieces off the ice. Former
Wolverines David Oliver, Brian
Wiseman, Mike Knuble and Steve Shields
were never allowed this experience. It's
been more than three decades since any
Wolverine skater has.
"You know what was the difference
this time around?" said fifth-year senio
Sakala, who has had his share of bad
memories and sleepless nights. "Every=
thing. We learned from all of it, every
single defeat. It all made sense this sea-
Thousands of fans sure felt it. They
packed into Riverfront Coliseum like
clowns in a hatchback. Even though there
were some empty seats, the Michigan
contingent had enveloped one end of the
Michigan flags waved back and fort
as Halko raised the trophy. Marty Turco
went to bow to the crowd, in praising
fashion, like they have done to him so
often this season.
Mike Legg even tried to jump into the
stands after his tying goal. Those pesky
boards got in the way.
It was a celebration like no other for
this team - a well-deserved one. To see
gold jerseys spill onto the ice after th
game was wonderful. So many times i
had been the other guys.
"That," Michigan defenseman Blake
Sloan said emphatically, "was the best
experience of my life. I'll never forget
this. I hope nobody ever does."
Hail, hail to Michigan.
The champions of the West.
And the nation.
-John Leroi can be reached over e-
Continued from Page 13
worst for the Wolverines. They fell, 4-3,
to eventual runner-up Maine, in what has
been dubbed the greatest college hockey
game ever. That contest went into three
overtime periods before DanShermerhor
scored on Michigan goaltender Marty
Turco 28 seconds into the third overtime
period, sending the Black Bears to the
final game and Michigan to its bus.
If this year's regular season were any
indication of what the Wolverines'
postseason would be like, they never
would have won yesterday. Michigan
was 0-1-2 in regular-season overtime
games this season, losing to Lake Supe-
rior once and tying Ohio State twice.
But this year's NCAA tournament
proved to be a different story for a few
The Wolverines had one of the tough-
est stretch runs of any team in the nation,
having played five of the best teams in the
country en route to the title.
"Just look at the teams they beat the
past few weeks," Colorado College coach
Don Lucia said after the final. "That's
why they stand as national champions.
(Tonight) they played as good a game a,
they have all season."
Michigan, which has been tradition-
ally known as an offense-minded team,
had one of the best defenses in the nation
this season. Prior to the semifinal round,
Michigan's defense was ranked first in
the nation in scoring defense (2.28) with
the second-best penalty-killing percent-
age (.861) in the nation. Turco had a 2.27
goals-against average, second in the na-
tion in that category. 4
And each individual Wolverine was
more focused and more confident in him-
self and in the team as a whole.
"I'd say the feeling is more confident
in the air than it has been in years past,"
Michigan senior Kevin Hilton said. "In
the past, you could feel some doubt. This
year, everyone is confident.
"I don'tknow (whythat is),but I couldn't
ask for a better way to (have won)."
Whether it was the Wolverines' toug
schedule, defense, confidence or a combi-
nation of the three, they were finally able to
get over the hump and shake the overtime
monkey from their back. The Wolverines
are now the team with the trophy, the cel-
ebration and the welcome-home parties.
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