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September 03, 1996 - Image 74

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-03

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8F - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 3, 1996


Out of

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No better
felzg for
CINCINNATI - Hail to the victors
a valiant.
The tune resounded like never
before through Riverfront Coliseum.
-The boys won the national champi-
Zonship. Could there ever be a better
,reason to sing?
' If you're a Michigan hockey fan,
there is no better feeling than seeing
Wolverine captain Steven Halko raise
that trophy high above his head.
Well, maybe Brendan Morrison
high-stepping like Desmond Howard
behind the Colorado College net was
pretty nice, too.
Or how about the two piles that
gathered at either end of the ice? Even
better, there was Michigan coach Red
Berenson, the man who took the
Michigan program from CCHA door-
mat to national powerhouse, weeping
at the red line.
The 3-2 overtime victory gave him
his only national title - Michigan's
first since 1964 - but it was also his
300th career coaching victory. How else
could have the victory tasted so sweet?
"I still can't believe it," Halko said.
"I can't describe the feeling. This is
great, we're national champs."
Hail to the conquering heroes.
And they overcame a lot. Early exits
the past four years, overtime games
tthat lasted forever, shots that rattled off
.posts like a bad nightmare.
But now, that has all changed. The
1996 Michigan hockey team has given
"the University its eighth championship
- more than any other school - and
in thrilling fashion.
"I just jumped over the boards,"
junior left wing John Madden said. "I
think I fell flat on my back. That ice
never felt so good, though."
Hail, hail to Michigan, the leaders
land the best.
Senior leadership played no small
role in the Wolverines' championship
run. Halko, Kevin Hilton, John Arnold
and Mark Sakala did not leave Ann
Arbor without the feeling of tossing
their body carelessly into their closest
friends, heart racing, mind clear of
everything but the euphoria of winning
as those before them, equally deserv-
ing, were forced to do.
"I don't even remember it right now,"
-Morrison said of his championship
,goal. "I can't describe the feeling, but
it's the best I've ever felt - ever."
"I'm just so proud to be a part of
-this team," sophomore right 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.
In a final that pitted such talented
,and equally impressive teams against
each other, overtime is almost prede-
termined - if any team in the world
knows that, Michigan does.
"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 on 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

past four seasons have ended with
Blue hearts shattered and the daunting
task of sweeping 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 30
years since any Wolverine skater has.
"You know what the difference was
this time around?" said fifth-year senior
Sakala, who has had the bad memories
and sleepless nights. "Everything. We
learned from all of it, every single
defeat. It all made sense this season."
Thousands of fans felt it. They
packed into Riverfront Coliseum like
clowns in a hatchback. Even though
there were some empty seats, Michigan
had one end of the arena.
Michigan flags waved as Halko
raised the trophy. Marty Turco bowed to
the crowd, in praising fashion, as they
have done to him so often this season.
Mike Legg even tried to jump into

With one title, Berenson
and team look to take 2

By John Leroi
Daily Sports Editor
Boston University has something Red Berenson
Sure, Michigan throttled the Terriers, holding the
nation's most prolific offense scoreless in the
NCAA semifinals, on the way to the Wolverines'
first national title since 1964.
But there's something else.
In 1996 the Wolverines proved they could win
the close games - the ones that go into overtime
- instead of missing chances. They proved they
could beat the teams they were supposed to beat,
and hold one-goal leads for a

They even proved the doubters
wrong when they snapped an
NCAA overtime jinx, with a 3-2
extra-period win over Colorado
College. So much for not being
able to win the big game.
The Wolverines took home the
trophy in one of the most competitive

on et."
- Brenda

last season and they just may finish 1-2-3 this year.
Muckalt came on last season as one of the best
snipers in the nation, and Botterill, who decided not
to take his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame to the NHL,
is one of the most talented Wolverines, when he's
not in the penalty box.
Then there is senior center/wing John Madden,
whose speed and tenacity propelled him to lead the
country in short-handed goals. Along with 206-
pound right wing Warren Luhning, that gives the
Wolverines five players who scored 50 points or
more last year.
Senior Mike Legg, who is more famous for his
lacrosse-like shot from behind
the net in the NCAA tournament
WOrk against Minnesota, would be the
marquee player on any other
CCHA team. He scored 40
n Morrison points last year and should do at
least as well this season.
gan center Even junior Matt Herr came
on strong last year, especially in
February, notching more than 30
points while playing on the first line.
Sophomore Bobby Hayes proved he was as tena-
cious, scrappy and dependable as the departing
John Arnold, but with much more talent. And if fel-
low sophomore Greg Crozier develops like Beren-
son thinks he can - the lanky wing was one of the
Wolverines best players in the playoffs - he will
take one step closer to becoming Michigan's
Sophomore Dale Rominski brings consistency in
scoring and forechecking, and with Justin Clark
and Sean Ritchlin coming back from injuries, there
will be two more big bodies on the ice.
Defensively, Michigan must deal with the loss of
its most dependable blueliner - Halko. But last
year's captain took then-freshman Bubba Beren-
zweig under his wing, turning him into a solid stay-
at-home defenseman.
Seniors Harold Schock and Blake Sloan return as
the Wolverines' top defenders. Both have the skills
to stay with any forward in the country and are the

seasons of college hockey in recent memory, but
they still haven't done what BU did in 1971 and
1972 - win two straight championships.
If you thought expectations around Ann Arbor
were high the last four or five years, this season is
going to bring a whole new level of pressure.
Another championship for Berenson?
"We'll work on it," said senior center Brendan
Of course Morrison is the man with the magic
stick who found a bouncing puck in front of Col-
orado College netminder Ryan Bach and banged it
into a wide-open net three minutes into overtime.
He is the man who led the nation in scoring as a
sophomore and would have again, had he not
missed eight games with two injuries. He was a
Hobey Baker Award finalist two years running and
is far and away the preseason favorite to win it this
Quite frankly, much of the Wolverines' success
this year will rest firmly on Morrison's capable
shoulders. It is not so much the
scoring burden that Morrison,
this season's captain, will have to
handle, but he must show that hep
can lead the team the way former Top
captain Steven Halko did - Perfrm
with. strength and stability.
If anyone can carry on Halko's ; e,'
legacy, Morrison is a good
choice. The two share a similar
personality: clean-cut, intelligent
and hard-working. Both carry
soft voices when speaking to the
media after the games. Neither
seems terribly interested in see- k
ing his name in print.,
They see wearing the "C" on
their chest as a responsibility, not
a reward. And make no mistake,
on and off the ice, with just his
teammates, Morrison, like
Halko, is very vocal. He leads by
example and his knowledge of
the game is surpassed by no one.3
"It's like having another coach
on the ice," Berenson said.
One thing Morrison won't
have to worry about is rebuilding
the team. The Wolverines have,
bought into Berenson's new
patient, defensive style of hock-
ey - a strategy that won them a
national crown. And with this
bunch, scoring will certainly not
be a problem.
Michigan loses only one
offensive star this season: Kevin
Hilton, who led the Wolverines
in scoring in Morrison's absence :
and then quietly went on to lead
the CCHA in scoring as well.
However, the Wolverines han-
dled similar departures in the
past. When Mike Knuble left

CCHA Player
of the Year
Won Michigan
team scoring


top two returning scoring
Here's where Berenson
may start to worry. While
Berenzweig, Sloan and
Schock are probably three of
the top 10 defensemen in the
CCHA, it may be difficult to
find three more.
Senior Chris Frescoln
showed late in the year that he
is the best candidate to be
Michigan's fourth blueliner.
However, Frescoln is still a
little shaky handling the puck,
and occasionally takes bad
penalties without becoming
the enforcer that usually fol-
lows that label.
If Berenson doesn't find
one or two quality players in
this year's freshman class,
juniors Peter Bourke and
Chris Fox will be the other
two defenders. Both spent
considerable time rotating in
and out of the lineup.
At best, the pair was mod-
erately successful, but a team
can't afford to have mistakes
from its defensemen. Fox and
Bourke should improve,
knowing that the jobs are
theirs to lose, but look for at
least one and probably two
freshmen to break into the

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Writer
CINCINNATI - Red Berenson's wait is over.
"Our time will come" is the message inscribed on
a memento that sits on the Michigan hockey
coach's desk.
After 12 years and an even 300 victories at the
helm of the Wolverine ship, Berenson's time has,
indeed, finally come.
Anyone who saw the Michigan coach before that
game, and then again, following the win, knew
something was different. Something special.
As Berenson walked across the ice to greet his
players, he pumped both fists in the air and donned
an ear-to-ear smile. Later, he broke down into tears
of elation. Both expressions are precious sights if
you know the usually emotionless Berenson.
And the wait for that day may go further back
than Berenson's first coaching days Ann Arbor. His
career has taken him through his days as an All-
American in the early 1960s for Michigan, followed
by a 17-year NHL tour, which included a Stanley
Cup ring as a player, and Coach-of-Year honors
with the St. Louis Blues in 1981.
"There is nothing like this," he said at the
postgame press conference. "Not that this is an ego
trip for a coach, but the excite-
ment and satisfaction is nothing
close to it."
That satisfaction comes
from Berenson's 300 victo-
ries that transformed a pro-
gram from ashes to national
When Berenson took over
the Michigan program in May
1984, he inherited a ninth-
place team 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 place in the CCHA.
The luster of the program with
more national titles than any other
was tarnished.
But amid the depression of los-
ing, Berenson knew that he and=
his Wolverines' time would come.
It was just a matter of when.
The year 1992 shed the first light

File poto
Michigan defeated Miami (Ohio), 3-0, in CCHA play at Yost lee Arena last season. Michigan has led the
CCHA in recent years. y
His time finally came-
Beroenson wins 300th gfameM

on when that time would come when Berenson guid-
ed Michigan to the NCAA semifinals before bowing
out to Wisconsin. But in the three years that followed,
Berenson never got to see any more light.
It started the following season with a return trip to
the semifinals, which ended in an overtime loss to
Maine. Last year, the Black Bears handed the
Wolverines and Berenson a most painful setback
a 4-3 loss in triple overtime.
But that pain can be overcome by the desire of
players to win: something a player can gain natu-
rally, but can be enhanced by a coach.
That desire helped make the day come. And
when it did, the players knew why.
"I love him," a tearful Bill Muckalt said -of
Berenson following the game. "I couldn't ask for a
better coach."
Brendan Morrison knew how important the Win
was for his coach. The championship, the 300th
win, Berenson seeing his "boys" on top of
world. This was more than one season's victory
"Coach is the happiest guy in the building-right
now," Morrison said. "It's an extra special wir for
The Wolverines are as happy for their fatherlfig-
ure as they are for themselves.
"It means a heck of a lot for us to do it for hubh,"
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 forAo
and 1I
thrilled 'to
death tb be
a part"' of
giving it'to
But "now
that the time has
come, Berensn. is
quick to throw - the
credit to his players.
"I'm just so happy:
these kids," Berensoh
said. "They've given -so
much of themselves for
"That's the reward of
coaching college heck-
The reward was making it
to see that day.

Lea i"ig" lineup.
in goals scored Between the pipes, junior
Marty Turco is all the Wolver-
ines could hope for. Turco fol-
lowed his outstanding fresh-
man season with a solid
sophomore campaign, and he
kept Michigan in playoff
games against Minnesota and Colorado College,
sandwiched around a great performance in the
shutout against Boston.
Turco, an All-CCHA candidate, has a very capa-
ble backup in junior Greg Malickee, who was bril-
liant during his short term in goal.

before last season, others picked up the slack. Even
with Hilton's loss, the Wolverines should be the
strongest offensive team in the nation.
The potent line of Morrison, junior Bill Muckalt
and senior bruiser Jason Botterill remains intact. All
three ranked in the top five in scoring in the league

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