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January 27, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-27

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - January 27, 1997

Hocia~y

Defense locks down Redskins

By Dan Stilman
Daily Sports Writer
Miami (Ohio) forwards Randy
Robitaille and Tim Leahy had been on
fire all season - until this weekend.
The Wolverines shut down the
Redskins' best players both nights in
every phase of the game.
Coming into this weekend's series,
Leahy was fourth in the country in goals-
per game (0.87) and Robitaille was 14th
(0.74).
Leahy was also ranked seventh
nationally in power-play goals with
eight. But most impressive has been
Leahy's knack for timely scoring. The
junior leads the NCAA with seven
game-winning goals.
But when the final buzzer sounded
Saturday night, Leahy and Robitaille had
nothing to show for the weekend - no
goals, no assists.
"It just seemed like every time myself
or my linemates got the puck, there was
a (Michigan) guy right there," Robitaille
said.
Michigan was just too quick for
Miami all weekend.
"They close on you so quickly that it's
very difficult to develop things against
them and create opportunities," Miami
coach Mark Mazzoleni said. "It's diffi-
cult to get the puck near the net with
them."~
The only Redskin to put the puck in

the net all weekend was right wing Marc
Tropper, who scored both Miami goals
Friday. After his first goal, which came
on the power play with 6 1/2 minutes left
in the first period, the Wolverines shut
out the Miami power play for the rest of
the weekend, killing off a total of seven
man-advantages in the series.
During a crucial Miami power play
late in the third period of Friday's game,
with the score tied at two, Michigan
penalty killer Dale Rominski raced from
Redskin to Redskin, singlehandedly pre-
venting Miami from setting up and
advancing past center ice.
"(Rominski) and the penalty killers
were out there, and that's just a huge
kill," left wing Greg Crozier said. "That's
the game right there on the line.
"You know when your team is going
(well) when you're out there penalty
killing, and the (opponents) can't even
break out."
On the flip side, the Michigan power
play unit kept the puck away from
Robitaille, who came in leading the
nation in shorthanded goals with six.
While Michigan virtually shut out
Robitaille and Leahy statistically, it was
equally important that the Wolverines
effectively rendered the Redskins' lead-
ers ineffective.
"You need your best players to play
well, and I thought our best players did,"

Berenson said. "We respected
(Robitaille and Leahy). We watched who
we had on the ice most of the night
against them."
Throughout Friday's game, the
Michigan line of Brendan Morrison,
Matt Herr and Bill Muckalt shadowed
and shut down the Robitaille-Leahy-
Adam Copeland line.
"(The forwards) have been doing a
heck of a job," defenseman Blake Sloan
said. "They did a great job this weekend
(of getting back on defense)."
Mazzoleni countered Saturday night
by splitting up his stars.
"(1 was) just trying to spread our pro-
duction around," Mazzoleni said. "I
thought it helped. They couldn't key on
one particular line, and then we weren't
so hesitant to have to play certain people
against certain people."
The move helped Robitaille and
Leahy generate more shots on goal, but
it did not help Miami's goal production,
as the Wolverines shutout the Redskins,
3-0.
Michigan's persistent defense held
Miami to 19 shots on goal each night.
Robitaille and Leahy combined for one
shot on goal Friday and six Saturday.
"All their guys are fast," Robitaille
said. "It's hard to generate some shots.
We worked hard but the shots just
weren't there."

Miami (Ohio) 1 1±0 -2
Michigan 0 14 -5
First period -1. Miami, Tropper 17 (Harrold, Boyle),
13:26 (pp). Penalties- UM, Schock (high stick),
12:50.
Second period - 2. Miami, Tropper 18 (unassisted),
2:04; 1. UM, Morrison 19 (Legg, Muckalt), 5:54 (pp);
Penalties - Miami, Brindley (hooking), 5:23; Miami,
Copeland (interference), 7:58; Miami, Copeland
(cross check), 17:10.
Third period - 2. UM, Morrison 20 (Ritchlin Crozier),
2:29; 3. UM, Ritchlin 9 (Crozier), 6:47; 4. UM, Herr
22 (Morrison, Fox), 13:59; 5. Madden 14 (Hayes,
Sloan). 14:46. Penalties - Miami, Copeland (rough
ing), 3:57; UM, Bourke (roughing), 7:10; UM,
Berenzweig (holding), 10:15; Miami, Chateau (hold-
ing), 16:02; UM, Rominski (roughing), 16:02; UM,
Sloan (hooking), 17:14.
Shotson goal - Miami 511-3 - 19; UM 12.6-9 -
27.'
Power Plays - Miami, 1 of 4; UM, 1 of 4.
Sawns- Miami, Prior 12-4-5 - 22; UM, Turco 4-10-
3-17.
Referee - Mark Shegos.
Unes3nen - John Pearson, Tony Molina.
At: Yost Ice Arena, A: 6,376.
Saturday's ga me
Michigan 3, Miami (OHIO) 0
ManM (OHIO) 0 0 0 - 0
Michigan 2 0 1 - 3
Frst period --1. UM, Madden 15 (Crozier, Rominski),
2:38;2. UM, Herr 23 (Muckalt), 8:48. Penalties -
UM, Frescoln (high stick), 5:01; Miami, Leahy (hold-
ing), 5:01; UM, Schock (holding/ roughing), 9:46;
Miami, Bautch (roughing), 9:46; UM, Madden
(unsportsmanlike), 11:33; Miami, Leahy (elbowing),
11:33; UM, Luhning (cross check), 11:33; Miami,
Bodnar (hooking), 14:24; UM, Herr (roughing), 18:38;
Miami, Buzzel (slashing), 18:38; Miami, Boyle (inter-
ference). 19:18.
Second period - Penalties - Miami, Rohlofft(hook.
ing), 3:49; Miami, Leahy (high stick), 7:36; UM,
Schock (roughing), 7:36; Miami, Copeland (hooking),
8:46; Miami, Boyle (interference), 17:34; UM,
Bench/served by Legg (too many men), 19:05.
Third period- 3. UM, Muckalt 18 (Morrison, Peach),
19:23 (empty net). Penalties - UM, Rominski (hook-
ing), 7:29; UM, Schock (roughing), 19:23; UM, Peach
(roughing), 19:23; Miami, Copeland (roughing), 19:23;
Miami, Boyle (roughing), 19:23.
Shots on goal - Miami 2-411- 19; UM 7-15-9 -
31.
Power Plays - Miami, 0 of 4; UM, 0 of 5.
Saves - Miami, Lord 515.8 - 28; UM, Turco 2-6-11
-19;.
Referee - Matt Shegos.
Uneenen - Dave Kronenberg, Mike Newell.
At: Yost Ice Arena. A: 6,434.

WARREN ZINN/
Michigan captain Brendan Morrison, along with linemates Bill Muckalt and Matt
Herr, did a number on Miami's leading scorer Randy Robitaille (22), holding him
scoreless. The Wolverines also restricted Miami star Tim Leahy, who leads the
nation in game-winning goals, to zero points for the weekend.
How -mu-1ch ihis
weekend recally mewn?

Ali:
WARREN ZINN/Daily
Michigan sophomore Greg Crozier stays on his feet long enough to dish out his last of three assists on the weekend. This one
put the Wolverines ahead, 1-0, Saturday - a lead they would not relinquish.
o on
Be Cdoses loodgates on-scone

By Jim Ross
Daily Sports Writer
As steps go, these were two big ones.
But they were still only steps.
The Michigan hockey team assumed
first place in the CCHA with two big
victories over Miami this weekend, but
in the grand scheme of things, this
weekend just wasn't all that important.
Fans, players and even the coaches
had long been pointing to this weekend
as a big-time test for the Wolverines.
And it was, after all, an important
series. The last time Michigan played a
CCHA team
with a winning
league record
was at the Great
L a k e s
Invitational.
And sure, the N
Wolverines cang
now point to the
standings as
affirmation of
their first-place
status. Yes, they
made some impressive strides this
weekend, to be sure. Yes, they proved
they could come from behind in their
own building, something they haven't
had to do all season. And yes, they
finally got to play against some top-
notch competition.
Or did they?
The Redskins entered the weekend
19-7, No. 8 in the nation, and hoping to
prove they belonged among the nation's
elite.
They don't.
Miami has lost four straight, and
more important, the Wolverines
exposed the Redskins for what they are:
a solid but unspectacular team with one
scoring line - a line that was revamped
after Friday night's performance.
And while Miami's record is impres-
sive, the bottom line is that the
Redskins have had very little success
against tough competition. Out of 19
victories, exactly six of them have
come against teams with a winning
REDSKINS
Continued from Page 1B
give Michigan a 1-0 advantage.
The initial goal came just 2:38 into the
first period, putting Michigan ahead.
"The early goal was important,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
"We didn't feel like we were behind."
Four minutes later, Herr added to the
Michigan lead. He saw Bill Muckalt fid-
dling with the puck near the boards and
charged hard to the net.
As if it were a designed play, Muckalt
fed Herr in stride to record Michigan's
second tally of the evening.
Following Friday's game, Berenson
stressed the importance of a strong
opening period in the second game.
"We want to have a better start,"
Berenson said after Friday's game. "And
hopefully, we're going into the third peri-
od in a better position."
Saturday, Michigan had a two-goal
lead after one period.
Michigan forward Bill Muckalt added
an empty-net goal late in the third period
to close the scoring.

record - not exactly the mark of 'a
great team.:."
Even more telling is the way the
Wolverines won this weekend. They
didn't charge out and play 120 minutes
of inspired hockey. They came in, got
situated, spotted Miami a nice two-goal'
lead - and then just scored four goals
in the third and won, 5-2.
And probably not something thW
could do against one of the nation's
elite teams.
But Michigan made strides this
weekend, and therein lies the impor-
tance. Not so much in the conference
standings, not even in the national
polls, but on a smaller scale. On Friday,
the Wolverines came from behind -to
win. On Saturday, they played with the
lead and won.
These were steps. Not jumps, 4
leaps, but steps.
You could argue that the significance
of this series was in its implications for
the CCHA race. And truth be told, if the
Wolverines had lost two instead of won
two this weekend, their league title
hopes would have suffered a huge blow.
No doubt about that. -
But even then, Michigan would have
been four points out of first, with tw
games in hand on Miami and upcom
games against Michigan State and Lake'
Superior State, not to mention another
tilt with the Redskins in the last week"
end of the regular season.
It would have been tough, but not
impossible. And by that same logi',-"
Michigan did not sew up the league title
with this weekend's sweep. Not b9 a
long shot. The regular season still has
five weeks to go.
Having said all that, think bac
minute, to the last time Michigan R
lose a big conference series. It was in
February 1996 at Lake Superior. The
Wolverines gave away the CCHA
title. They were flustered, they were
frustrated - and then what hap-
pened?
They woke up, got mad and went out
and won the national championship.
Muckalt's tally preserved Michiga
streak of having scored at least three
goals in every contest this season.
Friday, the worry was whether
Michigan would score at all.
Miami ended the first period sitting
on a one-goal advantage, a lead that
quickly doubled two minutes into the
second period.
Instead of finding itself with a cus-
tomary lead early in the second period,
Michigan was in the unfamiliar posit
of trailing at Yost.
It had been almost one year (Feb. 3,
1996, against Ohio State) since-
Michigan had trailed at Yost, and the sea-
son-long home unbeaten streak also
appeared in jeopardy.
As has been the case in clutch situ
tions this season, Michigan captain
Brendan Morrison rescued his team.
A power-play goal off a feed from
center Mike Legg got Michigan on
scoreboard and kept it within str.
distance entering the third period.
Morrison later scored the tying g'aI,
and Michigan never looked back, scor-
ing three more times to cement the-win.

By Andy Knudsen
Daily Sports Writer
After giving up 14 goals in its previ-
ous three games, Michigan held Miami
'(Ohio) - the CCHA's second-most pro-
ficient scoring team - to just two goals
on the weekend.
The consequence was victories the
Wolverines
deserved.
"I think this week-
end our team can feel
good about (our
games)," Michigan
coach Red Berenson
said. "We weren't
playing ugly hockey.
It wasn't ugly win-
ning. We didn't feel
lucky to win. We felt we paid the price to
win."
But like any good coach, Berenson
indicated that he doesn't expect the rest
of the year to be a cakewalk.
"I don't see us sitting here at the end
of the year with one loss" he said.
Ohio State - Michigan's next oppo-
nent - provided the perfect example for
Berenson on Saturday. The Buckeyes
defeated Michigan State, 3-2, Saturday
afternoon.
When asked if he might rest goal-
tender Marty Turco for Michigan's game
at Ohio State on Thursday, Berenson
said: "After what they did to Michigan
State, we can't rest anybody."
ON TARGET ... AT LAST: Right wing
Bill Muckalt scored an empty-net goal
with 37 seconds left Saturday to ice
Michigan's 3-0 victory. But he didn't put

much force into the easy goal after a
weekend of seeing his shots sail wide of
the net.
"Best shot all weekend - for me any-
way," he said, showing his frustration.
To which defenseman Blake Sloan
added: "He hit the net this time, at least."
IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING CLICHE
...: After Friday's comeback victory,
sophomore wingers Dale Rominski and
Greg Crozier were asked how much the
fans helped in the victory.
Rominski - who hasn't had to deal
with the media much this year -
responded honestly: "I can't think of
anything cliche," and let Crozier answer
the question.
THE THRILL OF THE (PENALTY) KILL:
One thing Rominski did discuss was a
penalty-kill Friday when the sophomore
was able to keep the Redskins stuck
behind their own net.
"Usually, I recognize if the player
going behind the net is mishandling the
puck or having a hard time with the
puck," Rominski said. "Once you attack
him, you really can't stop. It's a time in
the game where, as penalty-killers, we
know it's time to kick this team, and keep
them down and discourage them com-
pletely.
"That's probably one of my main roles
on this team, and I'm very proud of it."
THE CROW RETURNs: Crozier has
struggled since his return from a broken
forearm earlier this season, but this
weekend he showed he's on his way
back, with assists on three of Michigan's
eight goals.
"I knew, when I was hurt, that it would

take a while for me to come back and be
the player I was in the playoffs last year,"
Crozier said. "I don't think I'm at the
point where I'm playing my best hockey
yet, either. I think, occasionally, I have a
good shift."
MOiSON'S MILESTONES: A note
with this title could be written every
week as senior captain Brendan
Morrison continues to rewrite the
Michigan record books.
With his goal at 2:29 of the third peri-
od Friday, which tied the game at two,
Morrison moved into second place on
the career Michigan scoring list.
He then recorded his 250th career
point with an assist on Matt Herr's goal
at 13:59 of the third. His assist on
Muckalt's empty-netter Saturday was
Morrison's 55th point of the season (20
goals, 35 assists), and put him 10 points
behind Denny Felsner on the Michigan
career-point list. Felsner tallied 261
points from 1988-92.
Michigan fans have acknowledged
Morrison's already terrific season by
chanting "Hobey Baker," in reference to
the award given to college hockey's most
valuable player.
"It's nice recognition," Morrison said.
"But like I said last year, the ring is what
counts, and that's what we're working
towards."
NOT so PowERuL: Michigan and
Miami had the two most proficient
power plays in the CCHA entering this
weekend, with respective percentages of
.326 and .312.
But in the two-game series, Michigan
was only 1-of-9, and Miami was 1-of-8.

:ir

A. IL ArI

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