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March 12, 1997 - Image 10

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-12

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U , " % . . ..... ......

re n ml

PROFESSIONAL
BASKETBALL
Chicago 117,
BOSTON 106
Utah 99,
ATLANTA 106
Vancouver 92,
CHARLOTTE 98
Philadelphia at
MINNESOTA, inc.
Houston at

SAN ANTONIO, inc.
New York at
DALLAS, inc.
Miami at
MILWAUKEE, inc.
Orlando at
DENVER, inc.
NATIONAL
HOCKEY LEAGUE
N.Y. Islanders at
FLORIDA, inc.

Edmonton 1,
NEW JERSEY 6
Vancouver at
WASHINGTON, inc.
Philadelphia at
BUFFALO, inc.
PROFESSIONAL
BASEBALL
(Exhibition)
N.Y. Yankees 10,
CHI. WHITE SOX 0

Cleveland 4,
HOUSTON 10
St. Louis 12,
KANSAS CITY 6
Florida 7,
LOS ANGELES 5
Texas 8.
MINNESOTA 7
Atlanta 7,
MONTREAL 6

Wednesday
March 12, 1997

10

I

Cats hire
O'Neill to
Weplace
Byrdsong
fE VANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Kevin
";Q ill, intense, loud, blunt and tena-
i tug has built a basketball coaching
~tion by recruiting top players
ndrbuilding floundering programs.
lNow he has his toughest assignment
f ail. Yesterday, he accepted the chal-
enge at Northwestern, a school that
never been invited to the NCAA
4Qurament.
1Neill. 40, decided to leave
-essee where he spent the last three
year and was in the midst of restruc-
Luring that program with two of the
nation's top recruiting classes.
"I took a chance. Columbus did,
too," O'Neill said after a news confer-
.nce announcing him as the replace-
'ntnt for the fired Ricky Byrdsong.
"I can't talk about what's happened
here in the past. We will be doing
everything in our power to win. We've
got to find kids who want to be part of
doing something that hasn't been done
before."
Sound familiar at Northwestern?
Football coach Gary Barnett took over
A program that hadn't won in 24 years
and has led the Wildcats to two straight
Big Ten titles and bowl appearances.
O'Neill had a brief phone conversa-
tion with Barnett.
"He said it was a great place to
work. I didn't go, 'Gary do you think
we can get it done in basketball?' That
. would be like Gary calling me and say-
ing, 'Kevin do you think we should
punt?"'
_. Before taking the Tennessee job,
O'Neill compiled an 86-62 record in
five years at Marquette, resurrecting a
once powerful program and getting the
school into the NIT once and to the
NCAAs twice.
Tennessee finished the past season
11-16 and was 36-47 in the three years
since athletic director Doug Dickey
.hired him from Marquette. The Vols
were 5-22 the year before he took over.
O'Neill admitted there had been a
disagreement with Dickey over the eli-
~gibility of Isiah Victor, who was
i cleared to play by the NCAA but then
redshirted.
"We had a disagreement and we
moved on. Did that affect my decision?
Not in any way. I made my decision on
where I was going to, not where I was
leaving," O'Neill said.
~TCms of O'Neill's contract were not
re.eased. Athletic director Rick Taylor
'~ythe number of years in O'Neill's
toittact was "more than two, less than
4
l'Neill had been under contract at
essee through 2001. The fifth year
┬░contract has been renewed each
He was paid $375,000 a year,
come from summer camps, after
ttmg a $30,000 raise last year.
His compensation package could
ud $500,000 annually at
western.
Jor said O'Neill was his choice
e of his tenacious recruiting and
ay his Marquette teams always
while Taylor was athletic direc-
aCincinnati.

$rathwestern went 7-22 this season
dvon only five Big Ten games in
3tsong's last three years.

:4

While the highly-favored Michigan hockey team is in Ann Arbor preparing for Friday
night's CCHA semifinal, the Michigan Daily traveled to Bowling Green to check on ..

OC~r eat
MCZ

The other team

#1 4

IN

Falcons need title for
elusive tourney berth

By Andy Knudsen
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green hock-
ey coach Buddy Powers likes to challenge his
players - to a scrimmage.
A couple of times a week after practice,
Powers and his three assistants take on four of
their players in a friendly half-ice contest until
they get kicked off the ice by figure skaters.
Considering the recent history of his program,
it's good that Powers can keep things lively and
fun for himself and his players.
In both of Powers' first two seasons at Bowling
Green, his team was the last one cut from the
NCAA tournament field.
Last year, despite finishing fifth in the CCHA,
the Falcons had a tournament bid wrapped up
until upsets in the eastern conference tourna-
ments gained automatic bids for teams ranked
behind Bowling Green.
"Last year was the epitome of frustration,"
Powers said. "Two teams had to win their play-
offs in order to knock us out, and both of them
did. And both of them were longshots."
This year, the Falcons have to win their con-
ference tournament to get to the NCAAs.
And they're the longshot.
"There's no bubble this year," Falcon co-cap-
tain Curtis Fry said. "This year we have to win it."
The Falcons(10-12-5 CCHA,17-15-5 overall)
swept Lake Superior last weekend in Sault Ste.
Marie, advancing them to the conference semifi-
nals.
This is the second year in a row the Falcons
have won their first-round playoff series on the
road and the third time in the last five years.

Bowling Green also eompleted its season
sweep of the Lakers, winning all five meetings,
four of which were in the Soo.
But despite their success against the Lakers,
the regular season was disappointing and frusj-
trating for the Falcons.
The Falcons were expected to contend for the
CCHA title, but an 0-7-1 streak in November put
them out of contention early.
A five-game winning streak in January after
senior Brett Punchard returned from an ankle t
injury got the Falcons back on track, but they fin-
ished tied for fifth in the conference, nine points
behind the fourth-place Lakers and 20 points
behind first-place Michigan.
But, as Powers said, "the playoffs are a new
season," and two victories would gain ther
Falcons a spot in the NCAA tournament.
"They can salvage their whole season if theyt
can come out of Joe Louis champions,'
Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
Bowling Green certainly gained sorie
momentum coming into the CCHA semifinals.'
The Falcons were down, 3-2, entering the third*
period Friday against the Lakers, but they explod-
ed for three goals in the games final 11 minutes.
"It was the first time it happened all year'
Powers said. "And I was mhade well aware q
that by all the reporters. It was the first time
we could come back from being down and-
win."
Saturday, Bowling Green again scored three
times in the third to pull away from the Lakers in
an 8-4 victory.
Not only are the Falcons on a roll, but they
See FALCONS, Page 12-

4

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daipy
Although Brendan Morrison and the Michigan hockey team have beaten Bowling Green twice this sea-
son, the Falcons can salvage their year by upsetting the Wolverines and winning the CCHA tournament.
Supreme effort required by
Bowling Green senors

M

e

By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN - A quick glance at
Bowling Green's hockey stat sheetreveals a familiar
trend.
Much like Michigan, the core of the Falcons' pro-
duction is concentrated among the upperclassmen.
The core group of eight seniors likens Bowling
Green to Michigan, which has nine graduating play-
ers. On each team, each of the
seniors has a special role.
But that is where the simi-
larities end.
While the Bowling GreenE
media guide purports that twot
of its eight seniors are Hobey
Baker candidates (center Mike -
Johnson and defenseman _
Kelly Perrault) and another
player (forward Curtis Fry) is ,
an All-America candidate,
that is about as unrealistic as Nike taking swooshes
off its products.
The trio did not even win any conference awards.
Neither Fry nor Johnson was named to either of
the All-CCHA teams - both received honorable
mention recognition. Perrault received no honors.

While the national awards have yet to be
announced, none of the three are legitimate candi-
dates anymore. But that is not to take away from
their importance to the Falcons.
Johnson and Fry (along with fellow senior Brett
Punchard) are the reason the Falcons are alive. As the
No. 5 seed entering the CCHA playoffs, the Falcons
travelled to Sault Ste. Marie to face Lake Superior
over the past weekend.
Bowling Green fed off its three senior forwards,
soundly defeating the Lakers, 5-3 and 8-4. The trio
combined for nine goals and seven assists on the
weekend, sparking the upset. Fry said their leader-
ship was the deciding factor in the two wins.
"Johnson and I, (along with) the whole senior class
had a good weekend against Lake Superior," he said.
All season, co-captains Johnson (61 points) and
Fry (59 points) have provided the necessary support
for the team on the score sheet.
"We certainly don't want to rely on one or two
guys to do most of the scoring, Johnson said. "You
want it to be even."
But it hasn't been even. The two forwards have
shouldered the majority of the scoring load -the
next leading scorer is 20 points behind.
The leadership burden off the ice is a part of the
See SENIORS, Page 12

Bowling Greeu
has had little
luck keeping
Michigan, or -
anyone else,
down for long
this season.
The Falcons
are 1042-5 in
the CCHA "
going Into this
weekend's '
tournament.'
MARK
FRIEDMAN/Daily

Ia

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