12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 12, 1997
Army joins Conference USA; Navy only independent
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - After
more than a century as an independent,
Army broke with tradition on Monday
and joined Conference USA.
Army will begin conference play in
1998, giving the league eight teams.
Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville,
Memphis, Southern Mississippi and
Tulane are the current members, with
East Carolina to begin play this fall.
"This is an exciting day," Army
coach Bob Sutton said. "From a foot-
ball aspect, we recognize that it will be
a great challenge for us. We've played
East Carolina before, we've played
Louisville before, so we know the
competition that we will be involved
in. The challenge for us is to be able to
do that week after week."
There is one caveat: Army can with-
draw from the conference in case of a
The change, effective immediately,
comes after more than a year of dis-
cussions. But the final decision came
"We chatted on Friday, and it took
about 30 seconds to get the vote," said
Dr. Joseph Steger, chairman of the
board of directors for Conference
USA. "You must understand that to get
presidents to unanimously do anything
is a miracle. All of the colleges and
universities are looking forward to
this. I think it's natural."
The move leaves Navy as the only
service academy without a conference
affiliation - Air Force is in the
Western Athletic Conference. And it
comes after one of Army's most mem-
orable seasons. The Black Knights
were 10-2 last year, losing only to
Syracuse during the regular season
and Auburn in the Independence
It was the first postseason appear-
ance for the Black Knights since they
suffered a 29-28 loss to Alabama in the
1988 Sun Bowl.
The Army brass said it hoped that
joining Conference USA would boost
the university's exposure and its
chances of playing in the postseason.
The conference champion gets an
automatic berth in the Liberty Bowl,
and Conference USA commissioner
Michael Slive said discussions were
under way for the conference to partic-
ipate in other bowls.
Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman, superin-
tendent of the academy, said he real-
ized the move is significant for West
Point and many of its alumni. But he
said that joining Conference USA
would create enormous opportunity.
"It will allow us to take the Army
eam to the heartland of America's
Army," Christman said. "We will play
ll of our games away from Michie
Stadium within a half-day's drive of
many of the major installations of this
Soldiers will have the chance to
heer, chant and maybe even chest
ump for the great old Army team." *
Christman said the university sought
eedback from its graduates and got
)lenty of it, most in favor of the move.
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Continued from Page 10
have also finally recovered from a sea-
son marred with injuries.
"This is only the second or third time
since Nov. 1 that we've had the whole
team on the ice -and healthy at the
same time'" Powers said.
The Falcons have. had 15 different
players injured this season, for a total of
45 man-games missed.
They're healthy, they're on a roll and
they have strong senior leadership. But
they're still the longshot.
That's because they , face the
Wolverines in their semifinal game
Friday at Joe Louis Arena.
Despite going 0-2-1 against the
Wolverines this year, they don't seem to
mind the challenge.
"You figure, to win the CCHAs
you're going to have to play
Michigan some time, so you might
as well get it over with right at the
beginning," co-captain Mike
But Powers said his game plan
includes a little bit of luck.
"I just think (the Wolverines) have
the ability to dictate what's going to
happen in a game," Powers said. "It's
not a team where you can say, 'If you
shut down this line, if you shut down
that guy.' Every guy they send out on
the ice is capable of scoring a goal, or
two goals or three goals.
"When they come to play, you bett
be on your game. Otherwise, it's going to
be a long night."
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While Jason Botterill apparently came out of this altercation sucking wind,
Bowling Green senior Brett Punchard suffered a broken ankle in the same game.
Continued from Page 10
title Johnson has learned to accept.
"Some guys need a kick in the ass and
some need an ear to listen,"he said. "Now
in our fourth year as captains, we've been
asked to take over."
Powers feels that
the entire class
made a conscious
effort not to let this
season become a
disaster after a 5-
partly to blame for Johnson
the slow start.
In the Nov. 9
game in Ann Arbor, Punchard broke
his ankle following a melee between
the teams. The senior wing returned
Jan. 4, and Bowling Green went on a
five-game winning streak that night.
And his game skills are just coming
"Punchard is just now - in the last
two weeks - starting to get back to
where he was;' Powers said. "That
in a few situations for us (in the past):'
Between the pipes, though, is where
the most important senior resides.
Goaltender Bob Petrie was a differ-
ence during the latter half of the cam-
"Bobby Petrie's played well in goal for
us the second half of the year,' Power.
said. "And that's a big factor in us gettin
While his statistics this season are far
from exceptional - a 3.50 goals-against
average and an .878 save percentage -
Petrie was solid when necessary.
He made 41 saves against the Lakers
last weekend. But the Wolverines will be
a different story, as they average 35.5
shots - per game.
Powers trusted his upperclassmen
come through for him, and last weeken'
"They look at this as a second season
and a chance to do something in the
That chance comes Friday when
Michigan brings its senior class, which
includes a Hobey Baker candidate
(Brendan Morrison) and a potential All-
American (John Madden).
This weekend, Bowling Green will
see the senior class it was supposed
have - on the other bench.
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