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November 12, 1997 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-12

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 12, 1997 -11

Success on penalty kill allows
icers to take solace in defeat

By COwis Farah
DaY Sports Wrter
The Michigan hockey team may not have brought back a per-
fect record from its weekend series against Northern Michigan,
but the Wolverines were spotless in another category - the
penalty kill.
Michigan beat Northern on Friday, 5-3, but fell to the
Wildcats on Saturday, 1-0. In the process, however, the
Wolverines shut out Northern's power play, preventing the
Wildcats from scoring on all 12 power play opportunities.
Michigan's penalty kill gave a perfor-
mance indicative of the entire weekend in
the first period of Saturday's game. At 6:40, 001
the Wolverines had to face a five-on-three 00
situation for two full minutes.
During the sequence, Michigan managed %4tGC "
to clear the puck from the zone three times
and did a good job tying up the puck wide
of Michigan goaltender Marty Turco and
the net. With a couple of timely saves by
Turco, the Wolverines were able to prevent the Wildcats from
making good on the two-man advantage.
Granted, Northern's power play isn't exactly a well-oiled
machine. The Wildcats went into their series with Michigan 0 of
22 on the power play for the season - 10th in the CCHA.
But the Wolverines' penalty kill hadn't done much either,
going 16 of 22 to rank last in the CCHA - one spot behind
Northern.
Michigan forward Dale Rominski said Michigan's success on
the penalty kill would help negate Saturday's loss - particular-
ly if the success translates to the rest of the season.
"We did a real good job this weekend on the penalty kill,"
Rominski said. "We killed a couple five-on-threes, that's defi-
nitely a plus. Those kind of things we have to take away and say,
'Airight, those are good things, we just have to bounce back
from this loss."'

FAsT-mAcK 'CATs: Michigan's loss to Northern on Saturday
night bmke a five-game winning streak the Wolverines held in
their all-i me series against the Wildcats. But the Wolverines are
not without excuses.
While Michigan faced Northern in the 1995 Great Lakes
Invitational at Joe Louis Arena, Northern's Lakeview Arena was
unfamiliar territory for these Wolverines, who hadn't traveled to
Marquette since Nov. 26, 1983 - a game Michigan won, $-1.
And Northern has surprised some other teams this season.
Even though Northern entered the CCHA after spending 13
years in the WCHA, the Wildcats haven't taken much time to
adjust to their new conference. Before facing Michigan,
Northern was 3-0-1 in CCHA play and 4-1-2 overall.
The Wildcats' conference wins included a two-game week-
end series sweep against Western Michigan and a victory over
Lake Superior.
Northern coach Rick Comley said the Wildcats have proven
- to themselves as much as others - that they can play with
anyone in the CCHA.
"The fact that we've been able to beat Lake Superior, Western
Michigan and now Michigan I think is a real confidence
builder," Comley said. "This was a very tough series. To get an
emotional win, that'd great.'
LET'S CET PHYSICAL: in Friday's game, things got a little per-
sonal between Michigan forward Bill Muckalt and Northem
goaltender Duane Hoey.
At the beginning of the second period, Muckah and Hoey got
tangled up. Muckalt claimed innocence in the matter, although
it's doubtful that Hoey fell to the ice by his own volition.
"Well, you can only take so much once in a while," Muckalt
said. "I don't know what you guys saw, but he tripped me. That's
all I saw.
"If you get a chance to get one back at somebody, and you
can do it without hurting the team, then you've got to do it. It's
tough to play in this league. Then maybe someone will think
twice about doing something to you."

JOHN KRAFT/Daily
While the Michigan hockey team won only one of two games at Northern Michigan, the Wolverines completely shut down
Northern on its power-play opportunities. The Wildcats failed to convert on all 12 chances during the course of the two games.

Uncertainty pervades
'M' basketball opener

By James Goldstein
Daily Spurts Wnter
No more exchanged gifts. No more
pregame meals with the opponent. No
*re excuses.
Michigan's two-game exhibition sea-
son ended with an easy victory over a
traveling Russiar: team Tuesday.
Big deal.
A w~eek earlier the Wolverines fell to
Athletes In Action, an amateur squad
consisting of ex-collegiate and profes-
sional players.
Now, thats a big deal.
Michigan still shouldn't have lost to

equivalent of a
actice squad.
E x h i b i t i on
games are just that
exhibitions of
basketball skills
for the fans' view-
ing pleasure.

~e

While a 1-1
record to exhibi-
tion teams should
be something
show displeasure over, it still should
make one wonder: Is Michigan ready for
the regular season opener against
Western Michigan this Saturday?
Michigan fans hope so. It's definitely
not right to judge the Wolverines' perfor-
mance on one game. But, considering the
:abrupt ending ofSteve Fisher's coaching
career at Michigan and the quick promo-
tion of Brian Ellerbe to head coach, the
first of many measuring sticks could be
Od - even at this stage - to see how
far the Wolverines have come.
Ellerbe better get used to it. All season
long, he will be under a microscope.
How will Ellerbe get along with his
players? How will he perform in clutch
situations? Will the coach rag out the
team if the Wolverines put forth a poor
effort? Can he caress his star player,
Robert Traylor, and keep him happy dur-
St he season? Will he or won't he have
Wt'like a father off the court to try to
keep Michigan out of any possible
NCAA violations?

We saw too much of this team in the
news in the past six months for all the
wrong reasons. The Wolverines winning
the NIT title last spring was quickly over-
shadowed by the internal investigation.
After a disappointing end to the regular
season and no NCAA bid, Michigan
could finally talk about something posi-
tive. And it provided the fans with
renewed optimism for this season.
With Taylor deciding to stay in school
- after Maurice Taylor left one year
early for the NBA - it was another
piece of good news.
Then, all the positive momentum halt-
ed as quickly as a car stopping on a dime.
The extracurricular news needs no
repeating. The papers were swamped by
the same legal and potential-new-coach
headlines for weeks.
Ellerbe took this team over on Oct. 24.
He took his whistle with him into prac-
tice to try to enforce an aggressive style.
Players have ended venting their frustra-
tion over Fisher's firing and seem to have
come to Ellerbe's side.
The adjustment will take time. Most
likely, this will be a team that plays its
best basketball towards the end of the
season. But all could change if Ellerbe
has something up his sleeve to surprise
the Michigan fans.
The fact that the talk right now is about
Traylor leading the team, Robbie Reid
helping the guards and Louis Bullock
and Maceo Baston stepping their games
up means one thing and one thing only.
We're talking basketball again. No
more distractions, press conferences or
venting players - at least for now.
Starting this Saturday, we will get a
look at the Wolverines. While the result
of the non-conference affair will not
mean the world. we still may get an incli-
nation as to what we could expect of
Michigan this season.
it's just one game, but it's just that - a
game --- and not since the Wolverines
captured the NIT do Michigan fans
something to be excited about.
Not counting exhibition games - of
course.

SOCCER
Continued from Page 10
State would host a first round game
against No. 7 William & Mary.
"I don't know how Penn State got
a home berth," Michigan senior Ruth
Poulin said. "Maybe they thought the
Lions played a tougher schedule than
us."
Regardless of Minnesota and Penn
State's more favorable schedules, the
Wolverines are just happy to be in
the tournament.
After all, it was only a year ago
that Michigan was considered an
average team, finishing 3-3-1 in the
Big Ten.
"I'm just excited to be in it --
regardless of where we play," Poulin
said. "Making it to the NCAA tour-
nament has been a goal of ours since
I was a freshman and it hasn't
become a reality until this year."
The Wolverines are happy about
the draw in one respect. They won't
be battling Minnesota-type weather
anymore. Players' fingers and toes

are just now regaining feeling after
last weekend's tournament. Bel kin
received cheers when she mentioned
flying south for the upcoming game
- even if it is only Omaha.
Michigan has beaten Nebraska
once before. But it was a 5-0 blowout
in 1994 - Michigan's first year of
existence. Belkin said that game has
little bearing on this matchup.
Tournament action is a whole new
game for the Wolverines -- some-
thing none of them have experienced
before. But this has been a season of
firsts, and Belkin welcomes every
new challenge.
"There's pressure," she said. "But
it's no different than the pressure in
the Big Ten tournament and we
responded really well to that."
If Michigan beats Nebraska, an
all-too familiar opponent should be
next in line. Second-ranked Notre
Dame, if it advances past Cincinnati
in the first round, would be
Michigan's next opponent. The Irish
outshot the Wolverines 44-1 the last
time the teams squared off.

Wake Forest at North Carolina
Vanderbilt at Florida
Massachusetts at Harvard
George Mason at Maryland
UNC-Greensboro at Duke
Georgia at Clemson
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Minnesota
Brigham Young at Santa Clara

SPRNGBRAK '9 *ANAMA CIY BACH, eLD

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