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February 04, 1998 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-04

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 4, 1998

Fox, other defensemen jump into the holes
left by 'M' blueliners from past seasons

i

By Pruisy Reddy
Daily Sports Writer
Coming into this season, the
Michigan hockey team's biggest concern
was youth. But just as troubling might
have been the lack of experience along
Michigan's defen-
sive front. With
Hockey the departure of
Notebook names like Steve
-.....-..-.---... Halko and Harold
Schock in the past
two seasons, a hole was left within the
defense.
- The success or failure of this season's
defense rested squarely on the shoulders
on the defensemen left behind - senior
Chris Fox,junior Bubba Berenzweig and
sophomore Sean Peach.
Luckily for the Wolverines, the trio
has responded well to the challenge of
preparing this season's defensive unit.
All three have freshman partners, and
have taken it upon themselves to make
sure any transition goes smoothly for
their younger linemates.
"That's really where the crux of the
defense is made up - our returning
players," Michigan coach Red Berenson
said. "Fox is playing the best hockey of

his career, and so is Peach."
"I think those three ... have really
stepped up this year, Berenson added.
Berenzweig, paired with Ann Arbor-
native Dave Huntzicker, has made a con-
certed effort to lend a helping hand to his
linemate whenever he feels it's neces-
sary.
"I try to lead mostly by example,"
Berenzweig said. "Once in a while, if I
see someone doing the wrong thing, I
might say something to them.
"We have faith in each upperclassman
to work with their freshmen."
Although Fox may have had an easier
time dealing with his younger partner,
defenseman Mike Van Ryn, the fresh-
man still knows the importance of an all-
out effort in practice every day - espe-
cially with the increased speed and
strength of the college players he regu-
lar faces now.
"At the start of the year, we had so
many young players who really weren't
used to the pace of the game," Van Ryn
said. "But as the year has gone on we
have gotten used to the speed."
In addition to the speed of the game,
Van Ryn noted the advantage his regular

weight-training - which he attributes to
Michigan conditioning coach Jim Plocki
- gives him in games.
And when things do go wrong, every
defenseman on the team knows that hav-
ing a goalie like Marty Turco is a pretty
good safety net. The senior netminder
has been a major factor in the defense's
maturing process and has stepped up to
the challenge.
"Marty is one of the best goalies in
college hockey, so he gives us a lot of
confidence back there," Berenzweig
said. "If we slip up, sometimes it doesn't
show up against the defense because
Marty backs us up.
CONFERENCE CHALLENGE: Berenson
has always been one to encourage strong
play from top to bottom in the CCHA,
and this season is no different. In fact, for
the first time in a few years, the confer-
ence race is a close one - and Berenson
doesn't seem to particularly mind.
"We're playing all the teams that we're
trying to finish ahead of," Berenson said.
"Obviously you have to win those
games. You can see the race that's emerg-
ing - one bad weekend and you're a
step behind and one good weekend puts

you a step ahead. Every game is crucial.
"I've said all along I think it will all be
decided on the last weekend. Every
game is crucial for home-ice advantage."
Curently, just seven points separate
the top five teams in the conference.
Included in those top five are surprise
teams Northern Michigan and Ohio
State, who are fourth and fifth in the
conference, respectively. The Wildcats,
in their first season in the CCHA after a
14-year absence, are faring much better
than their preseason ranking indicated,
considering they were slotted to finish
ninth in the conference.
ROAD WOES AT THE JOE: Michigan is
in the comfortable position of playing
Lake Superior State this Saturday night
at Joe Louis Arena. Why comfortable?
Considering the fact that the game is
counted as a road game for the
Wolverines, they are in luck.
The 50-minute ride to the Joe saves
Michigan the headache of the consider-
ably longer trek to Sault Ste. Marie to
face the Lakers.
The Wolverines already traveled to
'the Soo' this season, beating the Lakers,
7-0, on Dec. 5.

JOHN KRAFT/Daily
Michigan left wing Matt Herr is not a defenseman, but his goal in the Wolverines'
S4 overtime victory over Notre Dame on Saturday would havedmeant a lot less
the defense hadn't buckled down in the overtime period to hold off the Irish.

Hawkeyes come back on Badgers, 79-76
West Virginia hands Pittsburgh Big East loss behind West's 3-point shooting

U I

WEDNESDAY
BURGER DAY
$3.49 Cheeseburger & Fries
11:30 - 3:00 pm
plus $1.00 Off Pints of English Beers
9 pm - close

MADISON (AP) - Freshman Ricky Davis
scored 25 points as 24th-ranked Iowa rallied in the
second half to snap a four-game losing streak with
a 79-76 victory over Wisconsin last night.
Davis provided the crucial basket down the
stretch when he grabbed the rebound off a missed
Iowa free throw and scored on a dunk to give the
Hawkeyes a 76-69 lead with just more than a
minute remaining.
Iowa (5-4 in the Big Ten, 16-6 overall) then hit
five of eight free throws to maintain its lead.
The Badgers made it close in the final seconds,
pulling to within three on a 3-point basket by
Mark Vershaw with eight seconds left. Henssy
Auriantal then stole the ball, but the Badgers
could only manage a desperation shot at the
buzzer that missed.
Wisconsin (3-7, 10-12) was led by Sean Mason
with 14 points. Mike Kelley and Sean Daugherty
added 13 each as the Badgers suffered their fifth
consecutive loss.
Davis scored five points in a 16-3 Iowa run at
the start of the second half, as the Hawkeyes
erased a nine-point halftime deficit and took a 47-
43 lead.

The Badgers came back to tie it at 49-49, but
Iowa then hit three straight 3-pointers - two by
Kent McCausland and one by Ryan Luehrsmann
- to open up a 58-51 lead.
Wisconsin cut the deficit to 65-61, but Iowa's
fullcourt pressure took its toll. The Hawkeyes
stole the inbounds pass twice in a row, resulting in
layups by J.R. Koch and Darryl Moore, to stretch
the lead to 69-61.
Kelley, whose previous high was 12 points
against Michigan, scored 13 in the first half to
lead the Badgers to a 40-31 lead.
Wisconsin was trailing 21-19 when it started a
13-2 run, fueled by five points by Andy Kowske
and four by Kelley, to open up a 32-23 lead.
WEST VIRGINIA 90, PITTSBURGH 72
Jarrod West scored 18 points and Damian
Owens added 16 last night, leading No. 15 West
Virginia to a 90-72 victory over Pittsburgh.
West made three 3-pointers as the Mountaineers
(9-3 Big East, 19-3 overall) handed the Panthers
their fifth loss in a row.
Pittsburgh (2-8, 7-10) closed to within 57-52 at
1 1:14 on Stephen Flores' 3-pointer. But that was
before West Virginia used an 1 1-2 run, highlight-

ed by West's third 3-pointer, to put the gamE
away.
Marcus Goree added 14 points and grabbed a
career-high 15 rebounds for the Mountaineers.
Jarrett Lockhart scored 22 points and grabbed
eight rebounds to lead the Panthers. Attila Cosby
added 18 points and Isaac Hawkins had 14.
The Mountaineers shut down Pittsburgh's lead-
ing scorer, Vonteego Cummings, who finished
with one field goal and four free throws.
Facing a Pitt team ranked last in the conferenc
in scoring defense, West Virginia, which leads th
Big East in scoring, improved to 14-0 when scor-
ing more than 80 points.
West Virginia frustrated the Panthers with 12
steals, including five by Owens and four by Jones.
The Mountaineers also outrebounded Pitt 42-32.
The Mountaineers, who hung on for a 76-72
win at Pittsburgh six days earlier, started the game
with a 15-2 run that featured a pair of 3-pointers
by West.
Pittsburgh closed to within 27-25 before Jone
sparked a 14-2 run as West Virginia opened a 4.
32 halftime lead.

1I

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