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January 12, 1998 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-12

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I
6Q3 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - January 12, 1998

TURCO
Continued from Page 18
With Friday's 4-2 victory over
Bowling Green, Turco recorded his 112th
victory, breaking Shields' NCAA record.
For Turco, the record was something
that he never could have imagined when
he was growing up in Sault Ste. Marie,
Ontario. In fact, despite living only 10
minutes from the campus of Lake
Superior State, Turco never dreamed of
playing college hockey at all.
Growing up in Canada, Turco followed
major-junior hockey, but in his mid-teens
he was considered too small to play at
that level.
"I was small and I wasn't supposed to
,mount to anything as a player," Turco
'said. "I just played for the love of the
:-game. I thank God that I wasn't as good
way back when I was 16 orI probably
would have gone to the OHL. It was a
:blessing in disguise for me and I'm defi-
nitely a lucky man to wait it out and to be
a late bloomer like I was."
By the time Turco was in his late teens,
he had grown to six-feet tall and began to
consider U.S. college hockey.
Michigan learned about Turco when
assistant coach Mel Pearson saw Turco at
the Air Canada Cup, and Berenson went
to see him.
"I liked some things about him, but
there were a lot of things I didn't like
about him," Berenson said. "I had a cou-
ple of pro scouts go look at him and a
couple liked him and a couple weren't
sure, so there wasn't a consensus that this
kid was a bona fide Division I goalie. It
finally just came down to me making a
gut feeling decision."
Now in his fourth year as Michigan's
No. I goaltender, there is no longer any
doubt that Turco is good enough to play
college hockey.
As a freshman, Turco won CCHA
rookie of the year honors and was named
to the All-CCHA rookie team. Last year,
Turco garnered CCHA goaltender of the
year honors, and was named to the All-
:" CHA first team.
Along with backstopping the
'Wolverines to 113 victories, Turco has
icd 'Michigan to three CCI IA regular-
season championships, two CCHA play-
off titles, and in 1996, Turco was in goal
-,4wben the Wolverines won their first
-CAA championship in 32 years.
"Winning that game with Brendan
storing in overtime is something you
dream about," Turco said. "Being able to
see everybody's smiles and the people we
- touched -- former players and alumni
and fans ---just to be a part of it was spe-
cial."
But even after the NCAA title and all
of the honors, some still doubted whether
1 urco was a top-flight college goaltender.
,-4r his first three years, he played behind
extremely talented teams and an experi-
enced defense.

This year, with the departure of nine
seniors, including Hobey Baker award
winner Brendan Morrison, many thought
that Turco would struggle this season.
Even Herr kidded his housemate that
with 10 freshman on the roster he would
have a hard time winning the 17 games
he needed to break Shields' record.
But with four freshmen on defense and
with much less offensive support than in
the past, Turco is having what is arguably
his best year as a Wolverine.
Working with volunteer goaltending
coach Mike Liut, Turco has improved his
positioning and is playing the puck better.
But more than anything, what makes
Turco a special goaltender is his ability to
make big saves -even saves that maybe
he shouldn't be able to make.
"He just has a way of stopping the
puck,' Berenson said. "Even shots that
you can't teach him. He's made saves that
a goalie shouldn't be able to make.
"Some goalies will make an easy shot
look hard, like it's an all-out effort to
make a save - but Marty is the opposite.
He has a calmness about him that he
makes a hard shot look easy and that's
something you can't teach."
Through 24 games, Turco has posted a
19-4-1 record and has a 2.18 goals
against average. More important, with
Turco in the net, the Wolverines have
been finding a way to win close games.
Of their 19 victories, 14 have been by two
goals or less. And one big reason for
Michigan's success has been the play of
its goaltender.
"When the players see him in there
making a big save it makes them feel bet-
ter that he's going to give us that edge that
we need to win a game night after night,"
Berenson said. "lie didn't always have
that kind of credibility, though, because
he played with some good teams and did-
n't get a lot of work."
As a senior, Turco has taken a leader-
ship role on the young team. Even though
lie isn't allowed to wear an A on his jer-
sey in CCHA games, Turco is an assistant
captain, an unusual role for a goaltender.
"Marty definitely deserves to be an
assistant captain," Herr said. "It's kind of
odd that he can't wear a letter in the
CCHA. But he knows and the fans know
that lie's a leader in this team."
Turco's leadership has been especially
important for the four freshmen defense-
men, who have been called upon to play
significant minutes from the beginning
of the year.
"He's been like another coach out
there," defensemen Dave H untzicker
said. "Having Marty back there gives you
a bit of an edge.
"It lets you feel like you can play hard-
er and do some things that you wouldn't
necessarily do if you were worried about
the goalie."
Now, as he nears the end of his college
career, Turco looks forward to the possi-
bility of playing in the NHL. He was a

......................

Turco's feats
Surpassed former
Michigan goaltender Steve
Shields for career NCAA
victories with 112th win
Goaltender on the 1995-
96 national championship
team
* 1996-97 All-American
* 1996-97 CCHA goal-
tender of the year
* 1995-96 NCAA all-tour
nament team
1994-95 CCHA rookie of
the year
1994-95
Great Lakes
Invitational
all-tourna-
ment team
0 Has victo-
ries against
50 of 54 Turco
goaltenders
faced
Has defeated Michigan
State goaltender Chad Z
Alban more than any other'
opponent - seven times
Has 6-1 record in cham4
pionship games, with hi-
only loss coming this sea-
son in the Great Lakes
Invitational
0 With 13 career shutouts
is three away from tying
the NCAA record of 16
Stopped 52 of 56 shots
in the 1994-95 NCAA semi-
final loss, the second-
longest college hockey
game ever, lasting 100:28
EIs15-3witha1.94
goals-against-average and
.914 save precentage in
18 postseason starts
Has defeated 23 tearms

fifth-round draft pick in 1994 and
although he probably isn't ready to play
in the NHL right away, Turco is a legiti-
mate professional prospect.
"I think he has a chance to be a suc-
cessful pro goalie," Berenson said. "It
will depend on how he makes the adjust-
ment to playing at a different level. It'll
take some time - I don't think he'll
instantly become an NHL goalie, but I
think he has a chance to become an NHL
goalie."
But even if Turco does go on to play in
the NHL, he'll always treasure his time at
Michigan.
"I can't imagine myself being any hap-
pier than I am right now," Turco said.
"Every kid in Canada dreams of playing
in the NHL someday, and even if that
comes true, I still have the University of
Michigan as some of my happiest times
with my some of my good friends and a
lot of awesome memories."

In.

ATTENTION ALUMNI OF
The National Young Leaders
Conference, Washington, D.C.
OR
The National Youth Leadership
Forums on Law,
Medicine or Defense
If you are a freshman or sophomore, there is a
prestigious on-campus leadership opportunity
we have been asked to discuss with you.
t~t

JORDAN FIELD/Daily
Senior Marty Turco stands for the national atnthem before Friday's game (top).
Turco covers the puck for one of his 1. saves during the record-breaking win.

in

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