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October 19, 1998 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-19

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68 - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 19, 1998

'M' hockey and Niagara both receive blessings.

By Mark Francescutti
Daily Sports Writer
What did Niagara coach Blaise McDonald
give to his players before this weekend's
series with Michigan?
Well, it couldn't be the word, starting with
a 'V', that rhymes with ----------------
Niagara, right? Hockey
But that's just what it
seemed like, as one of ComTlentay
the seemingly weakest--------------
teams on the Michigan hockey schedule
shocked the national champions, winning
one game and almost stealing another.
Niagara, a team that started just three
years ago with 22 freshmen, a team that
doesn't have a senior to lead it and a team
that just entered Division I play this season
almost took two games from the national
It seemed like deja vu, because the
Wolverines went through these same feel-
ings last year, after a split weekend with
severe underdog Colgate.
After the Colgate weekend, Michigan's
unbreakable 36-game home unbeaten streak
was broken, and a team that lost nine seniors

started to look just that inexperienced.
But the Wolverines needed that weekend.
It was one of the pieces in building a cham-
pion that people often overlook.
This year's team still needs to find itself,
and after a subpar weekend, it might just do
After all, the Wolverines did it last season,
and the result was as good as it gets.
"Maybe this is good in the sense that it
will teach our team just how average we
really are,' Berenson said. "If we play this
way all year, we'll be a .500 team."
Berenson said much of the same last sea-
son, about how Michigan was just average,
after losing its 'magnificent nine' the year
So maybe Michigan's 'average' perfor-
mance can lead to the building of a better
team, like it did last season.
But how could even the 'average'
Wolverines lose to Niagara?
Why did 6,300 fans leave Yost Ice Arena
on Saturday night in disbelief?
Even some of the Michigan players were
puzzled, looking for the answers and coming
up with just one - "We didn't want it as

Boy, does Michigan have smart players.
Niagara came into this weekend one of the
youngest teams in Division I hockey. When
the Purple Eagles took the ice, they were as
excited as children in a candy store.
"You just gotta love playing here,"
Niagara goaltender Greg Gardner said.
"This is one of the most exciting moments of
my life."
Gardner lived his dream this weekend, and
played like a dream, too. The goalie made 78
saves, more than double the amount of saves
that Michigan goalies made all season.
"We did a terrific job on allowing Greg to
see pucks, a lot of shots were quite easy for
him," McDonald said. "They didn't get to
the net that much to screen him."
When Niagara saw their schedule, they
likely circled the word Michigan with a big
red marker. This was their biggest series of
the season, while Michigan was looking for
a slight breeze.
Instead, the Wolverines found themselves
in a hurricane.
The Purple Eagles had a plan - to stifle
the Wolverines as much as they could, while

being patient enough to wait for a scoring
chance themselves.
"That was one of our biggest themes -
let's be patient here," McDonald said. "Let's
see if we can chip it out. When we have the
opportunity, take what the game gives you.
Don't try to dictate it."
When the Purple Eagles were in troubl
they iced the puck. They went after everW
loose puck like it was their last. On penalty
kills, a man disadvantage didn't really seem
like one.
And when Michigan fired what seemed an
endless number of shots, Niagara's defense
and goalie stood strong.
The result was understandable, after all,
Niagara is trying to make a bid to become
part of the CCHA, and this weekend was one
of the biggest steps towards their goal.
"My hope is that we make a formal appli-
cation to the CCHA within the next year
McDonald said.
So who is the more talented team?
Michigan is, of course. But just remember
that a Michigan loss may be a blessing in
disguise for the Wolverines, and a blessing
of hope for a young team.

Niagara's Greg Gardner stifled enough Michigan scoring
opportunities to earn the unranked Purple Eagles a split.

Freshman Comrie leads Blue offense early,

- *oip.-
W r*



The University of Michigan
Office of International Programs
G513 Michigan Union
530 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1349

734764431 1tel
734 7643229 fax




Tuesday, October 20, 1998
Academic Year Programs in
Santiago, CHILE, Seville, SPAIN, Quito, ECUADOR
Wednesday, October 21, 1998
Academic Year and Spring/Summer Programs in
Florence, ITALY
Thursday, October 22, 1998
Academic Year Programs in
Beijing, CHINA
All meetings will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
in room 2443 Mason Hall.


By David Den Herder
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan forward Mike Comrie has
played three games in Ann Arbor, and
he is already turning heads.
The freshman had two goals and
two assists Friday and leads the
Wolverines in early-season point totals
with five.
"You don't really think about what
you're doing out ----- ----
there," Comrie Hockey
said after his Notebook
impressive perfor-
mance Friday. """---------
"You just go out and do it."
Penalties in Friday's game created
frequent three-on-three situations, and
gave players such as Comrie a chance
to wield their skills.
"That's when you find out who can
really play this game - when it's
three-on-three," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "There's no place to
Both teams managed the unique sit-
uations well, as there was no scoring
on any of the three-on-threes. But the
potential for a game breaking play is
always there, said sophomore defense-
man Dave Huntzicker
"There are a lot of chances for
breakdowns - there's so much room
out there," Huntzicker said. "That's
why it's fun. It's free-wheelin'."

new $60,000 investment arrived in
Ann Arbor last Friday in time for its
first public appearance.
During the first intermission, of
Friday's game, Yost assistant general
manager Steve Knuble rolled out
Michigan's sparkling 1998 Zamboni
500 model for all to enjoy.
The new ice resurfacing machine
replaces Yost's ailing 1984 model,
which has caused numerous problems
in the past, including a lengthy game
delay last season when the Wolverines
hosted Miami (Ohio) on Feb. 13.
According to Yost officials,
Michigan saved a respectable sum
when shopping, since new models
usually retail for upwards to $75,000.
The Yost staff opted for the Zamboni
brand over the cheaper, wider-cutting
Olympia, because Zambonis lay better
ice,,officials said.
Knuble - the brother of former
Michigan icer and current New York
Ranger Mike Knuble - had nothing
but praise for the new wheels.
"It's like going from an Escort to a
Cadillac," Knuble said. "Very nice."
FALSE ALARM: Attracting as much
attention from fans as a car alarm in a
parking lot, Yost Arena's fire evacua-
tion alarm was triggered during
Friday's game and went unexplained
for several minutes.
Finally, with horns and strobes still
blaring, rink announcer Glen Williams
explained to fans that Yost officials
"assumed" someone had pulled the
fire alarm, and told them to continue
enjoying the game.
No problem for Michigan students
- they were even creative enough to
incorporate the horn blasts into a rous-



ANVI~daS f3 aNVdL4 0QNV'INI3

ing cheer of "Let's Go Blue."
Michigan Department of Public
Safety Lieutenant Doug Swix said it
was believed that "a hot dog vending
machine activated the alarm."
Since there were no open flames,
the Ann Arbor Fire Department was
never dispatched. Swix said the pro-
longed alarm was likely due to com-
plications in de-activating it.
"They get a little persnickety on you
sometimes," he said.

Hidden behind
the title of
"freshman" is
forward Mike
Comrie -
points leader
through three
Sophomore Leena Gundapaneni,'
who was in the student section, said
she never feared for her safety
because, "Nobody seemed to be doing
anything," she said. "Everybody just
assumed somebody pulled it."
Most fans appeared to immediately
disregard the alarm in the same fash-
ion, and kept their focus on the
Michigan icers.
Drop the puck first, apparently.
Stop, drop and roll later.
The three stars:
Third Star: Dave Huntzicker
The defensive defenseman' stopped
a Niagara two-on-one Friday, allowing:
Langfeld to net the game-winner.
Second Star: Josh Langfeld
The last-second hero did it again
with a game-winning goal with 1.7
seconds left in overtime on Friday.
First Star: Mike Comre
The freshman had four points on
Friday, scoring two goals and
assisting on two others.

Niagara 2, Michigan 1
Niagara 0 1 1 -2
Michigan 0 1 0-1
First period - No Scoring. Penalties - Nia,
MacKenzie, (holding) 3:28; UM, Huntzicker, (hold-
ing) 12:44; Nia, Morris, (interference) 15:24; Nia,
Rows, (roughing) 16:09; UM, Berenzweig (roughing)-
16:09; UM, Huntzicker (holding) 18:59; Nia, Rows -
(cross-checking) 19:21.
Second period - 1. UM, Clark 1 (Kosick) 12:19; 1. 3
Nia, Sivonen 1 (Kasperek) 19:24 Penalties -Nia,
Handrahan (interference) 1:30; UM, Magnuson
(slashing) 4:43; Nia, Kasperek (interference) 5:01;
Nia, bench minor (unsportsmanlike conduct) 5:01;
Nia, Suuriniemi (hooking) 13:15; UM, Rominski
(holding) 13:18; Nia, Martin (high-sticking) 14:13;
UM, Crozier (tripping) 15:53; UM, Merrick (delay of
game) 17:03; Nia, Suuriniemi (slashing) 19:53; UM,
Berenzweig (cross-checking) 19:53.
Third period - 2. Nia, Isherwood 1 (unassisted)
9:37. Penalties - UM, Jillson (elbowing) 0:38; Nia,'
Murray (holding) 7:35; Nia, McDonald (hooking)
Shots on goal - Nia, 2-10.5 - 17; UM, &14-12 -
Power Plays - Nia, 0 of 5; UM, 0of 8.
Saves - Nia, Gardner 8-13-12 - 33; UM, O'Malley
2-9-4 - 15.
Referee - Jim Sotiroff.
Unesmen - Dave Kronenberg, Chris Davis.
At: Yost Ice Arena. A: 6,118


Michigan 6, Niagara 5
Niagara 1 3 1 0-5
Michigan 1 2 2 1-6
First period -1. Nia, MacKenzie i (Martin) 4:36,
ppg; 1. UM, Comrie 2 (Langfeld, Kosick) 15:28,.
ppg. Penalties-- UM, Rominski (interference) 3:41;-
Nia, Isherwood (high-sticking) 6:46; Nia, McDonald
(roughing) 6:56; UM, Kosick (hooking) 10:21; Nia,
Suuriniemi (roughing after whistle) 14:07; UM, -
Hayes (charging) 16:39; Nia, Sivonen (slashing)
18:14; UM, Gassoff (butt-ending, five-minute major).

1 Civil War, World War II, and the 1960s produced




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