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September 08, 1998 - Image 63

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-08

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HOCKEY

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 8. 1998 - 5E

All that
matters is
,final result
heMichigan hockey team did a
T clot of losing in the 1997-98 sea-
son. But, in the end, who really
cares?
The Wolverines dropped their first
game at Yost Ice Arena in 36 games.
They lost to Michigan State four
times, including the Great Lakes
Invitational championship game -
*Michigan's first time falling short of
*at title in a decade.
The Wolverines didn't win the
CCHA. Even when they had a chance
to capture the conference playoff
┬░crown, they fell short to upstart Ohio
State in the semifinal round.
Does any of that matter? None of
those losses - none of them - will
jbe remembered by the players, coach-
es; or especially the fans. The short-
*omings of last season will be totally
Wped clean from memory.
An NCAA Championship will do
that for you. It
cleanses the
brain, makes all
the good memo-
ries seem lucid
and clear while
erasing the bad
ones.
SHARAT There were
AJU plenty of good
harat memories.
In the Dark Really good
ones.
Goaltender
"Marty Turco shattered the NCAA all-
time victories record. Michigan rallied
from two goals behind against defend-
ing champion North Dakota - twice
in the NCAA West Regional cham-
pionship game in Ann Arbor.
The young Michigan defense shut
town the high-octane New Hampshire
offense behind blueliner Bubba
Berenzweig's heroics in the national
semifinal game in Boston.
All those memories would be won-
4erful keepsakes for any ordinary sea-
son. But nothing -nothing - will
top that April 4 evening at the
FleetCenter when Josh Langfeld found
the back of the Boston College net in
overtime, threw off his helmet and
'ped into the arms of his teammates
-that's what will stand out vividly.
The silent Boston crowd. The jubi-
lant Michigan fans who made the road
trip.
Turco and captain Matt Herr
pounding on the glass towards the
Michigan crowd.
The scene still lingers for old
Michigan fans.
But for new Michigan fans, there
l more memories in store for the
next four years.
There will be more scenes like the
one in Boston. There will be more
,astonishing performances and heart-
breaking finishes.
This team will fill you up with
hope and emotion, but will drain you
of all energy and optimism - often,
in a single weekend series. New mem-
ories will be made with friends at Yost
nd across the nation, taunting refer-
Us and opposing goalies. Will the
memories be as easily remembered as
the spring of '98 was? No one knows,
obviously.

Now is an exciting time to be a
Michigan hockey fan. Instead of being a
time of new beginnings, now is merely
a continuation of its dominance in col-
lege hockey. With 10 freshmen on the
roster last season, the Wolverines were
pposed to let the rest of the NCAA
Mtch up to their level.
Too bad no one told Michigan
coach Red Berenson. He knew his
team wasn't as experienced or talented
as the other top squads. He said it
often, as a matter of fact.
But his team showed that hard
work can never be underestimated,
sever be doubted in athletics. And in
life. Michigan hockey embodies all
that is the University - if you work
0rd, good things will happen.
Hopefully, for Michigan hockey
fans, good things will continue to hap-
pen.
- Sharat Raju is a Daily Sports
editor He can be reached via e-mail
at at sraju@umich.edu.

Former freshmen set an
extraordinary standard

By SharatRa
Daily Sports Editor
BOSTON - It's going to be all downhill now
for the freshmen.
After winning an NCAA championship, the
remainder of their careers might be anti-climactic.
But for now, the 10 freshmen who grew up and
lived together for an entire season can revel in their
most recent accomplishment - the national title.
"I'm so happy," freshman forward Mark Kosick
said. "When I came down here I didn't know what
to expect. I didn't know one player on the whole
team. I met all the freshmen and they're all my best
friends. I have friends at home, but these are all my
best friends now."
The Wolverines, stacked with 10 freshmen this
season, appeared to be skating on thin ice. And
when the postseason started, it seemed logical that
Michigan would be led by its battle-tested seniors.
Logic doesn't always work in sports, however.
All three Michigan goals in the championship
game were scored by freshmen. Mark Kosick
recorded the two regulation goals and Josh
Langfeld netted the game-winner in overtime.
"I just shot it low, it went into the net - and
we're national champions," Langfeld said.
All season, the freshmen have grown and built
themselves into strong players. The upperclassmen
have often said that during the season they were no
longer freshmen, that they were playing with a
maturity beyond their years.
Langfeld, who started the season as one of the
marquee newcomers, was in somewhat of a slump
in the second half of the season. The big forward
recorded 19 goals and 18 assists and was named to
the all-CCHA second team. Although only making
the second team upset the Coon Rapids, Minn.
native, Langfeld got his redemption with the game-
winner.
Other freshmen came up huge in the champi-
onship game as well, especially on the defensive
end. Defenseman Dave Huntzicker was a force all
season, playing on the first line with Bubba
Berenzweig. On numerous occasions, the Ann
Arbor native was the lone defender in the Michigan
zone and refused to get beat, keeping himself
between (Boston College forward Marty) Reasoner
and his own net.
"We've played these kind of games all year,"

Huntzicker said. "They had us on our heels a little
bit, but we knew that all it takes is one shot to win
it."
Two other freshmen defensemen, Mike Van Ryn
and Scott Crawford, also played significant roles on
defense. Van Ryn, arguably the best offensive
defensemen (with apologies to Berenzweig), con-
tinued his strong play until sustaining a concussion
late in Saturday's game.
The all-CCHA rookie team selection Van Ryn
recorded 18 points on the season along with scoring
five assists in a single game, against Colgate back
on Oct. 18.
And when Van Ryn went down with the con-
cussion, the little-used Crawford stepped up and
filled his shoes during the overtime.
While the freshmen blueliners were the biggest
question marks heading into the season, the for-
wards weren't necessarily a sure thing either.
Although the coaches knew that Langfeld would be
a force offensively, the other freshmen were virtual
shots in the dark.
And as the season developed, the coaches soon
found out that Kosick, Geoff Koch and Scott
Matzka were each scoring threats. Kosick's achieve-
ments were well-known, earning him a spot on the
all-CCHA rookie team. Koch, Langfeld and
Matzka - the freshman line - proved to be
invaluable to coach Red Berenson. He felt secure
pairing that line up with any other line in the coun-
try.
"I didn't feel uncomfortable playing them
against Reasoner's line, which might be one of the
best lines in the country," Berenson said. "But that
line can skate."
Another unsung Michigan freshman this season
was Bill Trainor. Trainor was an instrumental part of
the second penalty-kill unit.
Michigan's penalty kill was somewhat effective
allowing a single power play goal in four chances.
As outstanding as the freshmen have played this
season, the coaches attribute much of their success
to the more experienced Wolverines.
"I think our upperclassmen did a great job of
taking them under their wing, as well as coach
Berenson," Michigan assistant coach Mel Pearson
said. "I'm just happy for them. We keep talking how
it could be anybody and that we're a chain-link.
You're only as strong as your weakest links."

JOHN KRAFT/Daily
Mark Kosick and nine other freshmen from last year's Michigan hockey team decided to skip a rebuild-
ing year and take the national championship instead. Kosick scored two goals in the title game.

Defense is name of
game for 'Bubba'

By Fred Link
Daily Sports Writer
At the age of two, young Andrew
Berenzweig was already quite an enter-
taining child. Ever since he was a baby,
Andrew had done things that were a lit-
tle bit different.
"I would do all sorts of stupid and
funny things," Berenzweig recalled.
"Like, I jumped into a pool not knowing
how to swim. And people had to save
me. Things like that."
And so when he visited his relatives
in Texas, his uncle came up with a nick-
name for Andrew - Bubba.
"My uncle told my father that he had
the perfect nickname for me, and it hap-
pened to be 'Bubba,"' Berenzweig said.
"My dad liked it so much he put it on my
hockey helmet at age five and ever since
people have been calling me Bubba. And
now my mom doesn't even know who
Andrew is anymore when people call me
at home and ask for Andrew."
Off the ice, this year's captain still
has the same sense of humor that made
Bubba such a perfect nickname. In the
lockerroom, Berenzweig can be counted
on to relax his teammates before games.
"He adds a lot to the team," said
Matt Herr, last year's Wolverine captain.
"Sometimes the team is nervous and you
can always depend on Bubba to lighten
up the mood a little. Sometimes it's good,
sometimes it's bad - he's still working
on his timing."
When he's playing hockey, however,
Berenzweig's personality is different.
"I'm pretty intense on the ice,
Berenzweig said. "I'm pretty focused
when I'm playing. Away from hockey, I
need to be kind of a clown and really
relaxed - otherwise I think I'd go
insane. Because if I was as intense about
life as I am about hockey I'd go nuts."
To those who know him, there's more
to Berenzweig's personality than just the
intense hockey player and the light heart-
ed guy in the locker room. To his friends,
Bubba has a serious side.
"He's got a lot of sides to him,"
Berenzweig's housemate Bobby Hayes

said. "Bubba's a great friend of mine. If
you have any problems, Bubba has a
solid head on his shoulders, and you can
talk to him about anything.
"He's always good to be around
whether it's for serious issues or just to
hang out and be comical," Hayes said.
And for Berenzweig, friendship is
one of the most important reasons that he
chose to play college hockey rather than
junior hockey.
"The most relaxing thing for me is
just hanging out with friends,"
Berenzweig said. "That's why I chose
college and prep school and the route
I've gone. The best part of college is
being around friends such as the people
of this team."
When Berenzweig came to Michigan
as a highly touted recruit from Loomis-
Chaffee Prep School in Connecticut, his
decision making was sometimes less
than ideal. Like jumping into the swim-
ming pool as a child, Berenzweig had a
tendency to take unnecessary risks.
"There were times in his career
where he's been off the wall," Michigan
coach Red Berenson said. "He's done
things that I couldn't believe, and he
realized it too."
In his first two years, at Michigan,
Berenzweig played a supporting role on
an experienced defense. His freshman
year, he was paired with senior Steve
Halko, Michigan's most consistent
defenseman.
"When Bubba came up as a fresh-
man, he played well for us," Berenson
said. "And he played with Steven Halko,
I think he gained a lot of confidence and
a lot of experience playing with a guy like
Halko. And with the team we had, going
all the way - that was a great way to
start a college hockey career."
As a sophomore, Berenzweig's role
on the team expanded, but on a defense
which featured four seniors, Berenzweig
wasn't counted on to be a leader.
With experienced players to back
him up, Berenzweig often took chances
pinching in or joining the rush. And
often, he was caught up ice, giving oppo-

MARGARET MYERS/Daily
Defenseman Andrew "Bubba" Berenzweig helps guide his younger team members on the ice in practice and was given more
freedom last year to play offensively.

nents excellent scoring chances.
This season, however, things have
been different. With the graduation of
four senior defensemen, Michigan was
left with only three experienced players
on the blue line.
As a result, Berenzweig has been
called on to take on a much larger role
and he's responded.
"This was Bubba's year to step up
and lead our defense," Berenson said.
"And I think in the second half of the
season, Bubba developed and played so
much better than he has ever played
before. He's really starting to mature as a
defenseman. Now he has his game under
control more and he is becoming a real
force on our defense."
With four freshman defensemen on
the team, Berenzweig changed from stu-
dent to teacher. At different points during
the year, Berenzweig was paired with
freshmen Bob Gassoff, Scott Crawford
and Dave Huntzicker. And Berenzweig
took it upon himself to help his partner

adapt to playing college hockey.
"My first two years, I was expected
to sit back a little bit and to observe the
older guys," Berenzweig said. "I learned
a lot from them, especially how to play
defense. My role this year has been a lot
different. I'm not observing as much any
more as I am showing people?'
Berenzweig also was more assertive
in the lockerroom.
"He's not afraid to say what needs to
be said," Herr said. "Some guys will just
sit back, but if there's a problem, Bubba
will address it."
Berenzweig has also been a leader by
example. He has been more responsible
defensively and has been the physical
presence on the blue line that the
Wolverines need.
And even when he makes mistakes,
he has the speed and the strength to
recover.
"Coach has always been on him for
the past few years about how he's a high-
risk defenseman;" Herr said. "But I think

in the last year, Bubba has really learned
when to go and when to stay back. He's
really learned how to adjust his game to
the way coach wants him to play."
As he's become more responsible,
Berenzweig has been given more free-
dom to move up in the play offensively.
"This year, I'm allowed to do more
with the puck," Berenzweig said.
"Rumor has it that every once in a while
when I get the puck, the players will hear
coach say 'go Bubba go' I don't know if
that's true, but I get the feeling that I'm
allowed to do more offensively."
Late in the season, with Sean Peach
out with his third concussion of the sea-
son, Berenzweig played nearly half of
each game - extraordinary in hockey.
And with the added responsibility,
Berenzweig played some of his best
hockey of the year.
"I see him as an important factor on
our team," Berenson said. "If Bubba
doesn't play well, we're not going to
win."

Michigan surprises opposition with ninth title

CHAMPS
Continued from Page 1E
like captain Matt Herr and assistant captain Bill
Muckalt were bottled up by the Boston College
defense.

Wolverines. Kosick banged away at a Bubba
Berenzweig rebound and deflected the puck off
Clemmensen's mask - after the netminder went
down to block Berenzweig's initial shot.
After Michigan's score, it was Turco who took
over for the Wolverines, as the goaltender virtually,

This time, Fox sent a puck goal-bound, which was
redirected by Muckalt. Stopped by Clemmensen,
the puck came out to Kosick, who again took
advantage of being in the right place at the right
time, knotting the game at two.
"Mark Kosick showed a lot of resilience for a
vn 1 id Par~~crnn said "rnminp in and nhavin

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... . .......
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