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February 04, 1999 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-04

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 4, 1999 - 9A

DOWN THE STRETCH THEY*

COME

**

Teams battle for CCHA lead as playoffs approach

K

W Mark Francescutti
Daily Sports Writer
The race is on for playoff spots in
the CCHA, and this season's compe-
tition is hotter than ever. Six teams,
including Michigan are within nine
points of first
place. HOCKEY
Even the teams
in the depths of Commentary
the CCHA haven't
It themselves out. The bottom four
ads are all within four points of
each other, creating a battle in the
next month for the final playoff
spot. While it may not seem fair that
only the top eight teams enter the
CCHA tournament, all 11 teams
have a definite chance at the play-
offs. So, the CCHA's final month
will spur pressure and intensity,
from Michigan State down to
.Wska-Fairbanks. Here's a preview:
1. MICHIGAN STATE
14-2-5 CCHA, 20-3-5
overall, 33 points
Remaining Games (9 -5 home, 2
away, 2 neutral): at Notre Dame, vs.
Lake Superior (At Joe Louis Arena),
vs. Notre Dame, vs. Notre Dame, vs.
Michigan (at Joe Louis Arena), at
Ferris State, vs. Western Michigan, vs.
rris State, vs. Ferris State
The Spartans have battled to the
top position in the CCHA again this
season thanks to another strong
defensive effort. The Spartans lead
the conference in goals against,
allowing a mere 1.25 goals per
game.
But Michigan State has shown
. at even it has holes, like the
akdowns during this past Friday's
3-3 tie with Michigan.
The Spartans are mortal, and
while they rest in the top position,
several tough opponents wait in the
wings to take a shot.
Although the Spartans have only
two road games left, they have to
tango with two plus-.500 opponents
- Notre Dame and Ferris State -
three times each.
And they can't forget about their
st meeting with the Wolverines.
Michigan State will need its play-
ers healthy, strong production from
its senior line of Mike York and
Bryan Adams and at least 12 out of
a possible 18 points to maintain its
slim lead in the standings.

2. MICHIGAN
14-4-3, 31, 17-6-4
31 points

Remaining Games (9-4 home, 4
away,1 neutral): vs. Lake Superior,
vs. Ohio State, at Western Michigan, at
Western Michigan, vs. Michigan State
(at JLA), vs. Miami, vs. Miami, at
Lake Superior, at Northern Michigan
The Wolverines have shown that
they can compete with anyone in the
CCHA. Michigan has beaten every
opponent at least once this season.
It won't be an easy road, though.
Dangerous opponents, including
Michigan State and Ohio State, still
have a chance to prevent the
Wolverines from winning a CCHA
crown.
Michigan also ends the season on
a road trip to the Upper Peninsula, a
trip that will most likely decide
Michigan's playoff future. The
injury-less Wolverines, having fin-
ished their series with Ferris State
and Notre Dame, have a fine chance
to surpass the Spartans.

now have climbed to the third spot
in the CCHA.
Ohio State's top lines have clawed
back to where they were supposed
to be.
. But now the Buckeyes have to hit
the road again, and unless they can
cure their homesickness, Value City
Arena won't be hanging a CCHA
regular season championship banner
next October.

4. NOTRE DAME
12-6-2, 15-7-3
26 points

°0
v

3. ONIo STATE
13-6-3, 15-10-4,
29 points

Remaining Games (8 -3 home,
5 away): at Bowling Green, at
Michigan, at Northern Michigan, at
Northern Michigan, vs. Ferris State,
vs. Alaska-Fairbanks, vs. Bowling
Green, at Bowling Green.
Things weren't supposed to be
this way for the Buckeyes. The team
that everyone thought had the most
talented returnees, the team that had
a bright future in a brand new
17,000-plus capacity arena, had a
hard time getting out of the gate this
season
The builders of the Value City
Arena didn't finish the structure
until December, causing Ohio State
to play seven of its first nine games
elsewhere.
The results weren't pretty. The
Buckeyes dug themselves a huge
hole with a shocking 1-6-2 record in
that nine-game swing.
With injured players and top lines
struggling, hopes were slim in
Columbus.
The only cure for the common
road woes would be a trip home.
The Buckeyes, surging to a 10-1-1
home record since their shaky start,

Remaining Games: (10--5
home, 5 away): vs. Michigan State,
vs. Alaska Fairbanks, at Michigan
State, vs. Ferris State, at Michigan
State, at Bowling Green, vs. Northern
Michigan, vs. Northern Michigan, at
Miami, at Miami
The Fighting Irish have experi-
enced a schedule that no other
CCHA team can relate to - playing
many of the top teams in the nation.
Notre Dame fought to a grueling
tie against No. 7 Boston College,
squeezet by Northeastern and split a
series with No. I North Dakota ear-
lier this season. A team that wasn't
even considered a top CCHA team
last season all of a sudden became
one of the top teams in the nation at
9-0-2.
But the injury bug bit the Irish,
who at one point, lost five players. A
tough road loss to the Wolverines
added to Notre Dame's misery,
spawning a five-game conference
losing streak.
Answering the challenge, the
high-powered offense of the Irish
cruised to a six-game unbeaten
streak. Conference leaders in both
offensive production and power-play
percentage, the Irish are hard to
stop their teams let their guards
down.
Leading to the stretch run of the
season, Dave Poulin's squad faces
only three teams below .500, leaving
seven tough games, including three
meetings with Michigan State.

Although they are eight points out of
first place, the Wildcats can easily move
up to a better standing come playoff
time, especially with the fact that they
are the hottest team in the CCHA right
now. Their current nine-game unbeaten
streak is their best since 1991.
Freshman center Chad Theurer has 10
points during the streak, and goaltender
Dwayne Hoey has helped keep the
Wildcats close.
And like Michigan last season,
Northern Michigan hasn't lost its last
five one-goal games, an ability that is
key at the end of the season.
Always a dangerous team that has the
ability to beat anyone, the Wildcats
could surprise and shake up the confer-
ence standings before the season is
done.
6. FERRIS STATE
10-8-4, 11-10-5
24 points
Remaining Games (8 -2 home, 6
away): at Western Michigan, at Notre
Dame, at Ohio State, at Miami, vs.
Michigan State, vs. Bowling Green, at
Michigan State, at Michigan State
The Bulldogs have had an impressive
season. Not a usual power in the
CCHA, Ferris State has carved its one
niche in the race for the top of the
standings. Surprising some teams and
falling apart against others, the
Bulldogs' succeeded if the right squad
shows up.
Will it be the Ferris State team that
swashbuckled Michigan 4-0 and won a
road series against Northern Michigan?
Or will it be the team that has struggled
to a 0-3-2 record in the last five games?
The answer to these questions will help
shape Ferris State's position in the
upcoming playoffs.
Ferris State has as good of a chance
as ever, but will have to earn their stand-
ing with the toughest conclusion to their
schedule and a six-game road romp.
Still in the race
7. Bowling Green, 19
M' 8. Miami, 14
9. Lake Superior, 12
10. Ala.-Fairbanks, I1I
11. W Michigan, 10
Eight teams will make 'it to the
CCHA tournament, which means any
of these squads has a strong possibility.
Add to the fact that these teams have
a chance to crash the parties of one of
the first-place contenders, and the final
weeks of the season will feel like a war.

NCN
Team
Michigan State
Michigan
Ohio State
Notre Dame
Northern Michigan
Ferris State
Bowling Green
Miami (Ohio),
L.ake Superior
Alaska-Fairbanks
Western Michigan

w
14
14
13
12
11
10
8
5
5
5
2

CCHA

L
2
4
6
6
8
8
10
13,
13
16
13

T
5
3
3
2
3
4
3
4
2
1
6

IHA Standings

-P
33
31
29
26
25
24
19
14
12
11
10

FIday's Gamma
Lake Superior at Michigan
Michigan State at Notre Dame
Ohio State at Bowling Green
Alaska Fairbanks at Western Michigan

saturlay's Games
Ohio State at Michiga
Alaska Fairbanks at Notre Dame
Western Michigan at Bowling Green
Lake Superior at Michigan State

.ti.\ 3zeS .. _ i1WY131 rY wY .

CA Rankings
Team rankings in conference
games only.
G6

Team
1. Notre Dame
2. Michigan State
3. BowlingGreen
4. N. Micigan
5. Michigan
6. Ferris State
7. Ohio State
8. Miami (Ohio)
9. Alaska Fairbanks
10. Lake Superior
11. W. Michigan

21P
21
21
22
20
22
20
21
22
20
22
21

GP
19
0
19
20,
20
20
20
20
18
19'

No.
69
66
62
64
58
57
55
48
47
42
40

Goal dwi GLame

3.63
3.30
3.26
3.20
3.05
2.85
2.75
2.40
2.35
2.33
2.11
Avg
1.25
1.95
2.10
2.15
2.26
2.85
3.17
3.45
3.95
4.05
4.15

w
20
17
15
15
16
11
12
7
6
8
3

OVERALL
L T GP
3 5 28
6 4 27
10 4 29
7 3 25
9 3 28
10 5 26
12 3 27
16 5 28
17 3 26
17 1 26
16 6 25

'.. M, icket
Update
For those fans still interested in attend-
ing Yost Ice Arena for one of Michigan's
final home games, there's still hope.
The Michigan Ticket Office still has
standing room tickets available. Fans
can also wait in line an hour before each
game in hope of grabbing leftover tick-
ets from team families and staff that
are unable to attend. Sometimes as
many as 100 tickets remain, but are
only accessible to buy at the last hour.
There's a whole world
out therel
Thex#1 tour for 18-5vearColds

Team
1. Michipan State
2. Michigan
3. Ferris State
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. N. Michigan
7. Lake Suenror
8. Miami (Ohio)
9. Bowing Green
10. W. Michigan
11. Alaska Fairbanks
Pbo ePay Percent,
Team
1. Notre Dame
2. Bowling Green
3. Michigan
4. N. Michigan
5. W. Michigan
6. Ohio State
7. Fernis State
8. Lake Superior
9. Miami (Ohio)
10. Michigan State

GP
20
19
20
20
19
,2 0
18
20
19
19
20

No.
25
37
42
43
43
57
57
69
75
77
83

-da0ftL
Z4

5. NORTHERN MICHIGAN
11-8-3, 16-9-3
25 points

PPG
24
24
22
17
16
16
12
13
15

114
116
133
113
118
119
116
95
106
123;

Pig
.231
.207
.165
.150
.136
.134
.129
.126
.123
.122

EUROPE:
$670 EUROPEAN WONDER
$1045 EUROPEAN DiscovEr
AUSTRAUA:
$1055 BEACHESAND REEFS
AFRICA:
$1845 NAM IA CONTRASTS
These prices do not include taxes
and are land only.
rgvl
Council on International
Educational Exchange
1218 South University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734.998-0200
www cunci -tave.

Remaining Games (8 -5 home, 3
away): vs. Ohio State, vs. Ohio State,
vs. Lake Superior, at Lake Superior, at
Notre Dame, at Notre Dame, vs.
Western Michigan, vs. Michigan

I

SECOND

ANNUAL

It's that time of year again. I~i' Ie
arPractice your outside shot. "fi0 +:~ ~o"t';a« 'i'
Then come see how your skills ,', c +---------------" :i
.6a 4,, + f qrlla,!"+N If
(or luck) stack up against 60. ';
your peers. This competition ,+NM +. .............................. ..............................
is open to athletes of all n4 ,yf *. .° t ._ ; 4 " t. " ,+
V. 4.yb, "++. " a ,.awKr
levels (except student 'W,' u +a°w" ' ' ...4'~
athletes). If you are female, - .' ;or * "'*wk. a*.r "/"4) «f"
r; + +, t r . .a « w'4 $,1f' YY,.
,P N~ f Afs°# . #{ " #" at ! "sr ,,,~ like to shoot hoops, and are a r,+.,t.& W4~ fo ~r!.',f .' * "+wwr. F +e
student of this university, i , > a V:1604
we encourage you to give it e ,aer+,"f'VN" "! a!
ashot (pun intended). The a+ ' ei' r <<". _#sea f } 44. ,
winner takes an all-expense-Y Y R.N~
paid trip to Indianapolis ~.A;-m !L

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