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March 22, 1999 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-22

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-__The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 22, 1999 - 5B

'I

'S

I

' icers headed to Worcester with No. 5 seed in East I

1~.

a. '"
W ,

Denver
4 - East

V

By David Den Herder
Daily Sports Writer
After tearing through the
CCHA Tournament and watching
the maize and blue rise to the
rafters of Joe Louis Arena
Saturday night, the Michigan
hockey team was sure it had
secured a bid in the NCAA
Tournament.
The only questions were who
the Wolverines would play in the
first round - and where. The first
answer was fairly predictable. Not
surprisingly,, Michigan drew
WCHA Tournament champion
Denver in the opening round.
The second answer was a bit
more surprising. Michigan is
headed to Worcester, Mass. - as
a No. 5 seed in the East Regional.
"I think a lot of people expected
that we were going to Madison,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson
said after the NCAA selection
committee announced the field

yesterday. "But it looked like the
NCAA took the intraleague play
right out of the picture."
Of the four teams in the NCAA
that hail from the CCHA, none of
them are playing one another in
the first round. The same lack of
intraleague matchups is true for
the WCHA, Hockey East and the
ECAC.
As a result, three of the of the
four conference playoff champi-
ons are playing out of their region.
Along with Michigan and Denver
traveling to the East, Boston
College is headed to Madison for
the West Regional.
"It seems like it was based more
on the bracketing than the crite-
ria," said Berenson of the NCAA
placement. "I'm a little surprised,
but that's fine - we played out
east last year. I don't think we are
in love with Wisconsin any more
than we are with Worcester."
This season represents the ninth

consecutive year Michigan has
qualified for the tournament, but
the first time it has ever been seed-
ed lower than third. It's also the
first time the Wolverines have
been seeded in the East Regional.
Michigan captain Bubba
Berenzweig echoed Berenson's
sentiments.
"I actually thought we were
going to be in the West, but it real-
ly doesn't make much of a differ-
ence," Berenzweig said.
He added that playing an
unknown team is a plus for the
Wolverines.
. "I like the fact that we're not
playing anyone that we've seen all,
year," Berenzweig said. "I think it
will cause our team to prepare a
lot better."
If that's true, it can't be bad,
because Denver could be one of
the hottest teams in the league rid-
ing an eight-game winning streak
into the tournament.

"That's good and bad,"
Berenson said. "It's a challenge
for our team and it's a team we
haven't played so that's probably
good - it'll be a one-game shoot-
out. They've had a great run since
Christmas and we haven't had a
great run, but of late I think we
can play with anyone."
ALL IN THE FAMILY: When
Michigan and Denver take the ice
Friday at 8:30 p.m., there will be
more than one Comrie on the ice.
Aside from Michigan standout
and CCHA Rookie of the Year
Mike Comrie, brother and Denver
forward Paul Comrie will also be
in Worcester, attempting to elimi-
nate the Wolverines.
"We talked about (playing
against one another), but we
thought the odds were against us.
But it's something you have to
deal with now, and you know it's
going to be a good game,"
Comrie said.

Overalt record: 26-12-2
Conference: WCHA
Final conference standing: Third
How they made the NCAA toumey:
WCHA playoff champs
Players to watch:
Senior forward Paul Comrie
16-30-'46
Senior forward James Patterson
23-.17-40
Sophomore forward Mark Rycroft
19 - 17 - 36
Head coach:
George Gwozdecky
Notables:
Denver is led by Paul Comne, brother of
Michigan center Mike Cone. The
Pioneers defeated North Dakota in the
WCHA Tournament final.
New Hampshire
1 - East
Overall record: 29-6-3
Conference: Hockey East
Final conference standing: First
How they made the NCAA tourney:
Hockey East overall champs
Players to watch:
Senior forward Jason Krog
30 - 45 - 75
Junior forward Mike Souza
19 - 37 - 56
Sophomore goaltender Ty Conklin
15-1-1; 1.59 GAA
Head coach:
Dick Umile
Notables:
New Hampshire has never won an NCAA
title. In the two games against CCHA
opponents, the Wildcats defeated Lake
Superior, 5-2, and Miami, 4-1.

MARGARET MYERS/Daily
lichigan is seeded in the NCAA East Regional for the first
Ime in school history. The Wolverines will face Denver on
riday at 8:30 p.m.

1999 NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament

a c A..
P

1 New Hampshire

2 Michigan State

4 Denver

March 27
Worcester, Mass.

March 28
Madison, Wis.

March 26 f
Worcester, Mass.

3 Colorado College
March 27
Madison, Wis.
6 St. Lawrence

$

- Clarkson
2 - East

Finalist

5 Michigan

EAST

National Champion
The Frozen Four
Anaheim, Calif.
Semifinals, April 1
Finals, Apnl 3

WEST

3 Maine

4 Boston College

Overall record: 25-10-
Conference: ECAC
Final conference standing: First
How they made the NCAA tourney:
ECAC overall champs
ECAC playoff champs
Players to watch:
Sophomore forward Eric tole
15 -13 - 28
Senior forward Mikko Ollila
9-23-32
Senior forward Ben Maidment
12 - 17 - 29
Head coach:
Mark Morris
Notables:
Saturday marked the first ECAC playoff
championship for Clarkson since the
1992-93 season.

March 26
Worcester, Mass.

Finalist

I

March 27
Madison, Wis.
5 N. Michigan

16 Ohio State

March 27
Worcester, Mass.

March 28
Madison, Wis.

__

p
4

2 Clarkson

1 North Dakota

Four CCHA teams make tourney.
Ohio State, Northern land at-large bids; join Michigan, Michigan State

Colorado
College
3-East
Overall record: 28-11-1
Conference: WCHA
Final conference standing: Second
How they made the NCAA tourney:
At-large bid
Players to watch:
Senior forward Brian Swanson
24-36-60
Senior defenseman Scott Swanson
9-35-44
Freshman goaltender Jeff Sanger
2.52 GAA; .902 save pct.
Head coach:
Don Lucia
Notables:
Brian and Scott Swanson are not related.
With Brian leading the offense and Scott
leading the defense, Colorado College is
Swanson-set.

By Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Editor
When the CCHA's final four teams
:onvened at Joe Louis Arena in
Detroit to decide the conference's
p ff championship this past week-
, just one team had been assured
of' an NCAA berth - Michigan
State, whose regular season champi-
onship earned it a ticket.
But for Michigan, Ohio State and
Northern Michigan, their fate wasn't
is certain. And when Michigan
knocked both out of the CCHA
'ournament, the two bubble teams
had no recourse but to wait.
When the NCAA pairings were
figly announced yesterday after-
ON, though, the respect for the
CCHA came through as all four
eams were included in the bracket
- reinforcing the parity the confer-
ence has displayed all year long.
"When you're talking about your
)wn league, saying that we've got
such a great league, it sounds like
you're just blowing smoke about
your own neighborhood," Michigan
h Red Berenson said. "This was

the toughest and closest I can
remember our league competition,
and it's good that they gave our
league that respect."
Ohio State was likely the final at-
large team selected, despite finishing
above the Wildcats in the CCHA reg-
ular season.
The Buckeyes were ranked ahead of
Northern Michigan in the final
Pairwise Rankings, but the selection
committee would've been hard pressed
to take Ohio State and not the
Wildcats, who upset top seed
Michigan State in Friday's semifinals.
Both Ohio State coach John
Markell and Northern Michigan
coach Rick Comley made their last
pleas to the committee at their
respective post-game press confer-
ences, pointing out the strength of
the conference and their lack of a
sizable home schedule as reasons for
their bubble status.
And after non-conference champi-
on teams like Denver, Boston
College and Michigan snuck up and
stole an automatic berth by winning
its league tournament, there was just

barely enough room for two of the
CCHA's most underrated squads.
The NCAA selection committee
was so aware of the CCHA's national
presence that it avoided pitting
CCHA teams against each other in
first-round or quarterfinal action.
Last year, Michigan State and
Ohio State met in the CCHA final
and proceeded to clash again in the
quarterfinals, where the favored
Spartans were upset.
In the past, the committee placed a
high priority on keeping teams close
to home so that fans would have a
better chance of participating.
But this season, teams from all
over will be packing their travel
bags, just for the purpose of keeping
CCHA teams separated for as long as
possible.
"It looked like the NCAA took
intraleague play right out of the pic-
ture," Berenson said. "They tried to
bracket everyone so they wouldn't be
playing an intraleague team, and in
doing that they actually are traveling
three of the league championship
teams."

. r

St. Lawrence
6 - East

s

Overall record: 23-12-3
Conference: ECAC
Final conference standing: Second
How they made the NCAA tourney:
At-large bid
Players to watch:
Senior forward Bob Prier
20- 26 -46
Senior forward John Poapst
16 -27 -43
Senior goaltender Eric Heffler
2.35 GAA;.932 save pct.
Head coach:
Joe Marsh
Notables:
This is the first NCAA appearance for the
Saints since 1992. St. Lawrence is the
alma mater of Michigan State coach
Ron Mason.
Ohio State
6 - West
Overall record: 21-154

AP PHOTO
Hobey Baker finalist Mike York and the Spartans secured a No. 2 seed in the
West. Michigan, Northern Michigan and Ohio State also represent the CCHA.

..

North Dakota
1- west

i

Michigan State
2-West

ti

Maine
3 - west

Boston College
4- -West
kugera11 record: 25-11-4

N. Michigan
r - -West
Overall record: 22-14-S

- - - -- - -

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