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February 21, 2000 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-21

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 21 , 2000

Puck talk
"I'm surprised that both teams could
play with this much emotion and this
much intensity two nights in a row,
but they did.i
- Michigan coach Red Berenson on the
Wolverines two ties this weekend.

Michigan 1
Northern Michigan 1

hI Michigan

2

Key play
Saturday, 9:40 into the third period.
Afterfalling behind 2-0, with less than
one minute played in the third period the
Wolverines stormed back to get the tie.
Freshman Jed rtmeyer tied the game
with just over 10 minutes remaining

-- Northern Michigan 2

The Michigan Daily hockey writers' picks
for the three stars of the
weekend:
- JosH BACKeuRN-
GoALtENDER
The sophomore netminder stopped 55
shots over the weekend, induding an
impressive 34 shots on Friday night.
- JED ORTMEYER -
LEFT WING
Scored the game-tying goal against the
Wildcats on Saturday night midway
through the third period.
- JOSH LANGFELD -
RiGwr WING
His power play goal in the first period of
Friday's game was enough to give the
Wolverines a point on the night

Blackburn keys 'M' in
'playoff' atmosphere

By Geoff Gagnon
Daily Sports Writer

n ncnagn .3., Nnerm micnim 1 a
Michigan 1 0 0 0-1
Northem 0 0 1 0-1
Nt pedod -1. UM, langfeid (Shouneyia, Peach),
11:18 (pp).
Penalties - NMU, Holly (slashing), 3:22; UM, Mink
(cross-checking), 4:53; NMU, Riipi (obstruction-hook-
ting), 10:51; UM, Blackburn (interference), 11:28;
NMU, vigier (interference), 12:32.
Second peiod - no scoring.
Penalties - NMU, Stutze i(high-sticking), 11:47; UM,
Kosick (tripping), 13:08; UM, Kosick (high-sticking),
17:52.
-Tid peiod-1. NMU, Vigier (Schmidt), 17:16 (pp).
Penalties - NMU, Vigier (high-sticking), 9:15;UM,
ilison(interference), 15:51; NMU, Team(delaying the
game), 17:16.
Shots on goal - UM, 12-742- 30; NMU, 8-12-10-5
-36.
PowerPtays--UM,1of6;NMU,1of 5.
Saves- UM. Blackburn 8-12-95-- 34; NMU,
Ragusett, 11-7-9-2 - 29.
R ee e-Brent Rutherford
Unesm en - Paul DePuydtPaul Tunison
At Berry Events Center
Attendance: 3,894

MARQUETTE - With the deaf-
ening clatter of milk-jug noisemak-
ers ringing in his ears Friday night,
Michigan goaltender Josh Blackburn
single-handedly quieted the roar of
4,000 people in Northern Michigan's
Berry Events Center.
With the Wolverines leading 1-0
halfway through the second, and
Northern Michigan threatening from
every angle, Blackburn kept
Michigan ahead - frustrating the
Wildcats with a series of desperation
saves that defined the very essence
and importance of this weekend's
matchups.
If the Northern Michigan fans lin-
ing the concourse of their new Berry
Events Center didn't give it away, a
glance at the conference standings
certainly did - for all intents and
purposes Michigan entered the play-
offs this weekend.
And Michigan coach Red
Berenson knows it.
"I really consider these playoff-
type games," Berenson said. "These
games are so important for so many
reasons, they really are like the play-
offs."
Michigan is hoping that this week-
end's pair of ties against Northern
Michigan will not be a foreboding
sign of things to come.
The Wolverines would rather that
the only sign of the road ahead will
be in the play of Blackburn, who
helped Michigan keep moving when
its offense stalled. With over 90
scoreless minutes between
Michigan's lone score on Friday and
its third-period strike on Saturday,
Blackburn gave Michigan a chance
to win both nights by keeping things
close.
"He really kept us going tonight
and all weekend long," defenseman
Jeff Jillson said. "He blocked some
shots that saved the game at times for
us. He kept us in it when we were
down and played the type of game we
need him to play."

This weekend's games showed
what the Wolverines already knew -
that Blackburn is the indispensable
sparkplug in Michigan's late season
push. In a stretch of games where
every shot matters, perhaps nobody
will matter more than Blackburn.
"I know these games matter more
than most," Blackburn said. "This
weekend is the start of the playoffs as
far as we're concerned."
Fighting for the CCHA's top spot,
Michigan has found itself in a famil-
iar role - and so has Blackburn.
After marshalling Michigan's
post-season charge a year ago by
winning five games on a .919 save
percentage, Blackburn finds himself
in a position again where every shot
has the potential to decide games,
and every game can decide a season.
And in this atmosphere of height-
ened importance, perhaps nobody
will be as watched as the soft-spoken
Nebraskan in between the pipes for
Michigan.
"Blackburn's play is going to be
huge for us from here on out," Jillson
said.
"He's been important for us all
along but in the next few weeks he's
going to be what decides a lot of
games."
If Blackburn's workman-like
approach hasn't bought him praise,
his numbers certainly should. Since
returning from foot-surgery in
January, the netminder has led
Michigan to eight wins that have cat-
apulted the Wolverines into first
place in the conference.
He has held opponents to less than
two goals per game since debuting
with a shutout against Michigan
State in East Lansing, and now ranks
as the second-best goalie in the con-
ference with a .922 save percentage
in a dozen games played.
All of this from a sophomore that
has yet to play 15 games this season,
and still walks with a slight limp.
The former CCHA All-Rookie
honoree has shed any hint of inexpe-
rience while defining himself as the
driving force in Michigan's impend-

Michigan 0 0 2 0-2
Northem 1 0 1 0-2
Fist petod -1. NMU, Cockburn (Phillips, Gobert),
1:43.
Penaties - UM, Langfeld (high-sticking), 2:11: NMU,
Trudeau (high-sticking), 2:11; NMU, Theuer (tripping),
4:05; UM, Hlbert (roughing after the whistle), 7:29:
NMU, Owens (roughing after the whistle), 7:29:;tUM,
Jilson (hooking).9:59; NMIUBarabanoff (elbowing),
12:52; NMU, Vigier (interference), 2:28.
Second period -no scoring.
Penates-UM,.Comrie(stashing),.0:28;:UM, Jilson
(tripping), 2:09: NMVU. Vigier (interference), 2:28: NMU,
Vigier (interference), 7:52: NMU, Connolly (cross-check-
ing), 9:14; UM, Ji son (10-minute misconduct), 10:10;
NMVU, Owens (slashing), 1:51; NMU, Oens (high-stick-
ing), 15:34;UM, Fraser (interference), 18:22.
Third peiod -2. NMU, Jackson (Vigier, Theuer), 0:28 1.
UM. Jillson (Kosickx). 7:31; 2. UM. Ortmeyer (Comrie.
'Hilbert), 9:40.
Penalties-- NMU. Gobert (high-sticking), 7:28; tUM,
Camnmalleri (high-sticking), 7:28; NMU, Jackson (tripping),
1230.
Overtme - no scoring.
Scts an goal - NMU 5-6111- 23:.tUM, 7-13-10-1
PowrPays - NMU 0 of 3; UM 0 of 10.
Saves- NMU, Ragusett 7-13841- 29; UKM
Blackburn 4-610-1- 21.
Referee - Brent Rutherford
Unesmien - Paul Tunison, Paul DePuydt.
At: Berry Events Center
Attendance: 3,919

JESSICA JOHNSON/Daly
Michigan goalie Josh Blackburn will be looked upon to key Michigan's late season charge just as he sparked the Wolverines
this weekend in Marquette. Although the sophomore netminder did not record a victory he did make 55 saves.

ing run for a national title.
"He's our backbone, without a
doubt," Jillson said.
"His play will determine how we
perform from here on out."
For Blackburn, though, the
prospect of an enlarged role and the

approaching playoffs has the second-1
year netminder brimming with the
anticipation and confidence of a vet-
eran -- clearly he knows his pur-
pose.
"These next few weeks are very
important, that's obvious,"

Blackburn said.
"It really is like the playoffs and I
know that means I have to give my
team my best effort every game I
need to put us a position to win us
games and maybe steal us a few
We need to do whatever it takes."

Ragusett, Wildcats shutdown
revitalized Michigan offense

A win on Fn
would assure
for the regula

Friday:vs. Michigan State,
7:35 p.m.
Saturday: vs. Michigan State
at Joe Louis Arena, 7:05
p.m.
day against Michigan State
the Wolverines at least a tie
ar season CCHA crown.

By Uma Subramanian
Daily Sports Writer
MARQUETTE - When it was all said and
done, only one man had stood in its way.
In stylish fashion, Dan Ragusett, an unherald-
ed Marquette native, quietly and efficiently
silenced a prolific Michigan offense en route to
earning Northern Michigan a pair of ties with
the Wolverines. And he prevented Michigan
from clinching the CCHA regular-season crown.
Prior to the weekend series with the Wildcats,
Michigan had been in control of its own destiny.
Had it won either contest, the team would have
had a three point lead over Michigan State head-
ing into the final lap of the conference race.
But Ragusett had other things in mind, stop-
ping 58 Michigan shots while only permitting
three goals on the weekend.
Instead of deciding a conference champion
the weekend series only served to make the con-
ference battle tighter at the top.
"Ragusett played great this weekend and
made the big saves," said Michigan goalie Josh
Blackburn, who was also influential in the con-
tests.
But Ragusett's play was important not only
because of its CCHA implications, but because
it placed a dent in Michigan's goal-scoring
resurgence that began a week ago when the
Wolverines scored 16 goals in a home series
with Western Michigan.
Against Northern Michigan though, the
Wolverines struggled offensively -- but not
from a lack of trying. -
For the umpteenth time this season, Michigan
had its offensive chances but could not convert
on its opportunities - in this case, due in large

part to Ragusett.
In Friday night's 1-1 tie, Michigan's Mark
Kosick blasted a brilliant shot toward Ragusett.
The puck was on its way in until Ragusett made
an improbable diving save, deflecting the puck
away from the net -- leaving the game knotted
at one goal apiece.
The next night, Ragusett continued to frus-
trate as he turned away shot after shot.
"To be honest, I didn't expect them to shoot as
much as they did," Ragusett said. "In my posi-
tion, it's such a mental game. You are just w -
ing and they're trying to crack your shell.
was very comfortable tonight.
"We played good this weekend. This just goes
to show that we can play with teams like
Michigan. We had something to prove" after
being swept last weekend by the Spartans.
But while Ragusett played a good game on
Saturday, Michigan came back with two goals in
the final stanza to tie the contest.
"Both games were really tough,"'Michigan
defenseman Jeff Jillson said. "It was a g
weekend by both teams -- two great games. A
lot of people talk about our talent and skill level,
but that's not what wins the hockey games.
"It's all about grit and heart and hard work
and being able to pull games out like this. Our
team showed great pride and heart this week-
end."
Michigan did show a lot of heart, but so did
Northern.
Besides the outstanding goaltending on both
ends, perhaps the -most striking aspect of the
series was the similarity between the two tea.
"It was a great series because the teams were
very evenly matched," Northern Michigan coach
Rick Comley said.

No. Wisconsin (25-6-1)de.
def, Ak-Anchorage,5-0

No. 2 BostonUW*erslly(0-7-6) def.Boston
Colege4-; osttoProvidee52;der
Pnvidene, 4-3.
No.3 North Dakota (22-7-3)1def MinnDulut-) .
10-); del. Mina.-Diudth4
,N. 4 Boston Colege (20-9-1) lost to Boston
University, 4-1; lost to New Hampshr, 4-1; cdef.
New HaMpshit, 4t
No. SMichigan(22-7-3).tied NorthernMichigan
f-1; tied NorthernMichigan, 2-2. -
No.6 New Hampsnre(20-7-5)det Boston
Colege,4-1; lost to Boston College,4-1
No.7 Maine (19-7-4}de.Mass-Lowe +I,4-1; de
Mass,-Lowek,4-3.
No.8 Mkhlgan State (22-9.2)cde. Akabanks,
3-1; del Akairbanks, 5-2
No.9 St.Lawrence (18-7-2) def.Harvard, 4-2 lost
to Brown, 6-0.
No.10 Rensselaer (17-10-2) lost to Colgate, 5-4;
lost to Cornell, 3-2

JESSICA JOHNSON/Daily
Northern Michigan goaltender Dan Ragusett matched Michigan goalie Josh Blackburn punch for punch
this weekend. Ragusett kept the Wildcats slim conference title hopes alive by stopping 58 shots.

Team
Michgan
Michigan State
Northern Michigan
Lake Superior
Notre Dame

W
17
17
14
14
11

L T
5 3
7 1
6 4
8 2
9 6

CCHA
CPts G
3 2
35 2
1 32 2
30 2
28 2

GP
5
5
4
4
6

GF GA
102 56
75 37
80 56
60 52
60 69

w
22
22
19
15
14

L
7
9
9
13
15

T
3
2
4
2
7

OVERALL

Help select the finalists for college hockey's most prestigious
honor, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
Anyone can vote! Only one vote per day, but voting is
unlimited. And remember - this year, tan voting for the
Hobey on USCHO will be added to the official ballots of the
nation's coaches to select this year's finalists. To cast a vote
visit: www.uscollegehockey.cornt

W R
i I rr ' ..,.yt 4,
}
;
1, f,
? is

NORTHERN
Continued from Page 18
"In a way it was a reverse scenario of last
night," Berenson said. "It was a good test of
character coming back from 2-0. I like the way
we competed tonight"
On Friday night, it was the Wolverines who
stopped themselves - with a little help from
Ragusett.
Even with 30 shots on goal, the Wolverines
could only manage to squeeze one through the

The Wolverines many scoring chances in the
next two periods were denied by the stellar
play of Ragusett, but it looked as though
Langfeld's goal would be enough for the victo-
ry.
But with Jillson once again watching'n
the penalty box, the Wildcats tied the score
with three minutes left to go in the game.
Oddly enough, the Wolverines frustration
quickly turned into hope as 2,000 milk bottle
rattles were thrown onto the ice in celebration.
The Wildcats were handed a two-minute bench

'

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