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February 25, 2000 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

A HOBEY BAKER CANDIDATE?
Ten goals may not
set him apart.
But 40 assists have
made Shawn Horcoff
one of the prime can-
didates for this year's
Hobey Baker Memori-
al Trophy awarded to
college hockey's best
player.
t. Quietly and effec-
tively, the Michigan
State senior center has
moved into third place
on the country's total
points list.
Horcoff anchors the
Spartans' top line that
will square off against
Michigan's young but
talented first unit that
unites freshmen Jed
Ortmeyer and Andy
Hilbert with star cen-
ter Mike Comrie.
Shawn Horcoff Against Michigan
this year, Horcoff has had success. In the championship
game of the Great Lakes Invitational tournament, Horcoff
assisted on two of Michigan State's three goals - earning
hiniself GLI MVP honors
COMMENDED HERO
Only a sophomore,
Mike Comrie is touted
as one of the nations'
top players.
In fact, Comrie's
name is consistently
mentioned in Hobey
Baker conversation.
Night in and night
out opposing defenses
key in on the prolific
playmaker, looking to
shut him down - but
they've had little suc-
cess.
Comrie leads the
Wolverines with 47
points on the season
-' 17 goals and 30
assists. .
In Michigan's 2-0
victory over the Spar-
tans at Munn Ice
Arena, Comrie fed the
puck to linemate Mike Comrie
Hilbert on the Wolverines' second goal to put the Spartans
away for good.
THE DYNAMIC DUO
Last season Joe Black-
burn rewrote Michigan
State's hockey history
books, recording a .928
save percentage and a
nation-leading 1.55
goals against average
- the lowest total any
collegiate goaltender
posted in the '90s.
Blackburn had an
impressive season. Yet
that was not enough to
Ryan Miller guarantee him the start-
ing job this year.
Instead, even with a 10-5-1 record, he has been splitting time in
net with freshman Ryan Miller.
So what does that say about Miller?
Having amassed a 12-4-1 overall record thus far in an impres-
sive debut season, the freshman has silenced all doubters.
With two stellar netminders, Michigan State coach Ron Mason
is in an enviable position --he can and does alternate them night
after night. Mason has yet to announce who will start in goal
against the Wolverines, though all indicators point to Blackburn.
THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE
A 2-0 shutout at
Munn Ice Arena in his
first game back from
injury gave Josh Black-
burn his starting job
back.
In the Wolverines

dominating victory,
Blackburn made the key
saves, stopping 23 shots.
In early January, his
return to the lineup and
immediate immersion
gave Michigan added
momentum, which the
Wolverines are still rid-
ing.
Heading into tonight's Josh Blackburn
contest, Blackburn carries a 9-3-1 record with a 1.91 goals
against average.
For here on out, in order for the Wolverines to have a shot at
any titles, Blackburn must play his best hockey - a fact he him-
self has acknowledged.

"Offensively
Michigan has the
potential to destroy
you. Hopefully we'll
have our wits about
us in our zone. "
- Joe Blackburn
Michigan State junior goalie

"The first thing
they tell you when
you come here is
that you hate
,green. It's a rivalry
from day one"
- Mike Cammalleri
Michigan freshman forward

*

IF MICHIGAN
WINS
The Wolverines are calling this
the biggest game of the season.
And no one can argue with them.
If the Wolverines win, they are
guaranteed at least a tie atop the
regular season conference stand-
ings.
With 37 points, Michigan is only
two league points ahead of Michi-
gan State.
Because tomorrow's game at Joe
Louis Arena does not count toward
these all-important conference
standings, if the Wolverines win
tonight, they would need only one
point the following weekend to
clinch sole possession of the regu-
lar season conference champi-
onship. Michigan would also
receive an automatic bid to the
NCAA tournament.
A victory tonight would mean
that the Wolverines will go into the
final weekend of conference play
four points ahead of the Spartans.
The Wolverines face Bowling
Green March 3-4 in a home-and-
home series to finish out the regu-
lar season.Michigan and Michigan
State have already locked up spots
in the CCHA tournament.
The tournament invites the top
10 out of the 12 conference teams.
Each team has also secured
home ice advantage for the first
round of the conference tourna-
ment.
The CCHA first round will take
place March 10-12 at campus sites.
The semi-finals and finals will take
place at the Joe on March 17-18.
If last weekend was any indication
of what's to come for the Wolver-
ines, another tie would be in Michi-
gan's future.
The Wolverines returned from
Northern Michigan securing neither
a win or a loss, but two ties.
It was these two ties that lessened
the Wolverines' conference lead
over the Spartans, who swept Alas-
ka-Fairbanks to climb in the stand-
ings.

IF MICHIGAN
LOSES
A loss would not only strip the
Wolverines of their pride, but it
could possibly cost them the regular
season conference championship.
With a victory, Michigan State
would tie the Wolverines in the
CCHA standings heading into the
final weekend of conference play.
This would mean that both teams
would set all their marbles on the
table in their last weekend of the
season. The team that comes out of
the final weekend of play with the
most points would clinch the regu-
lar-season conference champi-
onship and the automatic berth to
the NCAA tournament.
Michigan's opponent, Bowling
Green, has already caused trouble
for the Wolverines this season. The
ninth-place Falcons defeated
Michigan once this season, and the
Wolverines don't want to give them
the opportunity to do it again.
The Spartans face Notre Dame in
their last two conference matchups.
The Fighting Irish, ranked fifth in
the CCHA, have also taken one
from Michigan State this season.
With a Michigan loss, Northern
Michigan would also have a chance
to make its way back into the race.
The Wildcats have 32 points
going into this weekend with four
games remaining.
If Northern can capture two vic-
tories at Miami this weekend, it
would place the Wildcats only one
point behind the two conference
leaders going into the final weekend
of conference play.
If that scenario arises, the CCHA
champion will be decided through
those final games.
This weekend, lower Michigan
hockey fans will be captivated with
the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.
But Upper Peninsula natives will
watch another .decisive conference
rivalry play out when Northern
Michigan faces Lake Superior State
in a matchup that could have far-
reaching implications.

"Years from now, all
people will
remember is how
well your team did.
We're excited for
this game."
- Shawn Horcoff
Michigan State senior center
"if you're not ready
to play this game,
you shouldn't come
to school - or
come to school
here. This is why
you come to
Michigan."
- Red Berenson
Michigan hockey coach

eq

0

"It's a big game.
Neither team's
going to leave
anything off the ice.
We'll be ready."
-- Brad Hodgins
Michigan State senior defenseman

IF MICHIGAN TIES
Three weeks ago, the Spartans had
been struggling and falling fast
through the ranks. In fact, at that
time they didn't think they'd finish
higher than fifth place.
Even though the Wolverines
wouldn't lose any ground to the
Spartans if the teams tie, that result
may be damaging anyway.
The two teams would remain only
two points apart heading into the
final weekend of play.

"We know what to
expect and they
know what to
expect. There's a
lot of pride and a
lot of meaning to
these games."
- Mike Comrie
Michigan sophomore center

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