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March 13, 2000 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-13

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I

4B - The Michigan Daily --SportsMonday - March 13, 2000
Puck talk Ped.°,AKey play
When you're ahead In a big playoff Fday, 6:01 into the first period.
game, it's like being in a fight with
Bobby Gassoff. If you get him down, T Michigan 4 Michigan 6 A streaking Scott Matzka takes a brilliant
don't eer let him up." Mpass from Geoff Koch, and outskating
Bronco defenders, carries the puck all the
- Michigan coach Red Berenson on the Western IC an Michigan way down the ice, blasting it past Western
Wolverines'playoffstrategy. ente ch es 'WesternM'neaaindJff Reynaert
'hMiJ saofI Weekend teaches'M valuable playoff lessons

By Geoff Gagnon
Michigan coach Red Berenson has
seen his share of playoff games as both a
coach and a player. He's also been wit-
ness to a number of on-ice bouts
throughout the career of defenseman
Bob Gassoff
Likening the two seemed oddly appro-
priate for the venerable skipper after
Saturday's playoff series clinching win
over Western Michigan.
"When you're ahead in a big playoff
game it's a lot like being in a fight with
Bobby Gassoff," Berenson said of
Michigan's notorious enforcer.
"If you get him down, don't ever let
him up."
It's an illustration that Michigan could
have stood to hear before the series
began on Friday.
After jumping out to grab a 3-0 lead
over the Broncos, the top-seeded
Wolverines appeared to be in control of
the series opener. That was until a pair of

Western Michigan goals brought the
Broncos new life, as they pulled to with-
in one goal with 15 minutes left to play
in the game.
Stunned to have let Western Michigan
sneak back into the matchup, Berenson's
team rallied to stave off the upset-mind-
ed Broncos, adding a Scott Matzka goal
in the game's waning moments to close
the door.
But despite the win, the game left
Michigan noticeably shaken with a real-
ization, Berenson said, that perhaps they
took the opponent too lightly.
"They're a better team than we gave
them credit for," Berenson said on
Friday. "And we're not as good as they
gave us credit for. We don't feel good
about this game."
But what the Wolverines say they can
feel good about is what the experience
may have taught them.
Playing again with a two goal lead on
Saturday, Michigan saw the Broncos
attempt to draw the same scenario after a
score from John Rumble brought

Tuesdays No. 7 Nebraska-Omaha vs. No. 8 Bowling Green, play-in game, 7 p.m. at
Nebraska-Omaha
Friday: No. 1 Michigan vs. Nebraska-Omaha-Bowling Green winner, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 8:30 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena
Saturday: Michigan-play-in game winner vs. Michigan St.-Notre Dame winner, 7:30
p.m. at Joe Louis Arena

Western Michigan to within a goal early
in the second period. The difference, as
Berenson explained, was that Michigan
was able to maintain the type of focus
that allowed it to jump out to an early
lead without falling victim to compla-
cency as the game went on.
"It's a matter of not letting up when
you're ahead," Berenson said. "These are
still young kids and there's always so
much pressure in the playoffs that when
you do well you tend to have a little sigh
of relief
"We just can't afford to have that sigh
of relief because the other team is dig-

ging down even deeper."
And that's exactly what Michigan saw
the Broncos do - first on Friday as it
fought for life against an overmatched
opponent, and again on Saturday, as it
struggled to keep its season alive.
Fighting with the type of desperation
that only the low-seeded Broncos could
muster, the 12-21-3 Western Michigan
squad may have helped the Wolverines
regain the playoff mentality they knew
they would need.
Instead of watching a Bronco come-
back stun them when they pulled to
within striking distance Saturday,

Michigan reclaimed control of the game
and forcefully ended Western Michigan's
season.
"We didn't get too confident tonight,"
Michigan captain Sean Peach said. "Last
night we kind of embarrassed ourselves.
We didn't have that killer instinct that we
needed. I think we had that tonight."
And Peach and his teammates know
that's exactly what they'll need from here
on out as opponents grow tougher aa
games grow in meaning.
In the contrast between this weekend's
games Michigan may have gained more
than its IIth straight first-round series
win.
This weekend may have given
Michigan the gritty playoff sense of a
team in a fight for every game - the
savvy of a squad who can afford to take
nothing for granted.
"It was a good learning experienc@
Jillson said. "We're still a young team
and for a lot of these guys it's the first
playoff series, so maybe this taught us
something."

miVnigan4 5, wremm miInin z
Western 0 0 2-2
Michigan 2 0 2-4
Fist peiod -1.UM, Langfeld 9 (Kosick, Matzka).
1:37; 2. UM, Swistak (Shouneyia), 7:59. Penalties -
WMU, Waring (crosschecking), 12:46; UM, Hunzicker
(holding), 18:18.
Second period - No goals. Penalties - UM, Comrie
(hooking), 3:53; WMU, Mills (crosschecking), 9:55;
UM, Roemensky (roughing), 12:34; UM, Kosick
(obstruction-hooking), 17:54.
7Wid pedod - 3. UM, Mink (Koch, Cammalleri), 2:091.
WMU, Rymsha (Gove, Gagnon), 3:22; 2. WMU, Bishal
(Gagnon, Gove), 5:35; 4. UM, Matzka (Langfeld, Vancik),
17:15. Penabtes -UM, Matzka (tripping), 7:38; WMU,
Ggnon (tripping), 14:24; WMU, Crane (roughing), 19:55.
Shots on goal - WMU 4411-19; UM, 12611--
29.
Power Plays- WMU 0 of 5; UM, 0 of 4.
Saves - WMU, Reynaert 106-9 -25; UM, Blackburn
44-9 -17.
Rferee- Don Cline.
Lssnwn - Brian Hill, Brian Troester.
At Yost Ice Arena
Attendanoe: 6.388.

Matzka continues to
sizzle in playoff sweep

By Uma Subramanian
Daily Sports Writer

Imilngrenb, , wem miniiani z
Westem 0 2 0-2
Michigan 2 2 2-6
Fst period -1.UM, Matzka 13 (Koch), 6:01(sh); 2.
UM, Shouneyia (Kosick, Roemensky), 8:58. Penalties
- UM, Ortmeyer (slashing), 4:35; WMU, Rumble
(elbowing), 6:53; UM, Vancik (checking from behnd),
10:54; WMU, Rymsha (obstructionholding),11:37;
UM, angfeld (roughing), 18:45.
Second period-1. WMU, Rumble (Gagnon, Waing),
1:44 (pp); 3. UM, Commie (Ortmeyer, Hilbert), 3:25 (pp);
4. UM, Matza (Jillson). 11.58 (sh); 2. WMU, Bishai
(Battaglia, Miller), 19:30. Penaltes -UM, Hlbert
(high-sticking), 1:13; WMU, Gove (hooking), 3:25; UM,
Camalleri (roughing), 4:53; WMU, Andrews (high-
sticking), 5:46; UM, Mink (interference), 9:25; UM,
Roemensky (high-sticking), 10:37; UM, Vancik (rough
ing),12:53; WMU, Waring (roughing), 12:53; WMU,
Townsend (hooking), 13:03; UM,cammalleri (tripping),
14:04; WMU, Farquhar (checking from behind), 16:43.
Thid period -6. UM, Commie (4ilert), 15:11 (pp); 6.
UM, Kosick (Matzka, Koch), 16:03 (pp). Penalties-
WMU, Miller (hooking), 3:40; UM, Vancik (tripping), 6;58;
WMU, Yamashita (tripping,14:08; WMU, Gnon
(obstruction-hooking), 15:41; UM, Gassoff (hooking),
17:32; UM, Fraser (checking from behind), 19:23.
Shots n goal-WMU 513-9-27; UM, 10"8-
26.
Powr Plays -WMU 1lof1; UM, 3of 9.
Saves -WMU, Reynaert8664-20; UM Blackburn 5-
119 -25.
Rehee- Don Cline.
Liesmen - Brian Hill, Brian Troester.
At Yost Ice Arena
Attendance: 6,408.

Marianne Roman must be proud.
After all, her pupil is currently the hottest
player on the Michigan hockey team, having
scored six goals and three assists in his last four
games.
And a good chunk of Michigan forward Scott
Matzka's recent success can be attributed to
incredible speed, which Roman, a figure skating
coach, helped him hone.
Matzka took lessons from Roman- for five
years working on his skating technique.
Years later the practice has paid off, and
Matzka can outskate almost anyone on the ice -
a fact that became blatantly evident Saturday
night in Michigan's 6-2 defeat of Western
Michigan.
On a penalty kill early in the first period,
Geoff Koch intercepted a pass from a Western
defenseman and dumped it off to Matzka. From
center ice, Matzka swept up the ice cleanly and
quickly, maneuvering past Western Michigan's
final lines of defense.
Suddenly, Matzka had recorded his fifth short-
handed goal of the season and Broncos' netmin-
der Jeff Reynaert hardly knew what had hit him.
Talent is an integral element of Matzka's
game. But talent can only take you so far. Case
in point, the past two years.
Matzka has been speedy since he's been at
Michigan. Yet the previous two seasons, he
struggled somewhat with finding the net - scor-
ing only I1 goals in two years.
In stark contrast, this season alone, Matzka
has scored '14 goals, and the season's not over
yet.
People may question what turned the tide. And
Matzka has an answer.
"I've been waiting for some luck for about two

and a half years," Matzka said. "I'll take it now."
On Saturday, something was definitely smil-
ing on him.
Midway through the second period, with
Western Michigan attacking on a powerplay, Jeff
Jillson swiped the puck from the Broncos and
launched it down the ice to Matzka.
Though three defensemen were swarming
around Reynaert, Jillson's pass hit Matzka's
skate and hopped into the net - halting the surg-
ing Broncos. It was Matzka's second shorthand-
ed goal of the night.
"I was trying to play the puck with my stick,
but I just missed it and the goalie overplayed it,
and it just went in," Matzka said. "That's the kind
of goals you need."
Matzka's recent fortune hasn't escaped any-
one's notice.
"Matzka's on fire, there's no question,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "He's hot,
and he's having fun. For Scotty, everything he
touches goes in the net.
"Scotty Matzka is a threat - a great threat to
have as a short handed player. He's reminding
me of Johnny Madden, where the other team's
powerplay is going to worry if he's on the ice.
Good for him. We needed that - we needed
someone to give us a spark."
Without a doubt, Matzka is playing his best
hockey of the season right now. And with his
current linemates, Josh Langfeld and Mark
Kosick, things should only get better.
Langfeld and Kosick are perennial playoff
players, and so far in this young postseason,
they're at it again.
In fact, on Friday night, Langfeld, after not
scoring in five games, torched Reynaert for
Michigan's first playoff goal of the year. His
tally, only one minute into that contest, came on
a feed from Matzka and Kosick.
For his part, Kosick found the net too, scoring

JESSICA JO NSON/Daily
Scott Matzka, Josh Langfeld and Mark Kosick congratulate each other after Langfeld scored Friday's first
goal against Western Michigan. Matzka had a stellar weekend; Langield and Kosick added a goal apiece.

Michigan's final goal in the second game.
"We all complement each other," Kosick said.
"We played pretty well this weekend. I'm
extremely happy that we won.
"That's awesome. Matzka and Langer are
playing really well down low, and we had tons of
chances - on Friday night, we could have had
six or seven goals easy."
This is not the first time the three have found
their scoring magic in the playoffs after strug-
gling somewhat during the regular season.
In both their freshman and sophomore years,
Kosick and Langfeld became postseason heroes,
leading the Wolverines in scoring. Last season,
the two combined for five goals and eight

assists.
Now with Matzka on a roll, the three have
formed a dangerous offensive unit that will keep
opposing defenses on edge.
For his part, Matzka said he's going to tro
keep the streak going.
"I'm not superstitious, but I seem to be having
a little bit of luck now, and I'm trying to keep
everything the same," Matzka said. "I've been
walking to the rink the last three or four weeks
and I'm going to keep walking. I don't know if I
can walk to Joe Louis (Arena) though."
Regardless, as Michigan heads to that very
venue for the CCHA Championships this week-
end, this lucky line will be counted on ever more.

No.2 North Dakota (23-74)def. Denver 4-4;lost
to Dever2-1; def. Denver 9-4
No.3 Boston University 24-7-5)def. Mass.-
Amherst 4-2, def. Mass.-Amhest 5-2.
No.4 New HampsTire t22-9-1) de. Merimadc
5-2; def. Merimack 3-2(07).
No. 5 Mkcligmi (26"84)def Wetern Michigan,
4-4; def. Western Mhigan 62
No.6 Maine (22-7-5) def. Providence 5-3; def
Pmvdenc 54 (OT)
NW.7 Boston CoIege 22-7-2) deL Northeastern
8-4; def. Northeastern 3-2
No.8 St. Lawrence(22-10-1)de. Union 84; def.
Union 4-3 (O).
No.9 Midigari Sate (23-104)def.Miandi6-2,
def. Miami 5-1
No.10 Colgate (21-7-2) def. Yale 5-4 (M, deL
Yale4-2
CCHA U A
No. 1 Michigan def. No. 10 Western
Michigan in Ann Arbor 4-2, 6-2.
No. 2 Michigan State def. No. 9 Miami
in East Lansing 6-2, 5-1.
No. 8 Bowling Green def. No. 3 Lake
Superior 2-1 (OT), 3-2 in Sault St. Marie.
No.1!Nebraska-Omaha def. No. 4
Northern Michigan 4-2,1-5, 2-1
No. 5 Notre Dame def. No. 6 Ferris
State 4-3, 1-6, 4-2

in final home game, Yost
fans bid farewell to Peach

By Stephanie Offen
Daily Sports Editor
When it was all over, Michigan captain Sean
Peach gave a little something back to the peo-
ple who have been helping him the most in his
four-year career as a Wolverine - the fans.
After their game programs had been filled
with the players' autographs, the youngest of
the Michigan faithful shrieked with excitement
as Peach led them on a tour of the team's lock-
erroom.
"Hey you want to see it?" Peach asked his
young fans. "Come on in."
Maybe it just was one more thing to make
the memory of his final game at Yost last a lit-
tle bit longer.
Saturday night, the anticipation of leaving
what has been his home of sorts for four years
finally became a reality for Peach as the
Wolverines concluded their home season with
a 6-2 victory over the Broncos in the first
round of the CCHA Tournament.
Even though the Michigan seniors were pre-
sented with a proper goodbye at their last reg-
ular season home game, it wasn't until last
night that the reality finally hit him.
"(I'm) leaving the best rink in the league,"
Peach said. "I didn't realize that on my senior
night because I knew that I had two games
still left here. But after tonight it just kind of
hit me."

College hockey does not have a better environ-
ment than Yost and with a game like tonight I
think those seniors really appreciate it."
The seniors agreed.
"I don't ever think I'll play in a rink with
this same kind of atmosphere," Peach said.
"Everyone that comes back tells me that.
Harold Schock was here tonight, my 'D' part-
ner from my freshman year, and he said
'Peach your never going to play at a place like
this again'. So I guess it's all downhill from
here."
The fans were in top form for Saturday's
much more appropriate sendoff for the seniors.
Senior night suited all four graduating p*-
ers, but Michigan's 6-3 loss to Bowling Green
that night showed basically nothing of what
they had been giving to the team all season
long.
This weekend, Peach's defensive efforts were
noted in the Wolverines' sweep over the
Broncos.
Allowing only 19 shots on goal in Friday's
game, the solid defense paired with a prolific
offense keyed this weekend's wins.
And even though his classmates And
Merrick, Kevin Magnuson and Krikor Arman
may not have joined Peach on the ice on
Saturday, their efforts off the ice were just as
appreciated.
"I kind of wish they were on the ice with
me," Peach said. "We may not have all the sta-

DANNY KALICK/Daily
Captain Sean Peach congratulates sophomore Mike Comrie on one of his two goals Saturday night. That
was the final time the senior will be able to celebrate in the friendly confines of Yost Ice Arena.

.....1

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