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March 26, 2001 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-26

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 26, 2001- 5B

Jeff Panzer
North Dakoia
Panzer recorded four
assists as he helped North
Dakota knock off
Colorado College to
advance to the Frozen
Fow:

Brian Gionta,
Boston College
Gionta was held scoreless
in Boston College s win
over Maine, but he still
presnts a huge challenge
for Michigan in the
Frozen Four

Hobey Watch
Here are the Daily
hockey writers'
favorites for the
Hobey Baker Award,
* ' given to college
hockey's best player

Andy Hilbert,
Michigan
Hilbert scored the game-
winner on Saturday night
against Mercyhurst and
added a pair of assists
against St. Cloud last
night.

R an Miller,
Michigan Sta'te-
Miller stopped 25 out of
26 shots against
Wisconsin yesterday to
lead the top-ranked
Spartans into the Frozen
Four

e.Vercyhurst's c ach leaves regional with
lifetime memories and perennial smile

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Editor
GRAND RAPIDS - Everybody loves
Cinderella.
0 And by the end of Michigan's game against
mercyhurst on the first day of the NCAA West
Regional, the Lakers had seen a few new
things, made a few new friends and earned a
considerable new fan base.
This was all pretty impressive considering
that as Mercyhurst came in, it heard people
saying that it was the joke of the tournament
from a conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic
Conference, that is the joke of the NCAA.
No one will ever know what allowed Mer-
yhurst to compete so closely with Michigan
in a game that redefined the David vs. Goliath
matchup. Perhaps Michigan overlooked the
Lakers, despite promising that it wouldn't in
the week leading to the game.
Maybe the Lakers were just better than
everyone thought they were.
Or maybe, just maybe, tli Lakers went out
and proved that when you havo nothing at all
to lose, you can do some amazing things.
"Not a lot of people think the MAAC is for
real and this was our chance or. a national
*tage and we wanted to play well," Mercyhurst

coach Rick Gotkin said. "And we did the
things we wanted to do with the exception of
winning the hockey game. But I think that if
maybe people can take a little more respect for
our conference and for Mercyhurst, then we'll
take some consolation in that."
The Lakers went into last Friday's affair
with little hope of winning the game. But their
coach instilled in them the respectable notion
that sometimes, albeit rarely, the final score is
secondary.
"We thought it was important to be in this
game," Gotkin said. "We thought with the
team we're playing, there was a chance that
the game could end early.
"I'm not sure it would be easier to play
Michigan in Worcester (site of the East
Regional), but playing Michigan in Michigan,
we knew it was going to be a very tough
game, not to mention the fact that it was in the
NCAA Tournament."
Somewhat more surprisingly, Gotkin got his
players to agree with him.
"I'm really proud of the team," senior Eric
Ellis said. "That was the best way to go out.
We're disappointed, but we're really proud."
It was difficult to watch the Lakers play in
the biggest game in school history without
being at least slightly enamored by the heart

they showed. Not only did Mercyhurst not
bow down to the mighty Wolverines, it actual-
ly took the lead twice.
In particular, the St. Cloud fans and the
Michigan State fans in attendance were
thoroughly excited by the prospect of seeing
lowly Mercyhurst advance to the next round
instead of Michigan. Every Michigan player
laid out by a Mercyhurst check received a
loud ovation.
But of course, Cinderella is a fairy tale.
Mercyhurst fought the inspiring battle, but
bowed out when its coach's dream could no
longer keep pucks out of the net.
And Gotkin was left to wander the bowels
of Van Andel Arena, with a smile from ear to
ear and a memory that he would never forget.
"It was an uncharted territory for us and it
was my privilege to be part of this," Gotkin
said. "It was a great experience for our kids.
We don't know if we'll be back to this or not.
We're certainly going to try but there's no
guarantee that we'll get back to this.
"We're going to lose some very good play-
ers to graduation. It was a great game and we
have great respect, obviously, for the sur-
roundings that we're in, with the kind of teams
that are here. It really has been Mercyhurst's
pleasure to be part of this."

BRENDAN O'DONNELL/daily

Mercyhurst fought hard, but to no avail against Craig Murray and Michigan.

Michigan in the Frozen Four since 1995
1995 - NCAA Semifinalist
On the shoulders of sophomores Brendan Morrison and Marty Turco, the
Wolverines made it to their third Frozen Four in four years. But, they lost to
Maine 4-3 in triple overtime. As a sophomore, Morrison was nominated for
the Hobey Baker Award.
1996 - NCAA Champions
Michigan coach Red Berenson and the Wolverines ended a 32-year
drought by winning the national title. Michigan defeated Boston University
in the semifinals while Morrison sealed the championship game with a
11.1 rebound goal with 3:35 left in the first overtime to beat Colorado Col-
lege 3-2.
1997 - NCAA Semifinalist
Top-ranked Michigan returned to the Frozen Four looking to repeat as
national champions but was ousted in the semifinal by
Boston University, 3-2.
Despite the loss, Morrison completed his Michigan career
by winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the
nation.
1998 - NCAA Champions
After compiling the most losses of any Frozen Four
* team in school history with 11, Michigan defeated
both New Hampshire and Boston College to win
another national title.
The victory over the Eagles came courtesy of a
Josh two-goal performance from then-freshman
Langfeld Mark Kosick and an outstanding per-
solidified formance from senior goaltender
his legacy * Marty Turco. The hero of the game was Josh
in NCAA Langfeld (left), who scored with 2:09 left in
tournament the first overtime to win the game 3-2.
play this 200- *7?
weekend. Michigan started the season ranked No. 2, but strug-
FILE PHOTO gled with inconsistency throughout the year, at one
point falling as low as eighth in the national polls. But, the Wolverines
found their form at just the right time, winning a pair of games this week-
end to earn a berth in the Frozen Four in two weeks.

Aubrey surprises, impresses all in NCAAs

By Ryan C. Moloney
Daily Sports Writer
GRAND RAPIDS - Six seconds.
In the time that it takes a sports car to get from
0-60, Michigan's mean offensive machine had
throttled Mercyhurst's hope for an econo-ride
into the final game of the West regional.
At 7:51 of the first period, Scott Matzka skated
down the right side, squared, and snuck the puck
in right side to tie the upstart Lakers, 1-1.
No sooner had the air bag exploded, than Mike
Cammalleri charged in off of his own faceoff and
hit Mercyhurst again - bang-bang. It was two
quick goals, too quick a change in momentum
for the shell-shocked Lakers to handle - or so
one thought.
Peter Aubry tapped the goalposts and readied
for what was sure to be an onslaught of Michi-
gan's offensive weaponry. What runs through a
goalie's mind after giving up the second-fastest
back-to-back goals in NCAA history in his
school's first-ever NCAA tournament appear-
ance?
Perhaps Aubry thought of those nights growing

up in Windsor, Ont., when he would make the trip
to Ann Arbor to watch Steve Shields redefine
goaltending greatness in college hockey.
"I guess I was a fan," Aubry said afterward.
"But tonight was business."
Aubry's laser-focus never wavered throughout
the rest of a 51-shot barrage by the Wolverines.
Indeed. a pang of nerves grew in the stomachs of
Michigan's faithful with every Aubry save until
Andy Hilbert quelled the likelihood of "David
vs. Goliath 2" with the go-ahead goal at just over
three-and-a-half minutes left in the game.
"We had some great opportunities that didn't
go in, and that's what concerns you the most,"
coach Red Berenson said. "Aubry's a good
goalie, but we had no idea he was that good."
As the game wore on, Aubry got better. The
Wolverines were sending their best, often weav-
ing through the Lakers' holey defensive zone for
in-close and medium range opportunities.
Jeff Jillson sent a couple of whistlers and
Cammalleri dealt a few doorstep drives - but
Aubry forgot about the "M" in front of their jer-
seys and made the saves that can fuel an upset.
At one point, after another failed chance,

Hilbert punched the glass next to the bench out
of frustration - Aubry was too hot.
"A lot of guys on our team, when you are a lit-
tle kid, Michigan is the team you root for on TV,"
Aubry said. "The name created a mystique+-
guys overlooked it (tonight)."
An overachiever on a team full of them, Aubry
welcomed the pressure of the matchup, and gave
praise to his more heralded counterpart, Josh
Blackburn.
"It's a lot easier with a lot of work - the pres-
sure is on you," Aubry said. "But look at Black-
burn on the other end. He handled the pressure of
(not facing many shots). It's not necessarily how
many saves you make, it's the ones you make at
the right times."
Aubry's deflection of attention towards Black-
burn was emblematic of Mercyhurst - a team
that did not resort to sullenness in loss, but web
comed the media attention normally reserved for
its big-name opponent.
"He's just a great team guy," coach Rick
Gotkin said of Aubry. "A guy you love to be
with. We knew he would have to play great
tonight and he gave us a chance."

Peter Aubry heroically turned away 47 shots from Michigan on Saturday

SENIORS
Continued from Page 18
not always on the same page the last two
seasons, but even the forward's most
*easoned bashers must take their hats off
'to his stirring return after getting
benched against Michigan State in the
CCHA championship game last veek.
There was the much-maligned Josh
aLangfeld responding to a season full of
:tumalt with a crucial, momentum-
'hiidiniy Pgoal at the tail end of the first

his jet skates.
Huntzicker, often Jeff Jillson's stay-
at-home buddy, has poked his nose into
the powerplay scheme lately, but avoid-
ed delusions of grandeur yesterday with
punishing checks and well-timed clears.
After a season of getting called out
by just about everybody for Michigan's
mediocre showings in the Great Lakes
Invitational and CCHA race, the
seniors finally understand what is at
stake - their legacy.
"After freshman year, we didn't real-

Your Frozen Four ...

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