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October 05, 2001 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-05

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 5, 2001

FRIDAY Focus

Spartans and Wolverines in similar situation

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer

EAST LANSING - On the sur-
face, the Michigan State hockey team
is cool, calm and collected heading
into tomorrow's "Cold War" game
against Michigan. The Wolverines
seem to have everything working
against them - including 72,000 fans
come tomorrow night.
But Michigan is not the only team
that heads into the contest with a legit-
imate amount of instability and doubt.
While Michigan State is ranked
preseason No. 1 ,by USA Today, the
Spartans are in the same situation as
Michigan, having lost the core of last
season's CCHA championship team to
graduation.
"We've got so many young players
coming up," Michigan State coach
Ron Mason said. "They're up and
down. The last couple of years we had
really good experience up front, and
we were pretty stable in practice.
Whereas I'd-
say we have Singin' t
our good
days and Michigan State continu
our bad against the Wolveines I&
days (this Michigan's[one victory
year)" Oon Jan. 17 when HobeyI
L a s t Hilbert beat Ryan Miller fi
y e a r' s win, 4-3.
senior class But the rest of the serif
was the the eventual Hobey Bake
most suc- out the Wolverines twice
cessful in' goals in the other four ga
Michigan The Spartans have now
State histo- the last 14 meetings, dat
ry - win-
ning 122 games overall. The Spartans,
like the Wolverines, are still trying to
find some on-ice chemistry. With only
two weeks of practice leading up to
tomorrow's game, Mason is still'
deciding where to line up his players.
"We're switching people around
quite a bit," Mason said. "We don't
have anything set at this point. I'm
trying to find out what works. I
couldn't tell you what our lines are
going to be going into Saturday yet."
The Spartans enter tomorrow's
game with most of their questions at

th,
ued
yca
Ba
ive
ies t
r A
an
me
vibe
ting

forward. Michigan State is without six
of its top 11 scorers from last season,
and is replacing those players with
freshmen. It will count on its Hobey
Baker winning goaltender, Ryan
Miller, and a stout, experienced
defense to carry the load early in the
season.
Michigan "has four experienced
defensemen coming back and a senior
goalie. We've got five defensemen
back with an excellent junior goalie,"
Mason said. "That's going to give
both teams good orga.nization. The
thing we don't have is a Mike Cam-
malleri. There's a dynamite, proven,
leading scorer type guy. We don't
have a guy like that coming back.
We've got some good solid hockey
players - but some of our freshmen
are going to have to step it up. When
you have a Cammalleri or players like
that who put up those kind of num-
bers, that's pretty darn good."
The performance of each team's
freshmen forwards will have a large
effect on the
le blues outcome of
tomorrow 's
its recent success tg a m e
sason, winning foof Michigan's
ame at Joe Louis Arena group tallied
ker Finalist Andy 15 points in
-hole in overtime to the Wolver-
ines' 9-0 win
was owned by Miller, over Queens
ward winner, who shut this past
d only allowed three Sunday -
as. with Eric
eaten Michigan in 10of N y s t r o m
g back to 1997. scoring a hat
trick in the
exhibition. The Spartans' freshmen
recorded 11 points against Queens as
well, but there's no doubt that tomor-
row's game will be unlike anything
they've ever seen.
"We've got to keep the players
focused - especially the freshmen
coming in," Michigan State captain
Adam Hall said. "We've been really
impressed with our (freshmen) for-
wards so far. They've shown tremen-
dous skill with the puck, they play
really physical and protect the puck
well. We've got some really good
Co

Big game is a small
step for college hockey

UANNY MULUMUK/Uaiy
This Zamboni made trip across the street from Munn Ice Arena to Spartan
Stadium in preparation for tomorrow's 'Cold War' at 7 p.m.

skaters and some great playmakers."
A common statement made about
this rivalry is that these two teams
know each other so well that prepar-
ing for each other is no problem.
That idea does not apply to tomor-
row's game. With Michigan featuring
10 freshmen in its lineup tomorrow,
knowing what to expect from them is
tougher than usual.
"The fact that it's early in the sea-
son like it is, we don't have a lot of
game tape on their freshmen, or even
the guys who they're going to be pair-
ing up with (on lines)," Michigan
State defenseman Jon Insana said.
"There's an uncertainty that we
haven't had in past years. We usually

JOE
SMITH

don't play them until mid season,
when we know their tendencies."
Last season, the Spartans were the
top-ranked team in the nation for most
of the year before losing to North
Dakota in the Frozen Four. Ranked
No. 1 in the preseason, the world
record-breaking event is a huge
opportunity for them to prove that
they belong at the top once again.
"It's our goal to win a number of
championships this year," Hall said. "I
think the national championship
would be on the top of that list, and I
can't think of a better way to start off
the season than,beating your arch rival
Michigan in front of 72,000 home
fans."

Jf one asked former heavyweight
champion Mike Tyson about the
outdoor hockey game in Spartan
Stadium tomorrow night, he'd proba-
bly say, "it's style is impregnable" and
"it's timing is impetuous."
And he'd be right.
Never before has a college hockey
season started off with such a bang,
and with such flare. Two of the best
teams in the nation face off as a part
of the most heated rivalry in front of
the largest crowd to ever see a hockey
game.
Some even call it "The Woodstock
of Hockey." But while there will most
likely be no hippies, mud-fights or
contact buzzes, there will definitely
be 72,000 crazy fans who bleed
maize and blue or green and white.
That's not all, as media outlets
from Boston to Vancouver have been
buzzing about the event as well.
Just ask Michigan hockey coach
Red Berenson. He has received more
phone calls this past week than a
Jerry Lewis telethon.
And he doesn't mind a bit.
"I've been on radio stations I've
never even heard of," said a smiling
Berenson, who's in his 18th year at
the helm of the Wolverines.
While a typical Michigan State
game may have 10 credentials issued
to the media, tomorrow night's game
will host 200 publications - includ-
ing Sports Illustrated, the Sporting
News, the Hockey News, USA Today
and the Boston Globe.
Fox Sports Regional will televise
the game, and it will be broadcast live
in Canada.
And all the attention and spotlight
couldn't be better for college hockey.
It's a sport that thrives in the Mid-
west and the Northeast, with barns
such as Goggin Arena at Miami and
Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor packed
to the brim with diehard hockey fans.
But in order for college hockey to
expand, it needs a jumpstart to attract
interest across the nation.
"Hockey is a niche sport,' Nebras-
ka-Omaha hockey coach Mike Kemp
said. "People that play in it and are
involved in it love it - and it's always
going to be that way."
But what about everyone else?
The record-breaking event tomor-
row night will not automatically bring
it to even terms with a sport like col-
lege basketball, which is ingrained in
Americans' mind - but it's a start.
"I think it's a great tipoff," Bowling
Green hockey coach Buddy Powers
said. " But this spurred some national
attention in the USA Today and
where it goes from there - anyone
can be guessing."
Does this mean that college hockey
can expand to schools around the
country?
Berenson thinks it can.
"I think hockey could spread to dif-
ferent areas," Berenson said. "We
need to have some teams in the west
...-.,.+,and.rltruto I,..Clln'.xrnrn h p i

around the country.
"That will be a big spinoff of
something like this game. Schools
that don't have hockey are going to be
aware of it. They're going to take an
interest in it and see that college
hockey is striving. It may be the little
bit they need to encourage them to
make a commitment to the sport."
Berenson said that there have
been a few things that have held
back college hockey from such
expansion. With hockey being such
a niche sport that originated in
Canada, there hasn't been enough
interest for college administrators to
take the risk of spending money on
another sport.
Then, with Title IX becoming so
apparent and universities needing to
reach compliance with the equalities
between men's and women's sports -
creating a new program hasn't been a
piece of cake.
Insert tomorrow night's outdoor
hockey game. Sure it's somewhat of a
gimmick and publicity stunt - but
it's a damn good one.
"Certainly it's a little bit of a gim-
mick, the idea is to be tremendously
creative and it takes courage to do
something innovative - that's what
makes it great," Kemp said.
Now, Michigan State is taking such
a huge risk. If the crazy Michigan
weather doesn't comply and the game
is canceled, then it could be detrimen-
tal to the game and "there will be a
ton of unhappy people," said North-
ern Michigan coach Rick Comley.
72,000 to be exact.
-But if this type of risk-taking turns
into a success - which many people
expect - then it may spurn other col-
legiate programs around the nation
take a chance on college hockey.,
"Not every college can afford it,
but there's many that can and they'd
love it when they got it," Berenson
said. "And it could become their No.
1 sport."
College hockey won't take over the
national spotlight overnight, and
don't expect to see hockey teams at
SEC powerhouses such as Tennessee
and Alabama anytime soon.
But it's a good start, and if all goes
as planned, there will be some obvi-
ous benefits from the game.
"The reason for the event is a col-
lege hockey game which is only
going to increase the visibility of our
sport, Michigan State hockey, and
Michigan hockey," Michigan State
coach Ron Mason said.
"This is a great state for hockey,
and here we are doing this. It's going
to reflect fantastic on the state of
Michigan, and that was our ultimate
goal in the beginning."
Mission accomplished?
72,000 will find out tomorrow
night in East Lansing.

Rivalry at h

War'

Record-breaking game to serve as benchmark in rivalry

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
It all started over 79 years ago.
Michigan State played its first intercollegiate
hockey game in a 5-1 loss to Michigan. Two hun-
dred thirty-seven games later, they are about to
face off in, unequivocally, the largest game they
have ever played.
In fact, the only way a game between the two
teams could get any bigger is if it were to be
played for the NCAA championship. Despite

these 237 games, the two have never faced off in
the NCAA Tournament, though they have faced
each other eight times in the CCHA Tournament.
"I don't remember many games as a player, I
just remember they were intense," Berenson said.
"I didn't understand the rivalry, but I found out
real quick when I played against Michigan State. I
can't point a finger at any one game, but I think
both these programs have had their moments with
each other. But it seems that no matter how much
of an edge one might have over the other one on
paper, the games are played hard."
Part of what makes the rivalry so special, out-
side of the history and familiarity between the two
teams, is the pride with which people play the
game, Michigan alternate captain Mike Cammal-
leri said.
Michigan leads the overall series by 15 games
with a 122-107-8 record but has not had the
advantage in the series in modern times. Since
Red Berenson took hold of Michigan in 1984, the
Wolverines are 29-41-5 with a .420 winning per-
centage.
"Every game is a fierce battle," Michigan State
coach Ron Mason said. "There are a lot of emo-
tions flying around the ice and it just makes for a
great competition every time the players and fans

Logistics of the event
Tomorrow an ice rink will be set in the middle of
Spartan Stadium. This is how they did it.
WORKING THROUGH THE NIGHT: The workers laid ice at
night, expecting it to melt down, and kept build-
ing it through the night.
How THEY KEEP IT co: An aluminum plate structure
that has glycol running through it at 1500 gallons
per second is located underneath the ice. That
glycol is coming out at 11 degrees fahrenheit.
Despite the intense rivalry, both teams were able
to work together and agree on the terms on which
to hold the world record breaking game tomorrow.
They agreed to help each other promote the game
in order to move the 72,000 plus tickets.
But tickets didn't last long enough and neither
program had to make major investments to sell the
tickets.
"It hasn't taken on the antagonistic or name
calling level," Berenson said. "Since I have been
here with coach Mason it has been a very respect-
ful but intense rivalry between the two schools.
"It certainly will be one of the great events in
the rivalry. As far as the event, I don't think you
can have a bigger event between the two teams. In
all the games that have been played, it will be the
biggest."
But only history will truly tell how significant
this game will be in the scale of the storied Michi-

Joe Smith will be one of the 72,000
in Spartan Stadium, and can be
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