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Sports desk: 763-2459
M' watches a
team it beat claim Big Ten
Icouldn't believe what I was watching -
another coach whose team lost to Michigan
was celebrating a Big Ten title.
Early yesterday morning, I was flipping chan-
nels when I hit upon ESPNews' analysis of
Michigan's loss to Ohio State.
After showing some high- _
lights of Jonathan Wells run-
ning right through
Michigan's defense, the net-
work cut to a shot of Illinois
coach Ron Turner addressing
Turner, of course, was dis-
cussing Illinois' first Big Ten
championship in 18 seasons. A RUN
The Buckeyes' upset victory
handed the conference title GOPAL
- and the automatic bid to Dark side
the Bowl Championship of Arun
Series - to the Fighting Illi-
Big Ten championship trophy strategically placed
right behind him - I couldn't help but think to
myself how lightning has once again struck for a
mediocre Big Ten team.
This is now the third time in my four years in
Ann Arbor in which Michigan has dominated a
seemingly overrated Big Ten squad early in the
season, only to see that overrated team end up
winning the conference title by virtue of Michi-
Three years ago, Wisconsin marched into
Michigan Stadium with an undefeated record.
Michigan held the Badgers to 160 yards of total
offense en route to crushing Wisconsin, 27-10.
But Wisconsin ended up going to the Rose
Bowl that year. Why? The Badgers didn't have to
play Ohio State, which was arguably the best
team in the country. Meanwhile, Michigan won
its first seven Big Ten games before falling at
Ohio State, 31-16, in the season finale. Michi-
gan, Ohio State and Wisconsin finished tied for
the Big Ten title with 7-1 records, but since both
Michigan and Ohio State had gone to the Rose
Bowl more recently, Wisconsin went to Pasadena.
The following season, Michigan went to Madi-
son and throttled the Badgers once again. But the
Wolverines lost to Michigan State and Illinois
later in the fall, which gave the Badgers a repeat
trip to Pasadena.
Then there's this season. Illinois kept talking
about how much it wanted to beat Michigan, and
the Wolverines responded by pummeling the
See GOPAL, Page 4B
At one point, an elated Turner said: "If some-
one had said at the beginning of the season that
Illinois would be in a BCS game, that person
probably would have been laughed at." Turner
isn't kidding - at best, the Fighting Illini were
expected to contend for a berth in the Alamo
Bowl, maybe the Outback Bowl if they got lucky.
Nobody thought Illinois would win the Big Ten,
but the Fighting Illini somehow pulled off the
So, as I sat there watching Turner talk - the
Photos by DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
It would be an understatement to say that John Navarre (right) had a tough time getting his passes through the Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes knocked down several of Navarre's throws and intercepted four others en route to a 26-20 win over
Michigan on Saturday. Two of Navarre's interceptions were caught by Ohio State's Mike Doss (left,) including one in the fourth quarter that all but killed Michigan's chances.
*Wolverines split pair of Showcase contests
By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Writer
The No. 9 Michigan hockey team was hoping
that it would be able to use its building momen-
tum from the past few weeks to upset No. I Min-
nesota and beat Wisconsin this weekend to sweep
the College Hockey Showcase.
But things went just as expected, as the Wolver-
ines lost to the Golden Gophers 5-2 before defeat-
ing the Badgers 5-3 one night later to salvage the
"I thought that we competed a lot harder
tonight, we played stronger on the puck and in
one-on-one battles," Michigan coach Red Beren-
son said. "We knew Wisconsin would be an older
and stronger team. It was a good challenge for our
team to hang in there."
With a little more than a minute to play and
Wisconsin trailing 4-3, the Badgers pulled goalie
Bernd Bruckler for an extra attacker. But with 40
seconds remaining, Wisconsin sophomore Rene
Bourque committed a tripping penalty to take
away the team's man-advantage. Michigan's
Dwight Helminen scored an empty-netter 32 sec-
onds later to put the Wolverines up 5-3.
Coming in with a 14 percent powerplay per-
centage, it is clear that the Wolverines were hav-
ing trouble capitalizing on their powerplay
chances. But Saturday night was the opposite, as
a shorthanded goal.
"The powerplay has been an issue all year,"
Berenson said. "Win or lose, it's always a factor.
It's important that our powerplay and penalty kill
combined give us a chance every game."
Wisconsin had killed off 31 consecutive power-
play opportunities entering the game, but its
streak was snapped 6:23 to the first when Mike
Cammalleri scored from the point off a feed from
junior John Shouneyia.
The Badgers came back later in the first with
two goals, scored just 30 seconds apart. The first
came on the powerplay by Bourque off a cross-
crease pass from captain Andy Wheeler, and the
second camhe off a backhand shot by senior Matt
Murray right in front of the net.
Early in the second, Shouneyia scored on a 5-
on-3 powerplay to tie the game at two. He also
added an assist to finish the weekend with four
"Shouneyia needs to participate offensively and
giv our team some depth, and I thought he added
so e tonight in that area," Berenson said.
"(The powerplay goals) tonight were huge for
us because we've been struggling a little bit,"
Shouneyia said. "I think we're establishing a shot,
moving the puck around well. We have them
guessing, and we're creating traffic in front." .
Michigan capitalized on a crucial mistake by
Bruckler to take a 3-2 lead late in the second
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third game of the year, retreated behind the Wis-
consin net to play the puck. He sent it around the
boards, but it went right to Komisarek, who shot
and scored before Bruckler could get back in
Komisarek's second goal of the evening came
shorthanded with just over five minutes elapsed in
the third. Senior Craig Murray won the faceoff in
the Badgers' zone and dropped it back to Komis-
arek for the slapshot. The goal put Michigan up 4-
"Out on the point, its all about getting the shots
through," Komisarek said.
The Michigan defense scored four goals on the
weekend, two more than its total from first 11
games of the season. Komisarek has five of the
defense's six goals.
"A big part of'college hockey now is that the
points.are open a lot, and if you get the puck back
to them, they need to get it through," Berenson
said. "We're not asking our defense to take shots,
but we are asking them to help create offense and
get the pucks through. If Komisarek gets his shot
through, he'll create some offense."
With the win, Michigan avoided its first Show-
case sweep in history.
"We were disappointed with our effort last
night," Komisarek said. "We were caught off
guard, and we wanted to come out tonight and
bring the play to them. I think we're happy that
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' ' ' 4
Senior Craig Murray celebrates after assisting on Mike Komisarek's game winning
goal against Wisconsin on Saturday night.