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February 11, 2002 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-11

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 11, 2002


Slap shouts

"They're good. I don't do it, but I watch
them, and they're awesome."
- Michigan forward Milan Gajic about the Wolverines' 55
consecutive penalties killed dating back to Dec. 28 against
North Dakota in the Great Lakes Invitational.

Nebraska-Omaha 1
Michigan 2 (ot)

Nebraska-Omaha 3
Michigan 6

Key play

Friday, 17:27 into the second
After a gutsy play by J J. Swistak, Michigan cen-
ter Dwight Helminen scored a shorthanded goal
against previously unbreakable Maverick goal-
tender Dan Ellis to tie Friday night's garhe at one.

The Michigan Daily hockey writers'
picks for Michigan's three stars of the
Jed Ortmeyer
The Omaha native scored two goals in
Saturday night's game giving him 10
goals on the season. His relentless
forechecking caused a constant prob-
lem for the Mavericks.
Eric Nystrom
Friday, Nystrom scored a goal in over-
time to beat Nebraska-Omaha for the
second time this season. He also added
two assists in Saturday's victory.
Milan Gajic
The freshman poured in two goals dur-
ing Saturday night's four-goal barrage.
Gajic also assisted on Jay Vancik's goal.
This week:
Saturday vs. Michigan State
Joe Louis Arena (Detroit), 7:35 p.m.
After two deadlocks in their conference
matchups this season, the Spartans and
Wolverines will compete in the rubber
match of the season series Saturday.
Although both teams are tied for first
place in the CCHA after this past week-
end, Saturday's clash will not have any
bearing on the conference race, as the
rivals are only slated two conference
games in the CCHA's cluster format.
Regardless, the winner will steal the sea-
son series and improve its NCAA Tourna-
ment stock.
No. 1.Denver (24-5-1) tied Minnesota-Duluth
3-3, def. Minnesota-Duluth 4-1.
No. 2 St. Cloud (24-5-2) def. Michigan Tech
3-2, def. Michigan Tech 4-3
No. 3 New Hampshire (19.5-3) def. Provi-
dence 5-2.
No. 4. Michigan State (20-6-5) lost to Notre
Dame 3-2, def. Notre Dame 2-0.
No. 5 Minnesota (21-6-4) def. North Dakota
4-3, def. North Dakota 6-4.
No. 6 Colorado College (19-8-3) def. Wiscon-
sin 6-0, tied Wisconsin 5-5.
No. 7 Maine (16-95) lost to Merrimack 5-2,
lost to Boston College 4-3.
No. 8 Cornell (17-5-1) def. Yale 3-2, def. Prince-
ton 5.1.
No. 9 Boston University (18-7-2) def. UMass-
Amherst 4-2.
No.10 Northern Michigan (18-10-2) lost to
Western Michigan 4-0, lost to Western
Michigan 5-3.
KdVA Z Nd rkaaiwdia 1(O1)

Helminen, Nystrom

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer
Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Dan Ellis was
in a zone.
Heading into Friday's game against Michi-
gan, he had allowed just one goal in his last
four games, including three shutouts against
Lake Superior and Miami. Ellis continued his
dominance in the first period, stoning all 16
Michigan shots.
As the second period wore on, it became
obvious that Mi.chigan would not be able to
break Ellis on a normal scoring opportunity.
Luckily for the Wolverines, there is nothing
normal about the way freshman Dwight
Helminen shoots the puck.
With his team shorthanded and down 1-0
late in the second period, Helminen turned a
valiant effort by junior J. J. Swistak into
Michigan's first goal.
Thanks to Swistak's forecheck in the

Nebraska-Omaha zi
Helminen, who ska
mistake. He fired
shoulder - the onl
"Dwight made hi
coach Red Beren
important goal, a bi

becoming Blue's prime-time
one, the puck slid free for goaltender Ryan Miller in the same spot as he into overtime that
ited in alone and made no did Ellis, once again tying the score for his a 3-2 win.
a shot above Ellis' right team in a huge conference game. This time, it too
ly place he could have put With the Wolverines' leading goal scorer just as sweet as th
Mike Cammalleri absent, Helminen has "I wanted to d
s chance count," Michigan emerged as Michigan's premier clutch offen- but (Komisarek)
son said. "That was an sive threat - whether he'll take credit for it or Nystrom, who pro
g-time shot." not. and has been wail

propelled the Wolverines to
)k him 39 seconds, but it was
e first.
o the McCarty off the glass,
wouldn't let me go," said
actices different celebrations
ting for the chance to mimic

Helminen took a simple approach to beating
Ellis on the Wolverines' 26th shot of the
"I was thinking 'shoot' the whole time,"
Helminen said. "I've been known to shoot
there a few times, so that's where I went."
This was not the first time that Helminen
and his rocket shot have bailed the Wolverines
out of trouble in key games.
Against Michigan State on Jan. 19, Michi-
gan was trailing 1-0 with less than seven min-
utes remaining in the third period. After
taking over 30 shots without lighting the lamp,
the center beat Hobey Baker Award-winning

"I'm out there, and I work hard, and things
just go my way in these big games," said
Helminen with a smile.
The freshman is not the only member of his
class that has had a flare for the dramatic this
season, as Eric Nystrom - Helminen's team-
mate on the U.S. National Development Team
last season - has tallied three game-winning
goals, including Friday's overtime clincher.
As Friday's game against the Mavericks pro-
gressed into the extra frame, Nystrom found
himself in a comfort zone. The last time the
two teams faced off earlier this season in
Omaha, it was Nystrom's goal just 12 seconds

Detroit Red Wings forward Darren McCarty's
signature move from the 1997 Stanley Cup
The first-line forward has a family history
of excelling in the clutch. His father, Bobby
Nystrom, scored an overtime goal in Game 6
of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals that won the
series for the New York Islanders.
In a similar fashion Friday, his son took a
perfect pass from junior John Shouneyia and
backhanded the puck past a sprawling Ellis to
clinch a victory that his team had to have.
"This could have been our season tonight,"
Nystrom said.


When it rains it pours
Michigan poured on four goals midway through the first period of Satur-
day's game during a 5:15 stretch. The only other time the
Wolverines scored four goals in a period this Charlie
season was against North Dakota. Hendersos
11:45 Jed Ortmeyer one-times a pass from John
Shouneyia at the bottom of the circle on a four-on-
three powerplay.
11:13 Milan Gajic slammed home an open net shot v
30 seconds later. Gajic was set up by linemate
Michael Woodford.
9:28 Defenseman Jay Vancik scored his second goal of the
season on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush off a pass from Gajic. Van-.I
cik jumped into the play and freed himself up.
6:30 Gajic deflected a Vancik slapshot from the point while FELOKAMP/
standing in the circle. Daly
Blue kills Omaha as
streak reaches 55



0 1 0 1. -2
1 0 0 0 -1

Frstpedod- 1.UNO,Hoggan18(Davis),5:10. Penaltes-
UNO, Groslie (interference), 3:14; UM, Woodford (holding the
stick), 4:40; UNO, Groslie (goaltender interference), 13:53;
UM, Werner (high sticking), 17:38.
Second peiod -2. UM, Helminen 9(Swistak), 17:27 (sh).
Penamltes - UNO(toomany men), 3:57; UNOJaworski (inter-
ference), 5:29; UM, Rynar (high sticking), 9:47; UNO, Hog-
gan (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:45; UM, woodford
(roughing), 13:45; UM, Henderson (high sticking), 15:59.
7W~ peiod-Flo scoring. Penalties- UM, Rymar (board-
ing), 2:40; UNO, Hoggan (crosschecking), 9:53.
Overtme- 3. UM, Nystrom 11(Shouneyia), 0:39. Penaltes
- None.
PowerPlays-UM, 0of 5; UNO,0oaf 5.
Saves-UM, Blackburn-15-16; UNO, Ellis--32-34.
Referee- Brian Aaon
Unesmen - Butch Friedman, Tony Molina
At Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor Attendance: 6,643.
Michigan 6, NebraskaOmaha 3

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Throughout all the ups and downs in
the second half of the Michigan hockey
team's season, there has been one con-
sistency - the penalty kill.
After shutting down nine Nebraska-
Omaha powerplays this weekend,
Michigan extended its killedwpenalties
streak to 55 over the past 11 games.
Michigan has not given up a powerplay
goal since the second period against
North Dakota in the Great Lakes Invita-
tional on Dec. 28.
The stretch has raised Michigan's
national standing to second best - with
an 89.2-percent efficiency. The Wolver-
ines have stopped 140 out of 157 power-
Michigan State is the only team with
a better penalty-killing efficiency (90.8-
While Michigan has not kept track of
historical penalty killing statistics a
spokesperson for the team is sure that
this current streak is the "closest thing to
a record that they have ever had."
One of the biggest reasons for Michi-
gan's success has been its ability to chal-
lenge players at the point and to block
passing lanes. This goes hand-in-hand
with the players self-sacrifice. They have
risked injury and pain while dropping to
the ice to block a shot.
All of this has the Wolverines limiting
their opponents' shots on the powerplay.
During the four Nebraska-Omaha pow-
erplays on Saturday, Michigan allowed
just two shots on goal. The Wolverines
surrender fewer than 1.1 shots on goal

per penalty kill.
"It seems when hockey players have
their backs to the wall and they are
down a man, they work harder," Michi-
gan coach Red Berenson said.
Two of the biggest contributors on the
penalty kill have been juniors Mark
Mink and J.J. Swistak. Though they both
play on the fourth line and don't receive
much even-strength time, both are keys
for Michigan when playing a man down.
Swistak, one of the hardest workers
on the team, made a spectacular play in
Friday night's game to set up Dwight
Helminen's game-tying goal in the sec-
ond period.
After being on the ice for more than
a minute and a half of the penalty kill,
Swistak went down to block a Greg
Zanon shot from the point. As Zanon
struggled to corral the rebound, Swistak
dove headfirst at Zanon's feet to poke-
check the puck out of the zone.
Swistak then followed the play up ice,
forcing Zanon to retreat further into the
defensive zone. Swistak forced a
turnover and made a perfect feed to
Helminen who had just come off the
"Swistak made a great effort, just sec-
ond-effort hockey, and that's what we
are asking from our team (on the penalty
kill)," Berenson said. "He made that
play happen just with his effort."
The goal was Michigan's ninth short-
handed score of the season and its fifth
since its penalty-killing streak began.
The Wolverines are currently third in the
nation in short-handed goals and are 8-
0-0 when they score a goal with a man

Michigan captain Jed Ortmeyer, an Omaha native, scored two goals and laid several big hits on the Mavericks.
njury hampers Blackburn's play
Ortmeyer leads way as Wolverines celebrate another OT win


4 0 2 -6
2 1 0 -3

First peiod- 1. UNO, Turner 4 (Larnpman, O'Keefe), 3:33;
2. UM, Ortmeyer 9 (Shouneyla, Nstrom), 8:15 (pp); 3.
UM; Gic 6 (Woodford, Komisarek), 8:47; 4. UM, Vancik 2
(Gaic),10:32; 5. UM,Gajic 7 (Vancik, Woodford); 6. UNO,
Hoggan 19 (Hcker, Zanon), 17:42 (sh). Penalties - UM,
Swistk (roghing), 6:46; UNO, Claffey (holding), 6:46;
UNO, Zanon (checking from behind), 7:18; UM, Shouneyia
(high sticking), 14:56; UNO, Groslie (crosschecking),
16:32; UM, Woodford (slashing), 19:50.
Second period - 7. UNO, Zanron 7 (Hacker), 11:18.
Penalties-UNO, Fohr (tripping), 6:36; UM, Ortrteyer
(hooking), 6:50.
N1d period -8. UM, Ortmeyer 10(unassisted),0:36;9.
UM, Murry4 (Werner, Nystrom), 5:34 (pp). Penalties-
UNO, Hoggan (charging), 3:55; UNO. ciaffey (roughing after
the whistle), 4:43; UM, Swistak (tripping),8:14; UNO,
Pereira (high sticking), 14:37.
Shots an gal-UM, 7-7-17 -31; UNO, 886- 22.
PowerPlays-UM, 2of6; UNO, -of4.
Sams-UM, Blackburn-19-22; UM, Ellis-25-31.
Referee - Brian Aaron
Lnesnmen - Butch Friedman, Torr' Molina
At Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor Attendance: 6,759.
With a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame Sat-
urday, Michigan State's unbeaten
streak at Munn Ice Arena was ended at
33 games (30-0-3).
The Fighting Irish beat Spartan
goaltender Ryan Miller for three goals
in the first 22 minutes of action, giving
them a 3-1 lead that they would not
The loss allowed Michigan to tie the
Spartans atop the CCHA for the first
time since Jan. 12.

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
Coming off of back-to-back shutout
wins over Lake Superior, Michigan
goalie Josh Blackburn knew that he
would need an equally stellar perfor-
mance against Nebraska-Omaha this
weekend if he was going to keep his
team in the hunt for
the CCHA title. HOCKEY
But while the Notebook
Wolverines were
able to notch a
sweep over the Mavericks, Blackburn
had some difficulties.
Hampered by an injury to his right
hand - and some misjudgments -
Blackburn struggled to handle the puck
over the weekend, particularly in deliv-
ering it to his teammates.
The injury occurred on Friday night
in pregame warm-ups, and made stick
handling difficult.
"(He) took a shot on his index finger,
and he had to have it stitched up,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
"He got through it better (Friday) than
(Saturday), but (Saturday) it was really
sore. Imagine trying to swing a base-
ball bat with four stitches in your index
finger, and it's the same thing."
Second in line
Over the past four games, Josh
Blackburn has surrendered just four
goals. The defense in front of Black-
burn has helped him out, allowing
more than 20 shots just once. Here
is how Blackburn compares to
some of the other top netminders in
the CCHA over the course of the
Player GAA Pct.
Miller, Michigan State 1.68 .940
Blackburn, Michigan 2.28 .908
Ellis, Nebraska-Omaha 2.34 .922
Betz, Ohio State 2.44 .907
Brown, Ferris State 2.48 .918

Blackburn still managed to make 15
saves in Friday's win and another 19 in
Saturday's 6-3 triumph. But time and
time again, Blackburn seemed out of
sync when transitioning the Wolverines
from defense to offense.
Saturday night was particularly trou-
blesome. Blackburn began the gamie by
hitting Michigan defenseman Nick
Martens with a clearing attempt, and
the rest of the contest followed the
same pattern.
The senior ventured out of his net
often, but only on a few occasions did
those travels result in successful con-
trol of possession for Michigan.
"I didn't do such a good job (on Sat-
urday night) communicating," Black-
burn said. "As of late, we've been
doing a pretty good job communicat-
ing, but tonight it was my fault."
forward and Omaha native Jed Ort-
meyer once again had a solid weekend
against his hometown team.
The junior captain tallied two goals
in Saturday's game. Ortmeyer also
threw his body around, playing with the
type of physical intensity that has been
a staple of his all season.
"Ortmeyer continues to be a leader,"
Berenson said. "I don't think there was
a better player all weekend."
When the Wolverines played in
Omaha on Nov. 16 and 17, Ortmeyer
was the Wolverines' most intimidating
physical presence. He also assisted on
Eric Nystrom's game-winning, over-
time goal in Michigan's 3-2 win in the
second game of that series.
This weekend's sweep gives the
Wolverines a 7-2-1 advantage in their
all-time record against Nebraska-
Omaha - with all of those games
coming in Ortmeyer's three years at
"I chose to come to Michigan, and a
lot of people back home probably don't
agree with that back home," Ortmeyer
said. "It's a good feeling to be able to
show that I feel like I made the right

The Pairwise Rankings are based on
the ranking system used by the
NCAA selection committee to deter-
mine which 12 teams will partici-
pate in the NCAA Tournament.
Team Record PWR
1. Denver 24-5-1 31
2. St. Cloud 24-5-2 30
3. New Hampshire 19-5-3 29
4. Minnesota 21-6-4 28
5. Colorado College 19-8-3 27
6. Boston University 18-7-2 25
7. Michigan State 20-6-5 25
8. Cornell 17-5-1 24
9. Michigan 18-8-5 24
10. Maine 16-9-5 22
11. Mass-Lowell 17-8-3 20
12. Alaska-Fairbanks 18-10-2 19
13. Western Michigan 16-10-4 19
14. Northern Michigan18-10-2 18
15. Nebraska-Omaha 18-11-3 17
OVER THE LIMIT: With Friday night's
overtime contest, Michigan has now
played in 10 overtime games this sea-
son, the second most in team history. It
is one behind the record of 11 set in
1983-84, when the Wolverines posted a
5-5-1 mark in overtime.
This year, the Wolverines are 3-2-5
in extra sessions, but hold a 2-0-1 mark
against Nebraska-Omaha and are 3-1-4
in the CCHA.
"This isn't an easy league," Beren-
son said. "There are no easy teams in
it, and we haven't rolled over anyone.
We battle every night"
HOME SWEEP HOME: It wasn't just the
players that enjoyed the Wolverines
first regular season home sweep in
CCHA play since Jan. 5-7 against Lake
With time winding down in the third
period, "Disco Dan" (or Dan DeSena
outside of Yost), the Michigan band
leader, got into the action, symbolically
sweeping a music stand in front of him
while performing his trademark victory
dance in celebration of Michigan's win.

The hard work of Charlie Henderson is the mentality that coach Red Berenson
wants to see when Michigan is on the penalty kill.

(1(114 A CT Th rQ


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