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March 19, 2002 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-19

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U' be 1Mtrbu m~uiIp
SPORTS

TUESDAY
MARCH 19, 2002

11

sportsdesk@umich.edu

I I

Unheralded Burnes
anchors the blueline

ARUN
GOPAL

By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Writer
Most hockey players take pride in
their ability to put the puck in the net.
Michigan defenseman Andy Burnes
takes pride in stopping those players.
He has always abided by the law
that even though the offense gets the
glory, it's defense that wins the game.
Burnes, who came to Michigan last
season along with fellow defenseman
Mike Komisarek, has quietly matured
into one of Michigan coach Red
Berenson's most consistent, physical
blueliners. He doesn't get his name
mentioned on the scoresheet very
often, but he has been a leader and a
reliable player down the stretch.
"I'm more of a stay-at-home
defenseman," Burnes said. "I take
pride in keeping the puck out of the
net, and I'm going to do whatever it
takes to do that."
"He's been solid as a rock," Beren-
son said. "I can't tell you that there is
a defenseman on this team that has
played better with or without the puck
than him."
Not blessed with the size or
strength that some of his teammates
possess, Burnes has made a living
with a tenacious work -ethic and a
desire to stop everything that comes
his way.

"He's one of the hardest workers
you will every see," Michigan
defenseman Mike Roemensky said.
"He puts his heart and soul into every
game, and he's playing like a real man
out there right now."
Prior to each game, Burnes lines up
at the blue line for the national
anthem. While standing across from
the other team, he is already thinking
about the task at hand.
"When I line up for the national
anthem, I look at the other team and
tell myself that none of those guys are
going to beat me tonight," he said.
"I'm determined to not get beat."
Although his desire and determina-
tion have won the respect of his team-
mates, Burnes' quiet style of play has
prevented him from capturing much
national attention. Most of that praise
has gone to his good friend and fellow
sophomore, Komisarek. But the lack
of recognition from outside the team
is not a concern for Burnes, who
Berenson said is "someone who truly
embodies this team."
"I don't think Andy is worried
about personal attention," Berenson
said. "He knows that he is playing
well, and he knows that we know.
That's what is important."
As a freshman last season, Burnes
played in 41 games for the Wolver-
ines. Although he didn't always have

West too tough for 'M'
to repeat 1998 title run

I'" r "W ''"/ Daly
Although he doesn't get that much recognition, Andy Burnes has been a
steady force on the blueline for Michigan all season.

the opportunity to play alongside an
experienced defenseman, he quickly
evolved into a leader himself by play-
ing sound, fundamental defense.
Since he is not usually the biggest
guy on the ice, Burnes focuses on
making the smart play. He takes cau-
tion before jumping into any offensive
rushes and always maintains good
position against opposing forwards.
"He has great defensive instincts,"
Berenson said. "He plays his position

better than everyone, his priorities are
always right, he never gets caught
fishing for the puck and he keeps his
man out of the play."
Said Burnes: "I'm going to win
every race that I can and work my
hardest. Being a defenseman is not.
always making highlight-reel hits. It's
just taking guys out of the play and
keeping them away from the net. It's
hard to notice, but it's what counts in
the end."

11 season long, people have been
making comparisons between
s year's Michigan hockey
team and the 1997-98 squad which
made a miraculous run to the national
title.
In fairness, the parallels are hard not
to see. The 1997 team featured a mas-
sive freshman class stepping in for an
equally massive departed senior class,
which is what happened this year. With
so many new players, it shouldn't come
as a surprise that the '97 squad had an
up-and-down season (although that
appears to have become the trend for
Michigan hockey in recent years). One
week the Wolverines would look like
world-beaters, and the next week they'd
get swept by some CCHA bottom-feed-
er. The same type of thing happened
this year.
Maybe the most glaring similarity
between the two seasons, something
that had to have fans of this year's team
salivating, was the location of the
NCAA West Regional. Since college
hockey thrives on such a niche market,
it is common for the NCAA to place the
West Regional on a campus and then to
place that school's team in the regional
(the East Regional is almost annually
played in Worcester, Mass., since half of
the eastern teams seem to be from
Massachusetts). This practice ensures
good turnout at the games, which
means that the NCAA can hope to at
least break even.
In 1998, Michigan entered the
NCAAs as an underdog and was seeded
third in the West. But, the Wolverines
got to host the West Regional at Yost Ice
Arena, and the home-ice advantage was
almost solely responsible for the
Wolverines' come-from-behind win

over No. 2 seed North Dakota in the
quarterfinals. If that game had been
played anywhere else in America, the
Fighting Sioux, who got a bye in the
first round, would have crushed Michi-
gan - which had to beat Princeton in
the first round -but the raucous crowd
at Yost enabled the Wolverines to come
back from a two-goal deficit in the third
period for perhaps the greatest win
Michigan has ever had at Yost.
This year, the West Regional is
returning to Yost, and Michigan is the
fourth seed. Again, the Wolverines are
an underdog, but since they're playing
at Yost, it's only natural to expect them
to continue the eerie similarities to 1998
and advance to the Frozen Four, right?
Unfortunately, it's not going to be that
easy for Michigan. As a matter of fact, I
don't think the Wolverines have any
shot at making the Frozen Four.
This isn't Michigan's fault, mind you.
One would think that sweeping the
CCHA regular season and tournament
titles would get you some respect from
the NCAA selection committee, but the
Wolverines were hit with a double-
whammy yesterday when the brackets
were announced. First, Michigan found
out that it was seeded fourth, which
meant two things - the Wolverines
wouldn't have a first-round bye, and
they would miss the chance to play
sixth-seeded Colorado College, which
is the "weakest" team in the West
Regional.
Instead, Michigan drew No. 5 seed
St. Cloud State. The Huskies were
ranked in the top five for most of the
season, and they have a huge chip on
their shoulders from last year's West
Regional, when Michigan shocked St.
See GOPAL, Page 12

Checking playing big
role at end of season

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Outside of a goal, there is no
play in hockey that will send a
crowd into a climactic frenzy
more than a bone-breaking, leg-
loosening, concussion-causing hit.
Nor is there any play in hockey
that can change the tide of a game
without ever stopping the flow
more than a good hit.
"You stand above (the player
you hit) and taunt him and rub it
in his face," Michigan defense-
man Mike Komisarek said. "A big
hit can change the tide of the
game and give your team a big
boost. It get guys on the bench
excited and can be just as impor-
tant as scoring a big goal."
If delivered when a team is
struggling, tired or lacking
momentum, a strong check can
provide a boost. In addition, hits
can also free up pucks and create
turnovers leading to odd- man
rushes and scoring opportunities.
Along with the immediate
effects of a hit, there are long-
term consequences. Knowing that
a 200-pound forward or defense-
man is looking to pancake you
against the glass is enough to
make any player take a second
look over his shoulder. This threat
is even enough to make Komis-
arek, Michigan's version of

World's Strongest Man Champion
Magnus Ver Magnusson, fear the
effects of not keeping his head up
and receiving a blow.
"I know when I go back for the
puck and I think I am going to be
hit, I hesitate a little bit and take
that extra look over my shoulder
to make sure that I make the play
quick enough," Komisarek said.
These clobberings can force a
team's best player to make a play
quicker, which can force him out
of his comfort zone.
This makes it a necessity to
have a team's best players also be
some of its biggest. Despite
Michigan forward Mike Cammal-
leri's diminutive height, he weighs
one pound more than fellow jun-,
ior Jed Ortmeyer, who is often the
first Wolverine to level an oppo-
nent.
The physical exhaustion from
continued hard checking can
quickly wear a team down, espe-
cially late in the season, creating
opportunities for the other team.
This elevates the importance of
finishing checks and riding a man
out of a play.
But regardless of how hard or
often a team is hitting its oppo-
nent, those checks won't matter if
players are out of position, some-
thing that can happen when play-
ers are looking for a big hit or are
See CHECKING, Page 13

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ADVISING
SERVICES

Mike Cammalleri Is a relatively small guy, so he Is very susceptible to getting
crushed by a bigger player with a hard bodycheck.

I
r

Leveque takes mound
for the home opener

M=09

>ever dO itw e

UNIVERSITY
FOUNDED BY1

OF PENNSYLVANIA
BEN FRANKLIN - 1740

PENN

By Chodes Pradis
Daily Sports Writer
Wolverine fans will have their first
chance to root for the home team today,
when the Michigan baseball team (2-10)
takes on Bowling Green (6-9) in the
home opener at Ray Fisher Stadium at 3

p.m.
"Well, it is great for us to
have a home game;" inter- RAY FISHi
im coach Chris Harrison Who: Michig
said. "It's real good to have Bowling Gre
a game on our field." When: 3 p.m
The Wolverines are Latest: Interi
returning home from a Harrison will
tough stint in San Antonio, home debut.
where Michigan managed
to steal one game from the Roadrunners
in a three-game series. The lone win
came on a shutout by ace Bobby
Korecky.
The beginning of the season has been
rough on the Wolverines, who have only
been able to capture two wins so far -
the victory over Texas-San Antonio and

ER
an
ben
im c
be

mistakes this afternoon. Michigan has
been plagued by errors all season. In just
12 outings, the Wolverines have commit-
ted 32 miscues, which have resulted in
33 unearned runs.
Michigan also hopes to take advantage
of the home environment for the first
time this season and the first time under
interim coach Harrison.
"We're excited and we're
STADIUM concerned that we execute
(240) vs. and that we do things well,
(6-9) that we pitch well, hit well
and don't make many
coach Chris errors," Harrison said.
making his Taking the mound today
for the Wolverines will be
junior Tim Leveque, who
will be making his 30th appearance with
the Maize and Blue. The right-handed
hurler is currently 1-0 on the season with
a 10.12 ERA.
Leveque has struck out nine batters in
eight innings this season, but he has also
walked nine in that time.
Korecky, the team's No. 1 starter last

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