MARCH 22, 2002
. . .......... ....
Blue taking road
Memories of '98
key for tumblers
GYMNASTICS 1RBET COLUMBUS
By Matt Kramer
Daily Sports Writer
ICE HOCKEY ANN ARBOR
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
For the first half of the season,
Yost Ice Arena was not the friendly
confines that the
Michigan hockey pro-
gram has come to YOsT IC
expect - the Wolver-
ines were 7-2-2 on the Who: No. 4 M
road heading into win- CC HA, 2
ter break, but just 3-3- WCHA, 29-1
1 at home. , When: 8p.m.
But in the season's Latest: Michi
second half, the altime series
Wolverines discovered win in last yea
the comforts of home Regional.)
that have made Yost
one of the most difficult places for
opponents to play in the CCHA.
And if Michigan hopes to contin-
ue its season at the Frozen Four
from April 4-6 in St. Paul, Minn.,
the Wolverines are going to need
the success from the latter portion
of the season. After the break,
Michigan went 8-3 at home en
route to a CCHA regular season
The fourth-seeded Wolverines will
host the West Regional's first two
rounds, opening their postseason
with a rematch of last year's quarter-
final against No. 5 seed St. Cloud.
"We never really had a home men-
tality because we struggled so much
early at home," Michigan forward
Eric Nystrom said. 'We're trying to
come in with a road mentality - we
just need to be hitting and keeping it
simple and feed off the crowd"
No. 3 seed Michigan
State will open the
ARENA action at Yost by taking
on No. 6 Colorado Col-
higan (19- lege this afternoon at
0-5 overall) 4:30 p.m.
ate (19-7-2 "It's going to be a
overall) great night, some great
n leads the hockey, and it's going
o. (A 43 to be really exciting,"
s west Nystrom said.
defeated St. Cloud 4-3
in Grand Rapids last year, the prox-
imity to Ann Arbor gave the
Wolverines a home-ice advantage.
This year, that advantage is more
than a feeling.
When the Wolverines last hosted
a regional in 1998, the home crowd
was a major catalyst in Michigan's
4-3 come-from-behind win over top-
seeded powerhouse North Dakota.
"We learned how to play in front
of our home crowd halfway through
the season," Michigan captain Jed
Ortmeyer said. "We're looking for
them to be loud and hopefully give
us a boost."
But even with the hostile environ-
ment awaiting them tonight, the
Michigan will need its freshmen to step up tonight in the biggest game of their season. Forward Milan GajIc Is the
type of player who can skate back and forth with the wide-open Huskies' offensive attack.
Huskies don't appear to be fazed.
"We played in Wisconsin and
Marriuci Arena (Minnesota's home
rink), and we just have to treat it
like one of those games, St. Cloud
forward Nate DiCasmirro said.
"Yeah, it's going to be loud and
crazy, but we're used to it."
St. Cloud's cheerleaders were
stunned by the treatment they
received in last season's game.
"Michigan fans ... they're horri-
ble people," St. Cloud cheerleader
Molly McGannon told the St. Cloud
Times. "It's like they've never seen
hockey cheerleaders. Their band was
Even with the home crowd
behind them, the Wolverines are
hoping to use the NCAA Tourna-
ment to once again prove them-
selves. They did just that in CCHA
play by overcoming youth and Mike
Cammalleri's absence in order to
capture the league's regular season
and playoff titles.
See HUSKIES, Page 9
Michigan women's gymnastics coach Bev Plocki remem-
bers the 1998 Big Ten Championships very well. Her team
had dominated the regular season, was ranked eighth
nationally and hadn't lost a conference title in six years. But
the Wolverines were shocked by Minnesota that year and
wound up finishing second behind the Golden Gophers to
end Michigan's streak.
Four years have passed, and Michigan has lost to just one
Big Ten team since. The No. 5 Wolverines (5-0 Big Ten,
19-3 overall) are primed for
another championship as they S e
head to Columbus in search of COLUMBUS
their 10th Big Ten title in 11
years tomorrow. Who: Michigan in the Big
"In 1998 that team really got a Ten Championships
wake-up call, so it's something When:6 p.m.
Latest: Led by the nation's
we talk about," Plocki said. "Big top ranked gymnasts in
Tens has always been a big deal Elise Ray and Calli Ryals,
for us. I know the kids are fired Michigan looks to win its
up for it. They want to get those 10th conference title in the
Big Ten rings." - last 11 seasons.
If the regular season is any
indication of how Michigan will fare in the postseason, then
the Wolverines shouldn't have anything to worry about.
While there are five Big Ten teams in the top 21 in the
nation, the Wolverines are the top-ranked team on all four
events and sport the NCAA's No. 1 and No. 2 all-around
gymnasts in Calli Ryals and Elise Ray.
Michigan had no problem with fellow Big Ten competi-
tors Michigan State (which it beat twice), and Ohio State,
which the Wolverines dismantled 196.175-193.575 in
Columbus earlier this season.
The Wolverines, whose regional qualifying score this
year was 196.75, also beat No. 11 Minnesota twice this sea-
son. But Plocki said she is looking at the Golden Gophers as
Michigan's biggest challenge this weekend.
"Minnesota has a very strong team this year," Plocki said.
"They have been very consistent and have been scoring
right up there in the high 196s."
While Michigan was able to overcome numerous injuries
this season - including the loss of Ray in the all-around
competition for much of the early part of the season - the
injury bug seems to have hit the Wolverines again just in
time for the conference tournament.
The status of co-captain Janessa Grieco has been ques-
tionable since she suffered a knee injury during warm-ups
of the home finale two weeks ago.
"Our maximum floor lineup would have Janessa in it,"
Plocki said. "Hopefully, Janessa will be ready."
Another Wolverine, Melissa Peterson, will definitely not
participate for Michigan in Columbus.
* The loss of Peterson and the potential loss of Grieco
could mean more rotations for freshman Chelsea Kroll, who
has just recently moved into the vault and floor lineup with-
out missing a beat.
Regardless of the injuries, the Wolverines will look to
Ryals and Ray for high scores in all four events. In 12
events this season, the pair has taken home ten all-
"We've been looking forward to this for some time,"
Plocki said. "We never looked past it."
Icers beware: Sniper Hartigan prnmed and ready
By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes, St. Cloud forward Mark
Hartigan just likes to be alone.
The Hobey Baker Award finalist often
passes up meals with his teammates at St.
Cloud's own Timber Lodge Steakhouse
because they just can't pull him away
from the ice.
"I like being out there all by myself
when there's nobody in the whole rink,"
Hartigan said. "I think it's a lot of fun just
doing that. I can do it for three to four
The 24-year-old junior plays the game
with the excitement of a kid out on the pond
and is admittedly still learning as he goes.
"I've learned so much in the last little
while from coaches because I didn't get
coached that well when I was younger,"
Hartigan said. "I love being on the ice. I
think it's just a thrill shooting the puck."
Hartigan, the WCHA Player of the Year,
has perfected the art of doing just that.
head coach Mel Pear-
son believes that Harti- rZ
gan owns the most
potent shot in all of
"I kind of relate it to y
golfing a little bit,"
said Hartigan of his
slapshot. "You get
young guys who just
want to crush the ball Hartigan
as far as they can, and I just want to shoot
the puck as hard as I can whenever I have
The chances often come from his best
friend and linemate Nate DiCasmirro,
who has benefited greatly from playing
"He's an amazing hockey player,"
DiCasmirro said. "You give him any
chance to shoot the puck, and he's got a
90-percent chance of burying it. All I
have to do is feed the puck to him in the
high slot, and he's going to put it in."
Hartigan is as prolific a goal scorer as
Michigan has faced this season. The
British Columbia native has scored 75
points (37-38-75), including 31 (12-19-
31) on the powerplay alone -- more.than
all but three Wolverines have scored all
season. But last weekend in the WCHA
tournament, he was shut out in the
Huskies' games against Minnesota and
Colorado College, rendering his team
lifeless as it scored just one goal in each
"If I play well, our team is going to
play well," Hartigan said. "I've just got to
lead my team, and if that means doing the
little things right and not getting any
points, then that's just as good."
St. Cloud's 0-3 record in the NCAA
Tournament shows that Hartigan is not
the only player who has disappeared come
tournament time in past years. Earning
that elusive first victory against Michigan
in Yost Ice Arena would be a special way
to get the monkey off the Huskies' back
- and Hartigan would love to be the guy
to do the damage.
"It would really kill the crowd," Harti-
gan said with a grin. "I wouldn't mind
being that guy to bring them down and
put them back in their seats."
Does he have a celebration planned out
"I just kind of let loose and do what-
ever I'm feeling at the moment," Harti-
The soft-spoken, laid back superstar
has been more to his team than just a 75-
point scorer. He's a best friend, a team
player and a "pleasure to coach." With all
of the Hobey Baker hype surrounding him
during the past few weeks, Hartigan has
See HARTIGAN, Page 9
Baseball hits road to prepare for Big Ten ,
By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
On the road again.
After a single home game against
Bowling Green on Wednesday, the
Michigan baseball team (3-10) will
take to the road again for a three-game
weekend in Kansas. So far, Michigan
has played 12 of its first 13 games
away from The Fish.
After winning their home opener on
the strength of a dramatic 4-3 finish,
the Wolverines head south again to
warmer weather and a more hostile
environment. With Big Ten play just a
week away, Michigan hopes to use this
weekend's games to get ready for the
"We're trying to get ready for the
Big Ten season," interim coach Chris
Harrison said. "That's where our sea-
son becomes important to us, and the
most important games are the Big
One thing the Wolverines will have
to do this weekend to prepare for the
conference season is to cut back on the
mental errors that have plagued them
so far this season. Against Bowling
Green, poor baserunning almost cost
Michigan its chance to win the game.
"We made some baserunning mis-
takes that we have to eliminate," Harri-
son said. "We ran ourselves out of
This weekend is important because
the Wolverines know they cannot
afford to make mistakes when the con-
ference season rolls around.
"In Big Ten games, because of the
weather and the overall conditions -
especially early in the season - a lot
of times it comes down to the small
things (like) hserunnin. nitchin arind
Rich Hill and Jim Brauer are the proba-
ble starters, in that order.
Another difference between this
weekend and the Big Ten is that Michi-
gan will face two different opponents.
The Wolverines will play Kansas today
and Sunday and will face Oral Roberts
Harrison played for Oral Roberts
from 1978-1982 and played in the 1978
College World Series with the Golden
Eagles. Harrison faced Oral Roberts
twice as an assistant coach at Michi-
gan, and both games ended up as wins
for the Wolverines. This will be his
first shot at his alma mater as a head
coach, but Harrison does not want to
call any attention to the game.
"We've actually played them twice
since I've been at Michigan," Harrison
said. "It will be just like another game."
Who: Michigan (3-10) at Kansas (10-6) and vs.
Oral Roberts (12-8)
When: 1 p.m. today, 4 p.m. tomorrow and 4
Latest: Kansas enters the series with a six game
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