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March 25, 2002 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-25

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5B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 25, 2002

Ryan Miller,
Michigan State
Miller saved 27-of-29
shots in Michigan State's
2-0 loss to Colorado
College this weekend at
the West Regional in Ann
Arbor

Darren Haydar,
New Hampshire
Haydar had two assists in the
second round of the East
Regional against Cornell. New
Hampshire won 4-3, and will
now face Maine in the
semifinals of the Frozen Four.

Hobey watch
Here are the Daily's candidates for the
Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is
given to the nation's best college hockey
player at the end of each season. Michigan
State goaltender Ryan Miller won the award
last year.

Jordan Leopold,
Minnesota
Leopold did not record a point
in Minnesota's 4-2 win over
Colorado College, but he will
get a chance to play in front of
his home crowd in two weeks
at the Frozen Four

Wade Dublelewicz,
Denver
The Denver junior stopped 33
shots against Michigan and
made several outstanding
saves, but he still allowed
four goals to give Michigan
the win.

Mason's career ends quietly, Comley takes over

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan State coach Ron Mason
was looking for career win No. 925 to
start his last NCAA Tournament run,
but his team was unable to record goal
No. 1 against Colorado College goalie
Jeff Sanger.
So instead of going out with a bang
and capturing a national title, Mason
- the winningest coach in college
hockey history - finished with a
whimper.
Mason, who announced his retire-
ment in order to become Michigan
State's athletic directoron Jan. 28,
failed to lead his third-seeded Spartans
past No. 6 seed Colorado College,
falling 2-0 in his coaching finale.
"I think that in this position, you're
always wondering what you could have
done better - I guess that's the way I
look at it,' Mason said. "One thing I'll
never look back on is the competition
part of it. I've always loved that."
The Tigers outshot the Spartans 15-
6 in the first period and jumped on
top when Trent Clark beat Michigan

State goalie and 2001 Hobey Baker
winner Ryan Miller 10:05 into the
first period. Colorado College for-
ward Alex Kim added a goal with
14:17 left in the third period to up the
lead to two and put the nail in the
Spartans' coffin.
"Unless you win the national
championship, you lose your last
game," Mason said. "I felt we
deserved at least one goal - if we
would have gotten that goal it would
have meant a lot.
"Fortunately for me, I have been to
the top of the mountain and haven't
been down very often. I thought our
kids played hard and didn't give up
and battled right to the end."
The loss also left Mason wondering
whether he should have waited until
the end of his 23rd season as Michigan
State's coach and 36th overall to make
his retirement announcement. The
Spartans went 7-4-2 after Mason's
decision was made official.
"I really didn't want the announce-
ment until the season was over,"
Mason said. "With a leader, a coach, in

up a little bit. Obviously, it did have an
effect - all you have to do is look at
our record."
Michigan State forward and captain
Adam Hall disagreed with Mason's
thinking.
"It wasn't a distraction at all, this
team has been focused all year long,"
Hall said. "Once the announcement
was made, there was no changing it.
We were going to continue to play
strongly."
Mason finished his career with a
record of 924-380-83, including a 635-
270-69 mark while at Michigan State.
He is scheduled to take over the athlet-
ic director spot on July 1.
The last season for Mason behind
the Michigan State bench ended up
being one of his most disappointing, as
the preseason No. 1 Spartans lost both
the CCHA regular season and tourna-
ment titles to Michigan, and then
dropped out of the NCAA tournament
on the first day.
Regardless, Mason's impact on the
sport of college hockey and the Michi-
gan State program is hard to ignore.
"Coach is a great inspiration,"

Miller said. "He knows the game so
well - he is always prepared and gets
us prepared.
"The players appreciate him as a
coach - he's made Michigan State a
great place to play."
COMLEY NAMED SUCCESSOR: Michi-
gan State announced last night that
former Northern Michigan coach Rick
Comley would take over for Ron
Mason as coach of Michigan State.
The 55-year-old Comley has been
the coach at Northern Michigan for the
last 26 years, and is the only head
coach in the history of the Wildcats'
program. He spent three years leading
the Lake Superior hockey team prior
to that.
Comley currently holds a 597-475-
71 career record, including a 538-429-
68 mark while at Northern Michigan.
He captured a national title with the
Wildcats in 1991 in an 8-7 triple-over-
time victory over Boston University.
He is one of only two coaches to have
won regular season titles in both the
WCHA and the CCHA, and he is cur-
rently seventh all-time in NCAA hock-
ey wins.

U ,.
AP PHOTO
Michigan State coach Ron Mason coached his final game at Yost ice Arena, a 2-0
loss to Colorado College. Northern Michigan's Rick Comley will take over.

a fine-tuned machine,i

it just shakes it

NCAA Championship bracket

East Regional
March 23-24

Semifinals
April 4

Finals
April 6

No. 1 New Hampshire
No. 4 Cornell
-I~~

No. 4 Cornell
No. 5 Quinnipiac

56f
1K

icers survive regional
despite'marginal' calls
Wolverines' penalty kill struggles against WCHA teams

No. 1 New Hampshire
No. 3 Maine

No. 3 Maine

No. 6 Harvard

No. 3 Maine
No. 2 Boston University

Champion

West Regional
March 22-23

No. 2 Minnesota
No. 6 Colorado College

No. 3 Michigan State

i

No. 6 Colorado College
No. 4 Michigan

No. 2 Minnesota
No. 4 Michigan

No. 5 St. Cloud

1

No. 4 Michigan
No.1 Denver

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer
Yost Ice Arena seemed more like a maxi-
mum-security prison than a hockey rink this
weekend. Referee Scott Hanson took on the
roll of sheriff, as the penalty box stayed
packed all weekend long - except for Sat-
urday's third period.
Entering the final stanza, the Wolverines
trailed the top-seeded Pioneers 3-2. But
with the freedom to play without the fear of
being booked and sent to the box, Michigan
outscored Denver 3-0 in the period and
earned a trip to the Frozen Four.
After calling everything in sight for the
first two periods of Saturday's game and all
of Friday's game against St. Cloud, Hanson
and his crime patrol wouldn't even call bla-
tant penalties on either team in Saturday's
third period.
With 11:38 remaining in the contest,
Michigan defenseman Eric Werner was
punched in the face by Denver forward
Matt Weber, and the referee - watching
the whole thing unfold - swallowed his
whistle.
"I think the referees had to let the teams
decide the game," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "Neither of the teams were
taking advantage of the rule book, and
some of the penalties that were called were
probably marginal at best and weren't fair
to the teams that were being punished."
Whether the referees made "marginal"
calls or not, it was the timing of Michigan's
penalties in the second period Saturday that
couldn't have been any worse.
Less than two minutes after Michigan
took the lead on forward Eric Nystrom's
goal, Michigan defenseman Brandon
Rogers was called for a hold. On the ensu-
ing powerplay, Denver forward Chris Par-
adise tied the game at one.
Once again, after Michigan defenseman
Mike Komisarek scored a powerplay goal to
give his team a 2-1 lead and all the momen-
tum, Michigan captain Jed Ortmeyer was
called for interference, putting Denver on
the powerplay again. To make things worse,
Komisarek was called for a rare "throwing
the puck" penalty moments later to put his
team down two men. Denver's Kevin Doell
tied the game just as Ortmeyer's penalty
expired.
"(The penalties) were huge turning
points," Berenson said. "Every penalty was
a potential game-winning turning point, and
so I was glad when he finally put the whis-
tle away."
Michigan knew that staying out of the
box would be a key to its success this
weekend - especially against St. Cloud,
which boasted the No. 1 powerplay in the
country.
But it was more of the same from the

Wolverines on Friday. Less than one minute
after forward Jason Ryznar scored early in
the first period to give Michigan the lead,
forward Michael Woodford committed a
blatant cross-checking penalty. Thirty sec-
onds later, St. Cloud's Jeff Finger tied the
game.
With Michigan leading 3-1 in the third
period, Hanson's crew came out with a
heavy hand. Michigan center Dwight
Helminen was booked for hooking, and
1:30 later, defenseman Jay Vancik was hit
with a cross-checking violation. Simultane-
ously as St. Cloud's 5-on-.3 advantage
ended, Huskies' forward Jon Cullen scored
to bring his team within one goal and put
Michigan on the ropes.
"Their powerplay definitely became a
factor in the game," Berenson said. "The
second period they got a little confidence, a
little momentum, and with five consecutive
penalties in the third period, their power-
play took over the game. Frankly, we were
fortunate to win this game."
"We got called for a couple of penalties,
and they had a 5-on3," Michigan freshman
forward Milan Gajic said. "All the guys
who were out there did an unbelievable
job.
"I thought we were going to get through
it, because we (had 65 straight penalty
kills) during the season. I knew they were
going to get the job done."
The Michigan penalty killing unit may
have gotten the job done, as it killed off just
enough penalties to keep the Wolverines on
top in each contest. But Denver and St.
Cloud converted four out of their 12 oppor-
tunities nonetheless.
"During all that penalty killing in the,
third period, that's tough," Berenson said.
"That's physically and mentally tough. I
thought we came through it even though
they scored."
The Wolverines' penalty kill has been a
strength of the team all season and was a
major "source of pride" during their run to
the CCHA regular season title. Michigan's
65 straight penalty kills spanned from Dec.
29 to Feb. 23.
The Wolverines' penalty kill has relied on
scrappy performances from players like
junior J. J. Swistak, who along with Helmi-
nen became a professional shot blocker in
CCHA play. But against Denver and St.
Cloud this weekend, Michigan's forwards
had trouble getting in front of shots and
seemed to be on their heels throughout each
game.
With Minnesota - another explosive
WCHA opponent with a superior powerplay
- awaiting Michigan in the Frozen Four,
the Wolverines' ability to stay out of the
box and kill penalties will be a major factor
in whether or not they can keep the
Gophers' attack grounded.

Michigan'st

DAVID KATZ/Daily
Dwight Helminen and the Michigan penalty kill unit struggled against St. Cloud and Denver, allowing four powerplay goals on the weekend.

The Frozen Four - St. Paul, Minn.

- Xcel Energy Center

New Hampshire
Wildcats

>
. -

Maine
Black
Bears

Minnesota
Golden
Gophers

Michigan
Wolverines. . .
(ftC-IA

I

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