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February 17, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-17

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LiOigan Nilg


February 17, 2003


Pair of calls kill chances for sweep I

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
EAST LANSING - Final score: Michi-
gan State 5, Michigan 3, referees 2.
In a game in which fans saw the Spar-
tans build a 4-1 lead and Michigan fresh-
man Jeff Tambellini bring the Wolverines
back from the dead, it was two controver-
sial calls by the officiating crew that ulti-
mately decided the game.
At 8:14 of the second period, Tambellini
drove in on Michigan State goaltender
Matt Migliaccio from the blueline without
a soul around him. With the score 2-1 in
favor of the Spartans, Tambellini - who
ended up with four goals on the weekend
- was almost a lock to score on the
breakaway. But away from the play,
Michigan senior captain Jed Ortmeyer was
called for interference, stopping Tambelli-
ni halfway between the blueline and the
Michigan State goal.

"(The referee) said I got in his way,"
Ortmeyer said. "I felt like I was trying to
get out of his way, and he grabbed on to
me and fell down ... it was a good play on
his part, I guess."
With just over three minutes of time left
to play in the second frame, the Wolver-
ines were attacking from the left side
when Michigan sophomore Charlie Hen-
derson ripped a shot at Migliaccio. The
puck stuck to the chest of the goalie,
prompting the referee - who could only
see the back of Migliaccio - to blow the
play dead. The quick whistle proved to be
costly as Migliaccio never even saw the
puck trickle off his jersey and onto the ice
where one quick pass set up Ortmeyer for
a wide-open goal. The Wolverines began
to celebrate, but their jamboree was cut
short as the ref came in waving the goal
off. All Ortmeyer and the Wolverines got
was an apology as they remained a goal

"It's a judgement call, (the referee)
said he felt bad about it, but
he's gotta make a decision
- right or wrong," Ort-
meyer said. "We can't
do anything now, he
made the call and we
have to live with it."
So instead of going
into the third period up 3-2,
Michigan remained down 2-1. And 4
that's all the momentum the Spartans
needed to seemingly close out the game.
The first nine minutes of the final period
appeared to be one giant powerplay for
Michigan State, as the Wolverines strug-
gled to clear the puck. Just 2:20 into the
period, Spartans forward Jim Slater redi-
rected a shot by John-Michael Liles -
who had Michigan State's first two goals
- through the five-hole of Michigan
goaltender Al Montoya. Six minutes later,

Tambellini play should be
benchmark for Wolverines

Freshmen are supposed to carry equipment
bags, not carry their team. They're sup-
posed to tighten up in big games and be
overwhelmed in opposing rinks.
But somebody must have forgotten to tell
Michigan's Jeff Tambellini that. This weekend he

stepped onto the ice for two
must-win games against
Michigan State, and he
skated like he was on the
pond, just playing shinny
with his friends.
Pressure? Nerves? Forget
it. Tambellini was Michi-
gan's lifeblood this week-
end, scoring four of its six
,goals in a split with the
Spartans. And Tambellini
has stepped up in important
games before - most
notably his four-point show-

Full court

The rink announcer could barely give him credit
for the goal before Tambellini had followed up
his own rebound and poked it into the net. Sud-
denly, it was a game again. In a span of 20 sec-
onds, Tambellini used two quick flicks of the
wrist to single-handedly turn the game from a
blowout into a nail-biter.
The smooth-skating winger has now scorched
the net 22 times this season for a team-leading
total of 32 points. He has twice as many goals as
any other Wolverine.
Tambellini just doesn't play like a freshman.
This weekend against the Spartans, Michigan
was trying to keep its fight for the league cham-
pionship alive. In his first taste of the intense
rivalry between the two Michigan schools, Tam-
bellini seemed unfazed, unaware of any extra
pressure on him as the Wolverines' most consis-
tent offensive force. He started by giving Michi-
gan the quick start it needed Friday when he
scored 13 seconds in, and then breathed life into
the Wolverines in Saturday's third period.
Michigan coach Red Berenson compared him
to Brett Hull - the Detroit Red Wing whose
rocket shot has terrorized goalies - and Tam-
bellini has pure skating ability and a nose for the
puck togo along with his wicked shot.
He has shown the confidence all season to fire
off more shots than an AK-47. That, and the fact
that he said he has been "dying" to play Michi-
gan State since he attended the Cold War last
year, tells you that he has a hunger to play in big
games and a willingness to be the player Michi-
gan depends on when there's a lot on the line.
That is a desire that the rest of the Wolverines
need to pick up on, because as special as Tam-
bellini is, he couldn't pull out a win by himself
Saturday, and he is not going to be able to deliver
See LEWIS, Page 48

ing in Michigan's split with first-place Ferris
State two weeks ago.
Tambellini led the Wolverines to victory
against the Spartans on Friday, but almost more
impressive was his play in Saturday's loss.
Michigan fell 5-3 after Michigan State's empty-
netter in the final two minutes, but without Tam-
bellini, the Wolverines wouldn't have been close.
The Spartans blew open a one-goal game in the
third, and Michigan found itself down three
goals with 11:33 to go. Michigan State's fans
woke up from their second-period naps (they
must have been sleeping - why else was Munn
Arena so quiet for lengthy stretches?) long
enough to think the game was over.
But Tambellini was just getting started.
He chased down a puck in the right circle and
flipped it by Matt Migliaccio on the powerplay.

The Wolverines celebrate after scoring one of their three goals on Friday night. Three goals weren't enough for a win on Saturday, though.

Cagers find offensive
stride, down Buckeyes

Another scoring run
kills 'M' against State

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan was admittedly flat and
uninspired in a 63-49 loss to Indiana
last Wednesday.
The prescription for a healthy return
from that game arrived in Ann Arbor
Saturday in the form of Ohio State (5-
7 Big Ten, 12-11 overall).
Michigan (8-3,
15-9) took a 3-2 io 'TATE 54
lead in the game's MICHIGA 711
early stages and
never relinquished the advantage,
cruising to a 70-54 rout of the Buck-
eyes, the Wolverines 12th-straight win
at Crisler Arena. That streak is the
longest home winning streak for
Michigan since a 12-game streak span-
ning the end of the 1963 and begin-
ning of the 1964 season.
"It was a game that we needed to
stay in contention down the stretch of
the Big Ten conference season,"
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said.
"It was quite different for us (to have a
big lead), and it was a nice feeling."
"It's a good victory for us, we
showed we were ready to play," Michi-
gan forward Bernard Robinson said.
"We've just got to go out and get a vic-
tory on the road."

due to foul trouble. The junior fouled
out after playing just 18 minutes, scor-
ing no points, his worst offensive per-
formance since coming to Michigan.
But the Wolverines were able to
overcome, thanks mainly to the three-
pronged attack of forward LaVell
Blanchard and guards Daniel Horton
and Lester Abram.
Abram scored 10 of his 17 points in
the first four minutes of the game,
with Horton and Blanchard taking
over from there, scoring 21 and 19,
"Lester Abram carried them in the
first few minutes of the half," Ohio
State coach Jim O'Brien said. "Then
Horton was their guy at the end of the
half, and LaVell Blanchard hit some
big shots in the second half - that is
three different guys who carried them
at different spots of the game."
Just like in Michigan's 61-50 win at
Ohio State on Jan. 15, the Wolverines
stifled the Buckeyes' offense all day
long. The inspired play on the defen-
sive end once again started with
Michigan's ability to put the clamps on
guard Brent Darby.
The Detroit native entered Satur-
day's game sporting an 18.4 points per
game average, but was held to 12
points, the same total that he struggled

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer

"I wish our whole team had the
same attitude (I have)," Michigan for-
ward Jennifer Smith said.
After yesterday's embarassing 82-55
loss to Michigan M E S
State, Smith felt
that her team-
mates haven't shared her intensity dur-
ing the team's current seven-game
losing streak. Smith scored 27 points
to lead the Michigan scoring, nearly
half of the Michigan offense.
At this point in the season, it seems
anything the Michigan women's bas-
ketball team tries seems to come up
short in results.
Yesterday's home game was the
attempt to break the home attendance
record, but the season's largest crowd
of 4,474 came up short. But, more
importantly, the team also came up
short on the court.
The Spartans swept Michigan (2-10
Big Ten, 11-12 overall) this season for
the first time since 1997, and yester-
day's game seemed to pick up where
the game in East Lansing two weeks
ago left off - with Michigan on the
receiving end of a Michigan State run.
After forward Tabitha Pool hit a

13-2. The Spartans never looked back.
In recent weeks, it seems that Michi-
gan has allowed opponents a run that
has put the game out of reach. This
time, it started at the tip. Junior for-
ward Jennifer Smith felt that the
Wolverines work too hard on defense
to stop a run, and that keeps it going.
"I think it's hard for us once they go
on a big run," Smith said. "We know
how critical it is to make the next stop,
so we might put a little pressure on
ourselves (to stop it)."
Smith struggled to find her touch in
the first half, going 2-of-8 from the
floor. But in the second half, she domi-
nated the post, dropping 18 on 7-of-8
shooting. She also contained any
attempt by the Spartans to score inside.
But her teammates couldn't stop their
counterparts or score themselves.
Other than Smith, Michigan's three
other post players - Pool, LeeAnn
Bies and Raina Goodlow - were vir-
tually non-existent. They combined for
13 points and nine rebounds. Com-
bined with the season-long trend of
inconsistent guard scoring, Smith was
basically on her own.
Michigan State (8-4, 15-8) relied
heavily on the play of sophomore
guard Kristin Haynie, who nailed jump
shots from all over the floor, finishing
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