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March 13, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-13

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01

Thursday
March 13, 2003
michigandaily.com/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

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SiRT

8A

Intensity, desire to
win drives Rogers

Amakers' effort needs
Big Ten recognition

a

By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Editor
Brandon Rogers was the only Michi-
gan defenseman on the ice during the
chaotic final minute of the third period

in last Friday's 4-4 tie
against Ohio State, and
he took the shot that
forward Andrew Ebbett
banged in to send the
game to overtime with
one second left.

oz
oo

But that's not the play that stuck with
Rogers. What lingered after the week-
end was a miscue he made against the
Buckeyes' R.J. Umberger in Saturday
night's 3-3 draw.
"I kind of let him get the best of me
on one play in the Saturday game, so I
wasn't thrilled about that," Rogers said.
"It was stressed all weekend how
important he is for their team and not to
let him get involved in the game, and
unfortunately, he was able to on Satur-
day, so that sort of frustrated me a lot."
Assistant coach Billy Powers said that
it bothered Rogers "to the point where
he almost gets too emotional about it,
and he's got to put it behind him."
Sophomore defenseman Nick

Martens said Rogers is super-competi-
tive and takes particular pride in one-
on-one matchups.
"He's a real intense kid," Martens
said. "He hates to get beat and he loves
to win, so you can tell his personality
carries over on the ice. He really works
hard on (one-on-one situations), and the
thing you can count on is him perform-
ing in one-on-one battles and winning
them for you."
Martens, who lives with Rogers, is
used to seeing that competitiveness -
all the time. He said his housemate is
"just as feisty off the ice as he is on it."
Rogers admitted he gets "teased
sometimes for maybe going over the
edge," but he said he can't help it.
"It's just, I guess, part of my nature,
and I don't even really think about it,"
Rogers said. "I hate to lose, so I do
whatever I can not to."
Even if he is just playing pingpong or
wrestling with his teammates.
Powers, for one, loves Rogers' com-
petitiveness, and cites it as one reason
why the sophomore has played so well
for the Wolverines this season.
Rogers is a key member of both the
penalty kill and powerplay units, and is
See ROGERS, Page IA

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
Michigan defenseman Brandon Rogers has always been an intense kind of guy.
Hopefully, for Michigan, that will help it beat Bowling Green this weekend.

NAWEED SIKORA
The Daily Grind
When I sat down to see who
had walked away with the
Big Ten's postseason
awards, I pretty much saw what I
had expected all along. Illinois'
Brian Cook, Purdue's Willie Deane,
and Wisconsin's Kirk Penney all
received their due for their success.
Michigan's "big three" managed to
bring home some hardware. Every-
thing seemed to be turning out right.
That is, until I got to the Coach of
the Year award. Now Wisconsin
coach Bo Ryan, who took the award
for the second consecutive season
after his team secured its first out-
right championship since 1947, cer-
tainly coached his Badgers well this
season.
But Tommy Amaker did more
than coach his team well. He did
more than bring in wins and turn his
team into a contender for the con-
ference title. He did more than bring
in talent. Amaker changed the face
of a program desperately in need of
a facelift. He took a team on the
rocks and got it to do something it
hadn't done in years: believe in
itself.
Amaker brought hope to the
future of the Michigan basketball
program, and created a basketball
buzz around Ann Arbor that this
campus hasn't seen since the early
'90s. He stood his ground despite
criticism from all over the country
about his coaching methods on the
court and his team's performance
last season. He should have been
named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
To say that many Big Ten coaches
were deserving of the award would
be a fair statement. But to say that

any coach was more deserving of
the award than Amaker this season
would be ridiculous.
Michigan was one of just two
teams (Purdue being the other) to go
from a below-.500 record in 2001-
02 to a winning record this season.
More importantly, the Wolverines
were in contention for the confer-
ence championship until their loss
to Illinois on March 1. And if it
wasn't banned from the postseason,
Michigan would more than likely be
a lock for The Big Dance.
Whether he likes to admit it or not
(and he doesn't like to admit it),
Amaker was the backbone of this
turnaround. He was given the
responsibility of putting all the
pieces - old and new - together,
and creating a cohesive unit out on
the floor. It was his job to breathe
life into a program void of any
direction or knowledge of how to
break out of a losing mindset.
And even though nobody seemed
to want to make it easy for him, he
succeeded in every way.
After a promising showing in last
year's Big Ten Tournament, the
Wolverines were hit with postseason
sanctions before the season could
even tipoff. That, coupled with six
straight losses and two players
(Dommanic Ingerson and Avery
Queen) gone from the team, put
Amaker in, to put it lightly, a bind.
As it stood, the Wolverines were
0-6 and were banned from the post-
season (which is a major motiva-
tional factor for most teams). They
had the depth of a kiddie pool and
the confidence of a mouse.
For most people, it would take a
visit from Rocky Balboa himself to
get them to stay motivated for the
remaining 23 games of the season.
But somehow, someway, Amaker
knew what needed to be said. And
his team responded. His theory of
wiping the slate clean and starting
fresh seemed a bit surprising. After
allno matter what you always know
See SIKORA, Page 10A

0

Merrimack's Exter still in serious condition

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
While Merrimack goalie Joe Exter remains in seri-
ous condition after suffering head trauma in a game
against Boston College last Friday, the entire hockey
world waits for the 24-year-old senior captain to get up
from his hospital bed.
Exter was injured last Friday when Boston College
forward Patrick Eaves and he collided while going for
a loose puck. Eaves' knee hit Exter's forehead,
knocked the helmet off of Exter's head and sent the
goaltender to the ice. Exter began seizing and bleeding
from the ears, and was immediately rushed to the hos-
pital where he was listed in serious condition.
It was last Saturday morning when Michigan for-
ward Michael Woodford, a former student of Cushing

Academy in Massachusetts - the same school that
Exter attended - found out about the tragedy.
"I found out on Saturday morning when (Michigan
assistant coach) Billy Powers told me," Woodford said.
"I called my parents, and they had talked to one of the
family friends of one of the assistant coaches for Mer-
rimack, and he said (Exter) was struggling."
Though Woodford did not attend Cushing with
Exter, he still knew him as part of the Cushing family.
"He was there the year before I came in," Woodford
said. "But I know him, he comes back home, and I've
talked with him."
Michigan played Merrimack earlier this season at
Yost Ice Arena, when the Wolverines won both con-
tests 5-1 and 4-1. Despite those games, Exter has com-
piled a-good record of 11-16-6 for a not very.;
high-scoring team (the Warriors have the second-worst

offense in the Hockey East).
"He's a really good goaltender," Woodford said.
"Merrimack's not the most skilled team, but he's facing
a lot of shots and he's been stealing a lot of big games
for them. It's tough to see this happen to him, because I
think he had a future ahead of him in hockey."
Michigan's Al Montoya was a teammate of Eaves'
last year and, as a goaltender, this tragedy hits close to
home for him, too.
"Everything I've heard about (Exter) is good stuff
and that he's a great guy" Montoya said. "It's really sad,
and my prayers and thoughts are with him. I also feel
terrible for Patrick Eaves."
The night after Exter's tragedy, Bowling Green
goaltender Tyler Masters had his helmet literally
ripped off by a slapshot from Ferris State's Carter
See EXTER, Page 10A

W,

m

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