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March 31, 2003 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-31

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 31, 2003 - 58

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Cornell wins thriller in second tY.e3
OT; Minnesota to meet Blue aga in

Cornell's Matt McRae needed a cal-
culator to describe the most impor-
tant goal of his hockey career.
"I take my last greatest goal and
times it by a billion," said McRae,
who scored 1:09 into the second
overtime to give the Big Red a 2-1
victory over Boston College in the
NCAA East Regional champi-
onship yesterday.
"It's definitely the biggest goal
I've ever scored," he said. "That was
euphoric ... it was amazing."
McRae scooped up a loose puck at
center ice, took it down the right side
and beat BC goalie Matti Kaltiainen
for his fourth goal of the season.
The win gives Cornell (30-4-1)
its first berth in the NCAA Frozen
Four since 1980. The Big Red will
take on New Hampshire in a nation-
al semifinal game on April 10 in
Buffalo, N.Y.
"I was coming across center ice
and I had some speed, and I had
some space to shoot," McRae said.
"The goalie was cheating (to the)
far side. He had stopped me with
11 seconds left in the first overtime
shooting to the other side, so I
decided it was time to change it up
a bit and shoot near side."
Cornell extended its unbeaten
streak to 15 games (14-0-1) and its
win streak to 10.
The Eagles (24-11-4) appeared to
have snapped a 1-1 tie at 12:01 of the
third period when Stephen Gionta
stuffed the puck inside the right post.
Referee Don Adam initially ruled it a
goal, but after consulting with the
video replay official, disallowed the
goal because BC's Peter Harrold was
in the crease.
"There weren't a lot of chances out
there," said BC's Ben Eaves. "We
worked so hard and were on such a
high (after Gionta appeared to have
scored). It's real tough."
Earlier in the game, it was the
Eagles who benefited from a replay
decision. Cornell goalie David LeN-
eveu made a pad save on Tony Voce
and the rebound deflected in off the
skate of BC's J.D. Forrest. Following
a review, the goal was allowed since
it came on a deflection instead of
having been kicked in.
Cornell took a 1-0 lead at 10:05 of
the first period when Ryan Vesce

intercepted a clearing pass by Forrest
and drilled home a shot from the
right faceoff circle.
Kaltiainen had 34 saves for BC.
LeNeveu made 26 saves for the
Big Red.
"This team has been driven since
last year," said Cornell coach Mike
Schafer, whose team narrowly
missed a trip to the 2002 Frozen
Four, losing to New Hampshire in the
East Regional Final. "We've come
full circle. We've given ourselves a
chance to accomplish our goals."
the first half of the season, the
Gophers' offense was slower to start
than your father's Olds on a cold
Minnesota morning. But that's not
the case anymore - and just in time.
The defending national champions
scored twice in the opening 98 sec-
onds Saturday at Mariucci Arena,
then matched Ferris State goal-for-
goal to win 7-4 and advance to the
Frozen Four.
"We kind of got sick of the coach-
es yelling at us, so we picked it up
right away," joked Thomas Vanek, the
West Regional MVP, after scoring
two goals against the Bulldogs.
Minnesota, which trounced Mercy-
hurst 9-2 Friday, plays in the semifi-
nals April 10 in Buffalo, N.Y. Ferris
State beat North Dakota 5-2 Friday.
"It might be one of those situa-
tions where you learn from your
mistakes," the Gophers' Keith Bal-
lard said of the team's quick starts in
their last three games. "We're ready
to play, finally."
The Gophers out-shot the Bulldogs
25-6 in the opening period on their
way to a 49-20 edge for the game.
"There was nothing they could do
wrong in that first period," said Ferris
State's Troy Milam. "It was hard for
us to come back."
The Bulldogs did manage a come-
back, getting two goals from Chris
Kunitz and a shorthanded score by
Derek Nesbitt to cut the lead to 5-3
late in the second period.
That's when Vanek stepped out of
the penalty box, took a pass from
Matt Koalska, raced in on the net and
flipped it up and over Ferris State
goaltender Mike Brown to regain the
three-goal lead.
"That was a big-time play," said
Minnesota coach Don Lucia. "We

were able to answer. You have to be
able to take a punch."
The early offensive onslaught set
the tone. Matt Koalska scored on the
game's first rush off the opening
faceoff, tipping Vanek's pass by
Brown just 13 seconds into the game.
It was the fastest opening score ever
in an NCAA regional game.
Ballard scored unassisted 1:25
later, and Jake Fleming made it 3-0
on a slap shot past Brown with 13:51
left in the first period.
"Minnesota scored quickly and it
put us back on our heels," said Ferris
State coach Bob Daniels. "We started
losing our composure. I had to col-
lect myself, I told them were not that
bad and they're not that good."
After Chris Kunitz scored in the
first period to cut the lead to 3-1,
Vanek stole a pass in the offensive
zone and went top-shelf on goal-
tender Mike Brown just 39 sec-
onds later.
Kunitz scored his second goal late
in the first period, but Matt
DeMarchi blasted in a shot from
inside the blue line 1:06 later. That
gave the Gophers a 5-2 lead.
Vanek's second goal came nearly
seven minutes after Derek Nesbitt's
shorthanded score, and put Min-
nesota up 6-3.
The Gophers seven goals were
the most given up by Ferris State
this season.
"When the team's back is to the
wall, they play their best," said
Lucia. "Last year's team had that
same trait."
The Gophers made it back to the
Frozen Four despite losing their three
top scorers from last season - John-
ny Pohl, Jeff Taffe and Hobey Baker
winner Jordan Leopold. They also
fought through a rash of injuries that
saw Koalska, Grant Potulny, and
Barry Tallackson, among others, miss
substantial playing time.
"The growth has been as good as
any team I've coached," said Lucia.
"I think they developed some mental
toughness with all the injuries."
Lucia is headed to his third
Frozen Four as a coach. His Col-
orado College team lost to Michi-
gan in the 1996 championship
game, and last year's Gophers
edged Maine in overtime for the
school's fourth national crown.

Despite being the No. 4 seed, Wayne State was rooted on as if it was the favorite against Colorado College on Saturday.
Yost fans don't hold back agit SI
Colorado College cheer Warniors

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor

For about two hours Saturday, a
group wearing green and white was
the most popular team in Yost Ice
It definitely wasn't that team off I-
69. Instead, it was a senior-laden group
of Warriors from about 30 minutes
east of Ann Arbor. The College Hock-
ey America Champion Wayne State
Warriors entered this weekend's
regional as heavy underdogs - espe-
cially considering the Warriors were
going up against the regional's top
seed in Colorado College, also the sec-

ond-best team in the nation.
But as a scoreless game went longer
and longer into the first period,
momentum started fueling for Wayne
State. Many of the Michigan fans who
were just sitting through Saturday's
first game to make sure they got their
money's worth began to side with the
slower-footed, but harder-hitting War-
riors. Chants of "Let's go Warriors!"
began to circulate, and traditional Yost
cheers were converted to root for
Wayne State instead of Michigan.
"Ug-ly par-ents" was still heard -
despite it not being Michigan that was
scored on - throughout when the
Tigers scored their first goal to take




Record: 15-6-7 WCHA, 26-8-9 overall
How Minnesota got here: With five goals in the first
period of Saturday's West Regional, the defending
national Champions easily dismantled Ferris State
7-4 to reach the big show. Minnesota defeated
Mercyhurst 9-2 in the Sweet 16.
Key player: Freshman forward Thomas Vanek
29 goals, 29 assists, 3 game-winners
4( J

Record: 15-5-4 Hockey East, 27-7-6 overall
How New Hampshire got here: The Wildcats rode
the coattails of goalie Mike Ayers to the Frozen
Four, as Ayers turned away 27 shots by Boston
w University for a 3-0 win. On Friday, St. Cloud
State was taken down by New Hampshire, 5-2.
Key player: Senior forward Lanny Gare
22 goals, 29 assists, 3 game-winners Gare
= (Obmom

the lead at the 16:26 mark of the first
period. And when Wayne State senior
defenseman Keith Stanich scored the
tying goal 4:51 into the second period,
Wayne State earned winged helmets in
the minds of the Michigan faithful as
the place erupted as if Michigan's Jed
Ortmeyer had done it.
"To get the first one and to start
the emotion and get the guys going
on the bench is an incredible feel-
ing," Stanich said.
For others, this was a chance to make
moments in a bigger in-state venue.
"Being from Michigan, I was loving
the fact that Michigan fans were root-
ing for us and actually started cheers
for us," said Wayne State co-captain
and Trenton resident Jason Durbin.
"They welcomed us with open arms. I
was extremely ecstatic to get the
chance to play in this tournament and
especially to play in this rink."
Even Wayne State coach Bill
Wilkinson said that normally he isn't
big fan of the "sieve" chant, but he did
enjoy it when it was used against Col-
orado College goaltender Curtis McEl-
Though Wayne State did not win
Saturday, as Colorado College eventu-
ally pulled away for a 4-2 win, those at
Yost appreciated seeing a No. 4 seed
actually come to play well against a
top seed. No other regional had as
close of a game between the one and
four seeds.
"I'd like to start by compliment-
ing Wayne State on how hard and
how well they played," Colorado
College coach Scott Owens said.
"We knew it would be a battle. They
were stronger on their sticks and
played well."


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