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September 03, 2002 - Image 61

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _____ _The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 7E

FINAL FOUR
Continued from Page 1E
Grant Potulny just 4:20 into the
game. Werner attempted an outlet
pass from behind the net, but it hit
Minnesota's Jeff Taffe and deflected
toward Michigan graduated-senior
goalie Josh Blackburn.
Playing in his final game for the
Wolverines, Blackburn made the ini-
tial stop, but Potulny was on the
doorstep to hammer it home.
The early goal drastically shifted
the momentum in favor of the
Gophers, whose size and quickness
seemed to overpower the Wolverines
from that point on.
Outside of a few scattered chances,
the Wolverines failed to generate any
sort of rhythm on offense, often being
pushed back on their heels by the
Gophers.
Potulny struck again early in the
second period, this time on the power-
play. The sophomore, who was posi-
tioned in front of Michigan's net to
screen Blackburn, made a perfect
deflection on a point shot from team-
mate Jordan Leopold to put the.
Gophers up 2-0.
Michigan's best opportunity to get
back in the game came halfway
through the second period, when it
received a 5-on-3 powerplay opportu-
nity for 39 seconds.
A goal at that point would have cut
the deficit to one and given the

Wolverines a crucial surge of momen-
tum. But Minnesota's penalty kill was
unbreakable, not only killing the 5-
on-3, but also killing all six of Michi-
gan's chances on the night.
"Our penalty kill was solid
tonight," Minnesota defenseman Jor-
dan Leopold said. "Everybody did the
job tonight. You don't like to deal with
5-on-3 chances going against you, and
it was a little nerve-wracking as guys
started to get tired out there, but we
killed it off."
The Wolverines had not come back
from a 2-0 deficit all season, and were
just 2-8-1 when trailing after two peri-
ods. But an early goal in the third
period would still have brought them
back into the game. Unfortunately for
Michigan, the early goal came from
the Gophers.
Taffe drove the nail into Michigan's
coffin with a breakaway goal less than
two minutes into the third period. His
goal, which turned out to be the
game-winner, gave Minnesota a 3-0
lead.
The Wolverines made it interesting
in the end, as J.J. Swistak scored a
shorthanded goal at 13:55 and Jed
Ortmeyer scored with the extra man at
1:34 to bring them within one. But
that was as close as they would come.
"You could tell that Michigan was
going to keep pressing," Hauser said.
"They got two goals, and they were
pushing hard. But we made the plays
to hold them off."

FRESHMEN
Continued from Page 1E
Michigan has had mixed success with incoming
forwards.
There is no guarantee how well forwards will
be able to adapt to the high level of intensity, but
with the occasional letdowns come the pleasant
surprises.
"You never know how (incoming freshman)
are going to do," Pearson said. "Even this year's
freshman class, we thought some kids would
have done more than they did and others not
quite as much. It balances itself out."
On the other end of the ice, 17-year-old goal-
tender Alvaro Montoya is fast-tracking through
high school and has been taking computer cours-
es to complete his high school requirements.
He will also join the Wolverines in the fall.
Montoya will follow in the footsteps of Steve
Shields, Marty Turco and Josh Blackburn to
become the fourth goalie in row to start as a
freshman.
While Montoya will be the youngest of the
four, he has the makings of a good netminder.
"(Montoya) is going to be given every chance
to be the number one guy," Pearson said. "He is
very athletic, he's played in some high pressure
situations this year and done very well."
Michigan allowed the second fewest goals per
game last season and returns a solid defense next
year, which the coaching staff hopes will help
Montoya adjust to college hockey.
"We think we are going to have a very good
team, a strong team, strong defensively in front
of (Montoya)," Pearson said. "So we expect him
just to stop the shots he should stop. Hopefully,
he won't see many shots."

DANNYMOLOSHO/ Daily
Dwight Helminen played more like an upper-classman than a freshman last season with his 18 points for the year.

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