The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 27, 2003 - 3B
Northern Michigan 0
Northern Michigan 2
Michigan 2, Northem Michigan 0
o 00 o
1 0 1-2
Continued from Page 1B
Early in the third period, sopho-
more Andrew Ebbett won a faceoff
to the right of Kowalski and fed the
puck forward to junior Michael
Woodford, who skated behind the
net and found classmate Eric Wern-
er hugging the left goalpost. Rather
than shoot from a tough angle,
Werner made a clean pass across
the mouth of the goal to Ebbett,
who notched his second goal of the
"We just kept it simple," Ebbett
said. "We haven't been excelling
(on the powerplay) lately, so we've
been working in practice, and it's
started to come through."
Juniors Eric Nystrom and David
Moss added tallies on the man
advantage, the first multiple power-
play goal game since the Wolver-
ines took on Mercyhurst opening
But trying to score even-strength
goals proved to be a difficult task,
as the Wildcats kept grinding
Michigan's forwards all weekend.
Despite the high number of shots in
both games (34 yesterday and 57 on
Friday), quality scoring chances
were few and far between.
"That was a pretty physical
team," Ebbett said. "I think that's
something their coach puts into
their team, to make sure they grind
you out in the corners, and you just
have to battle."
As a result, most of the goals
Michigan got past Kowalski were
typically second chances and bro-
ken plays. Using screens - by hav-
ing multiple players crash the net
after firing a shot on goal -
seemed to be the only way to light
Struggling earlier this season, sophomore goaltender Al Montoya put together a
solid weekend, complete with his first shutout of the season on Friday.
First period - 1, MICH, Eric Werner 2 (T.J. Hen-
sick) 10:06. Penalties- Michael Woodford, MICH
(high sticking) 2:20; Nathan Oystrick, NMU (high
sticking) 2:20; Zach Tarkir, NMU (kneeing) 4:16;
Geoff Waugh, NMU (hit after whistle) 6:18; David
Rohfs, MICH (hit after whistle) 6:18; Pat Bateman,
NMU (cross-checking) 18:01.
Second period - none. Penalties - Al Montoya,
MICH (interference) 1:14; Waugh, NMU (slashing)
10:11; Brandon Rogers, MICH (tripping) 10:59; Dirk
Southern, NMU (hooking) 14:45.
Third period - 2, MICH, Milan Gajic 1 (Werner,
Andrew Ebbett) 10:19. Penalties - Patrick Murphy,
NMU (holding) 6:00; Oystrick, NMU (boarding) 9:34;
Jeff Tambellini, MICH (roughing) 11:14.
Shots on goal: NMU 4-5-10 19; MICH 21-27-9 57. Power
plays: NMU 0 of 3; MICH 1 of 6.
Saves - NMU, Kowalski 3-2-0 - 55; MICH, Mon-
toya 5-1-0 - 19.
At: Yost Ice Arena. Attendance: 6,973.
Michigan 5, Northem Michigan 2
Northern Michigan 1 1 0 - 2
Michigan 1 2 2 -5
First period - 1, MICH, Eric Nystrom 3 (Brandon
Rogers , T.J. Hensick); 2, NMU, Darin Olver 4 (Matt
Maunu, Andrew Cotois). Penalties - TEAM, NMU
(too many on ice) 5:15; Jason Dest, MICH (slashing)
7:58; Brandon Kaleniecki, MICH (high sticking)
16:19; Geoff Waugh (high sticking) 19:40.
Second period - 3, MICH, David Moss 1 (Jeff Tam-
bellini, Brandon Rogers); 4, NMU, Dirk Southern 3
(Justin Kinnugen, Geoff Waugh); 5, MICH, Andrew
Ebbett 2 (Matt Hunwick, Michael Woodford). Penal-
ties - Brandon Rogers, MICH (hit after whistle)
3:15; Dusty Collins, NMU (hit after whistle) 3:15;
Brandon Rogers, MICH (10-minute misconduct)
3:15; Andrew Contois, NMU (10-minute misconduct)
4:59; Patrick Murphy, NMU (slashing) 6:07; Al Mon-
toya, MICH (hit after whistle) 6:07; Zach Tarkir,
NMU (obstruction-tripping) 9:27; TEAM, MICH (too
many on ice) 10:45; Jamie Milam, NMU (interfer-
ence) 15:06; Nathan Oystrick (high sticking) 16:19;
Eric Nystrom, MICH (elbowing) 17:43; Matt Maunu,
NMU (high sticking) 18:25.
Third period - 6, MICH, Jeff Tambellini 5 (unassist-
ed); 7, MICH, Andrew Ebbett 3 (Eric Werner,
Michael Woodford). Penalties - Zach Tarkir, NMU
(interference) 6:31; David Moss, MICH (high stick-
ing) 8:48. Power plays: QU 1 of 5; MICH 1 of 10.
Saves - NMU, Kowalski 3-3-0 - 29; MICH, Mon-
toya 6-1-0 - 24.
At: Yost Ice Arena. Attendance: 6,714.
Brilliant gameplan gives
Michigan defense claws
"A lot of goals are rebounds,
deflections, loose pucks and the
odd good play," Berenson said.
"Werner made a great play to
Ebbett on (his second) goal, and
that was probably our cleanest goal
of the game. The rest of them were
deflections and that type of goal."
On the other end of the ice, the
Michigan defense was beginning to
come together and clamp down on
opponents. After surrendering nine
goals to Miami two weeks ago and
six to Quinnipiac last weekend, the
Wolverines pitched the first shutout
of the season on Friday, as goal-
tender Al Montoya turned aside all
19 shots. He stopped 24 of 26 shots
Montoya had been consistently
improving down the stretch last sea-
son and was expected to pick up
where he left off. But at the start of
the season, he had been inconsistent
at best. He gave up six goals to
Miami on Oct. 10 and was pulled in
the third period. Even against Quin-
nipiac last weekend, he allowed
nine goals in two games. But Fri-
day's shutout gave him some much-
"I feel I played pretty well,"
Montoya said. "Coming off the last
couple weeks, I just wanted to get
back in the groove of things. I start-
ed to get rolling and feeling good."
With the sweep, the sixth-ranked
Wolverines now move into a tie for
first in the CCHA with Ohio State
and Miami. The Wolverine take a
break from conference play next
Saturday with a contest- against
puts retirement on hold
after first goal on Friday night
J. BRADY MCCOLLOUGH
The SportsMonday Column
Markus Curry doesn't know
what to call it. I called it a
"swagger," but he wasn't
too sure about that.
No one can really put their finger
on what has the Michigan defense
playing like Wolverines again.
Maybe it's the claw.
The Wolverines gave the student
body 11 chances to showcase the
claw for a national TV audience,
shutting down Purdue's patented
spread offense for four quarters
I don't think it's a coincidence
that Michigan's defense has given
up just 34 points in six home
games and 82 points in three road
games. At home, the Wolverines -
like the students - have grown
claws. They never stop attacking
their prey, playing with a confi-
dence that is devastating to their
opponent. But it seems that as soon
as they hit the road and become the
hunted instead of the hunter, the
Wolverines immediately look like
they've been de-clawed.
With the potent Michigan State
offensive attack looming next week
in East Lansing - that sounds real-
ly weird, I know - the Michigan
defense can't afford another,
"Where did our claws go?" episode.
So, Sparty's gimmicky spread
offense awaits. What did the
Wolverines learn this week about
defending the spread?
Never stop attacking. Michigan
defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann
really outdid himself this week. It
would have been very easy for the
Wolverines to sit back in a zone
defense and play with the "Let's just
avoid giving up big plays" philoso-
phy. Instead, Herrmann loosened the
reins on the Wolverines, allowing
them to claw their way to three
turnovers and four forced fumbles.
Herrmann knew that Purdue could
eat Michigan alive with its short
passing attack. The Wolverines' only
option was to put together a defen-
sive package sprinkled with safety
and corner blitzes, forcing quarter-
back Kyle Orton to make quick
decisions with the ball. Herrmann's
plan - which emphasized lineback-
ers disguising their coverages by
showing blitz but instead backing up
into coverage - had Orton looking
like a scared, confused little child,
lost in the grocery store looking for
In this grocery store, Larry
Stevens was the can of Jolt, con-
stantly running his motor - and his
mouth - to keep the Wolverines
focused. On Purdue's first second-
half possession, the Boilermakers
drove all the way to the Michigan 4-
yard line. But Stevens, who team-
mates say is the loudest Wolverine,
- chased down Orton for a six-yard
sack. Purdue ended up kicking a
field goal, as the Wolverines
stopped Purdue for a second time in
the red zone.
Michigan's defense has excelled in
the red zone this season. Curry says
it's because the Wolverines are con-
stantly preparing for different scenar-
ios that put their back against the
wall to unfold. For instance, the
defense loved it at the end of the first
half when John Navarre fumbled the
ball to Purdue deep in Michigan ter-
ritory. Sharpen those claws, boys.
Just like in Michigan's loss at
Iowa, when the Wolverines held the
Hawkeyes to back-to-back field
goals after being faced with bad
field position, the defense found a
way to keep its prey out of the end-
zone. True freshman cornerback
Leon Hall intercepted a horrendous
Orton pass to keep the Boilermakers
off the scoreboard.
Not in our house.
What sets this Michigan defense
apart is its senior leadership. Cor-
nerback Jeremy LeSueur, linebacker
Carl Diggs, defensive tackle Grant
Bowman and Stevens have been in
every imaginable situation during
their careers and know how to moti-
vate their teammates. They're also
playing the best football of their
LeSueur, who Curry says is the
toughest guy on the defense, is play-
ing through a shoulder injury. But
don't think that's holding him back
- LeSueur is issuing the blows.
LeSueur had six tackles, a sack, a
forced fumble and two pass deflec-
Grant Bowman is tough as nails.
In fact, he's got screws holding his
massive body together after five
years of destruction. Curry sees
Bowman as the leader of the
defense, keeping everyone together
when times are good and bad.
And then there's Diggs. The fifth-
year senior stops the run better than
anybody, as he showed by forcing
the fumble that put the Boilermak-
ers away. Diggs was on the brink of
picking off Orton several times,
brilliantly executing Michigan's dis-
The seniors have presented a firm
foundation for Michigan's unbeliev-
ably talented youth to flourish with-
in. Lawrence Reid is becoming a
Curry and Hall are making it tough
for opponents to strictly throw away
from LeSueur. Pierre Woods and
Ernest Shazor are playing like the
freaks of nature we always thought
they'd become. In other words, this
defense is shaping up to be a domi-
nant force for years to come.
As bowling ball/defensive tackle
Gabe Watson said after Saturday's
game, the defense only has a swag-
ger "if we can do it two games in a
Without the students showing the
defense the way the next two games,
it will be up to Herrmann and the
Wolverines to make sure they're not
J. Brady McCollough can be reached at
By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer
In honor of parents weekend, the Michigan hockey
players' welcomed their parents onto the ice before Fri-
day's game against Northern Michigan for a photo
Milan Gajic's parents were unable to make it to Ann
Arbor all the way from British Columbia. Considering
their son had pretty drastic thoughts on his mind, it
might have a good game for them to attend.
Before his third-period goal in Michigan's 2-0 win
over Northern Michigan, the junior forward's frustration
had been mounting steadily higher. Gajic's first 17 shots
G A Pts +/-1
2 6 8 E
5 2 7 -1
2 3 5 -3
1 4 5 -3
0 4 4 E
0 3 3 E
1 2 3 1
2 13 E
3 0 3 -4
1 1 2 -4
0 2 2 -2
1 1 2 1
0 1 1 -2
0 1 1 2
0 0 0 E
0 00 E
0 0 0 -3
0 0 0 -1
25 36 61 -4
of the season didn't connect, and his hockey career
might have hinged on the eighteenth.
"Before (the goal) I was thinking about retiring, hon-
estly," Gajic said.
"I put (shots) everywhere: I put them off his head. I
put them off his back. I was getting pretty upset about
the whole situation."
One shot Gajic fired managed to knock off Northern
Michigan goaltender Craig Kowalski's helmet, but still
didn't cross the goal line.
"I don't know how I hit a goalie in the back of the
head and the puck didn't go in the net," Gajic said. "I'm
not a physics major, so I couldn't tell you."
No mathematical analysis was needed to analyze
Gajic's tally midway through the final period. Off a
faceoff won by sophomore forward Andrew Ebbett, jun-
ior defenseman Eric Werner got the puck and passed it
across the ice to an open Gajic at the left faceoff circle.
Gajic ripped a one-time slapshot to the top left corner
for the powerplay goal.
The immense relief that Gajic felt after his goal was
obvious to all 6,973 in attendance. As the puck hit the
net, Gajic threw up his arms and looked even more
energetic than usual.
"It was a great pass," Gajic said. "The goalie didn't
see it coming across, and I just had to shoot it."
The fact that he "just had to shoot it" was especially
key because of Gajic's tendency to do too much with the
puck. At times this season, Gajic has gotten caught try-
ing to make a perfect play.
In yesterday's game, coming out of the penalty box
early in the second period, Gajic received a pass and
was all alone in front of the goal. But he made one too
many moves and couldn't lift the puck over Kowalski's
Because of his penchant for being inconsistent - all
11 of his goals last year came at Yost Ice Arena -
Michigan coach Red Berenson hoped that Gajic's goal
signaled the start of a hot streak. With the 10-man jun-
ior class being relied on so much, Berenson would love
to see Gajic's flashes of brilliance, the ones that led him
to be drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers before he came to
Michigan, come together.
Gajic continued to fire at the net yesterday, but could-
n't convert any of his five shots. Another dozen shots,
and he might reconsider hanging it up again.
Player GP GA Avg Svs Pct Mins
Montoya 7 18 2.68 163 .890 415:50
Ruden 1 2 8.47 4 .667 14:10
TOTALS 7 20 2.86 167 .880 420:00
MICHIGAN 2, Northem Michigan 0
ALASKA FAIRBANKS 4, Ferris State 2
MICHIGAN STATE 4, Western Michigan 2
Miami 5, LAKE SUPERIOR 2
Union 3, BOWLING GREEN 1
} Notre Dame 1, BOSTON COLLEGE 0
Mercyhurst 3, OHIO STATE 2
ALASKA FAIRBANKS 4, Ferris State 1
MICHIGAN STATE 7, Western Michigan 3
Miami 2, LAKE SUPERIOR 1
BOWLING GREEN 1, Union 1
MICHIGAN 5, Northem Michigan 3
It's been a frustrating start of the season for junior Milan
Gajic, who scored his first goal in seven games.
1953 and 1964 Wolverines bring
Yost championship atmosphere
By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
W L T
4 3 0
3 4 1
6 1 0
2 3 1
3 3 0
3 2 0
3 3 0
1 4 1
0 3 1
1 2 1
There was a national champi-
at Yost Ice Arena
during this week-
Michigan, and it
had nothing to do
with the players that were skating
on the ice.
Members of the 1953 and 1964
NCAA Championship teams were
in Ann Arbor to celebrate the 50th-
and 40th-anniversary reunions of
their respective title runs. The 1964
team was brought onto the ice dur-
ing the first intermission, and the
1953 team was showcased after the
second period. Fans gave each
eronn a standing ovation as the
6-3 in the 1964 NCAA Champi-
The 1953 Wolverines, captained
by John Matchefts, beat Minnesota
7-3 to etch their names in Michigan
The '53 team also used the
reunion to wrap up some unfinished
business. The players on that team
hadn't received rings until this
weekend. Michigan was the champi-
on in 1951 and 1952, and the play-
ers received rings and watches those
Michigan also holds the record as
the only team to ever win three con-
MORE ON POWERS: While it may
not be common to see a player go to
the hospital as a result of a normal
play, it does happen. When a coach
is sent to the hospital, it's an entire-
iv different story.
Powers unfortunately made news
before yesterday's game against the
Wildcats. At the end of the national
anthem, Powers collapsed on the
Michigan bench. Powers left the
bench for the lockerroom where he
passed out a second time. Powers
was then taken to the University
Head coach Red Berenson noted
that Powers had been recruiting in
Chicago on Saturday and had an
early morning flight back to Ann
Arbor yesterday. Berenson speculat-
ed that fatigue might have played a
factor in the frightening episode.
Powers was later cleared and
released from the hospital.
Berenson and the Michigan play-
ers expressed Suge relief to hear he
"It's pretty scary, but it's good to
hear that he's doing well." sooho-
The Michigan defense has grown claws at home, but has played like Its de-clawed
on the road this season.
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HOW THEY FARED
No.1 New Hanpehire (30) vs. Canisius
W8-2, vs. Niagara L 5-2.
No. 2 Boston College (3-2-1) vs. Notre
Dame L 1-0.
Nn_ 2 Minnan a t.1-3-01uv. Minnacrt.