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September 02, 2003 - Image 61

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-02

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The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003 - 7E
500: Berenson humbly reaches estone

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
DETROIT - When Michigan hockey coach
Red Berenson exited the Wolverines lockerroom
on the night of March 1 and saw the hoard of
reporters and TV cameras waiting to greet him, he
seemed a bit surprised.
The team's 5-4 win over Michigan State on Sat-
urday was the 500th victory of Berenson's 19-year
career in Ann Arbor. But Michigan's leader on the
bench doesn't put much stock in individual acco-
lades, especially in the crunch time of the Wolver-
ines season. He would much rather talk about his
"I'm still lamenting the fact that we didn't win
last night, and it's not because of the 500 busi-
ness," Berenson said of Michigan's 4-0 loss on Fri-
day. "It's because these were big games and we
lost a home game last night. We had to bounce
back with a better game tonight and I thought we
did that. If it's 500, then you guys have made a
pretty big thing of it and you know me, it's not a
big thing until it's all over."
Friday night had seemed like the perfect oppor-
tunity for Berenson to reach 500 - with a game at
Yost Ice Arena and Michigan's biggest rival in

town. It was also Senior Night for the five graduat-
ing Wolverines. But all of the distractions proved
to be too much. Michigan came out slowly and the
Spartans took advantage.
"I think there was so much built up into (Friday)
night's game, I think that's why we were so flat,"
associate head coach Mel Pearson said. "There
were so many distractions, and I think it showed in
our play."
But Saturday night, Michigan bounced back and
got its coach a milestone victory. For the graduat-
ing seniors, it was a fitting tribute to the man who
has led them to 106 victories in their college
"It's a very special thing for this program and
for Coach Berenson" senior captain Jed Ortmeyer
said. "He puts his heart and his soul into this pro-
gram and to be a part of something like this, it's
really why guys come to Michigan."
"It's a great feeling for us and for coach," senior
defenseman Mike Roemensky said. "Coach has
always been there for us. He has taught us a lot. It
means a great deal to us, as it does to him. Just to
be a part of it, it's just really something special."
With the win, Berenson also moved within one
victory of former Boston College coach John Kel-
ley for 13th on the all-time NCAA win list. Beren-

son has been coaching in the college ranks for
seven years less than any of the men ahead of him.
"Like I told our players, I can't score goals and I
can't stop the puck," Berenson said. "But we can at
least try and bring good players into our program
and mold them into good teams. And I think that's
why we're standing here tonight."
When Berenson arrived at Michigan for the
1984-85 season, he took over a struggling program
- the Wolverines had finished ninth in the CCHA
for the previous two seasons, combining for just
23 wins in 63 games.
But with Berenson behind the bench, Michigan
began a steady rise back to the top of the college
hockey world. By 1992, the team had its first regu-
lar season conference title since joining the CCHA
in 1981. By 1996, the Wolverines had their first
national title since 1964 - they added a second
title two years later. Over 18 plus seasons, he has
compiled a 500-240-50 overall record.
After Saturday night's game, Berenson didn't
want to dwell on that history.
"I think he was more relieved to get the two
points in the standings, which is huge right now,"
Pearson said. "But there's no question I think he's
relieved, that's behind him and there won't be any
focus on that, and that's the way he likes it."

One of Red Berenson's biggest wins came in 1996 when he and the Wolverines won his
first national title.

Monumental wiz proves gap A closing

Michigan's and Michigan State's campuses have always been
65 miles apart. But the gap that exists between the two schools'
basketball programs has been ever-changing. With eight con-
secutive wins, Michigan State had thoroughly dominated the
Wolverines in all facets of the game over the past five seasons.
But February 16, the Wolverines not only extended their
winning streak to 13, they put an end to years of frustration for
fans and players who have been waiting for this moment, and
this moment only, for a long time.
"It's exceptional," Michigan Ath-
letic Director Bill Martin said.
"Tommy (Amaker) has done exactly
what we wanted him to do, and a lot
sooner than I expected. And to have
the rivalry with (Michigan) State, it's
very exciting."
But looking back over the games
in the past few seasons, it's hard to NAWEED SIKORA
believe a turnaround like this hap- ,
pened so soon. Blowin Smoke
On March 4, 2000, Michigan was
embarrassed by Michigan State, losing 114-63 at the Breslin
Center. The Wolverines had lost four straight to the Spartans
prior to that game, but the 51-point loss margin was, and still
is, the largest in Michigan basketball history.
A season later, on Jan. 30, 2001, Michigan State beat Michi-
gan 91-64 in a game that felt like a Spartans' home game in
Ann Arbor. Green and white filled every corner of Crisler
Arena, and they were the only colors left by the final buzzer, as
most Michigan fans left early:
Even last season, with Amaker at the helm, it still wasn't the
time for a Michigan revival, as the Wolverines were beaten 71-
44 in East Lansing.
But all that is now forgotten.
All the bad memories this rivalry has given Michigan basket-
ball fans were washed away with yesterday's win, and, more
importantly, with the thought of what this team can do in the
next few seasons. All people could see was Daniel Horton
being hoisted up at center court following the buzzer, one fin-
ger pointed straight into the air, as fans rushed toward him to
celebrate what seems to be a changing of the guard.
Going into the Michigan State game last season, the Wolver-
ines were just 3-4 in the Big Ten. The Spartans were only 2-4 in

the conference at the time, but possessed a sizable mental edge
over the Wolverines. Michigan went to East Lansing wanting to
play well, but not expecting to win.
But this year, Michigan not only went into the Michigan
State game at 5-0 in the Big Ten, it went in overflowing with
confidence. The Wolverines weren't just hoping to play well,
they went in thinking victory.
They were also playing in front of a completely different
crowd. Two years ago, Michigan State fans had that field day
in Ann Arbor.
But yesterday, the Maize Rage student section wouldn't
allow that to happen, as their energy and enthusiasm created
an intimidating atmosphere most thought was impossible to
create at Crisler.
"It was the first time I've seen so many people in Crisler
Arena," freshman Lester Abram said. "When I walked out, I
was nervous."
For seniors LaVell Blanchard, Gavin Groninger and Rotolu
Adebiyi, they finally got their chance to celebrate a victory
over the Spartans. It didn't matter that Adebiyi was injured. It
didn't matter that Groninger only hit one 3-pointer, or that
Blanchard scored his only two points on free throws. All that
mattered was they finished their careers with Michigan, at least
for the moment, above Michigan State.
For Daniel Horton, Abram and the rest of Michigan's fresh-
men, this game was a statement - it was a preview of what's to
come. Whether they care about the rivalry or not, they certainly
respect it, and they have proved that losing is unacceptable no
matter who you are playing.
Michigan is back. If its first 12 wins of the season weren't
convincing enough, this win certainly puts it over the hump.
"Has the gap been closed? I think that it has," Michigan
State coach Tom Izzo said. "(Amaker) has done a hell of job
as we have done a hell of a job in East Lansing. This should
be a rivalry for many, many years. I have been saying that
when we were winning by 30, and I said it when we were
losing by 30."
Said Amaker: "(Michigan State) is a championship program,
and that is certainly the direction that we are aspiring to go."
The win was certainly a major step in that direction. After
all, you can't be the best team in the Big Ten if you're not the
best team*in the state.
Naweed Sikora can be reached at nsikora@umich.edu

Daniel Horton (4) after defeating the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday, January 26 at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.
Horton had 17 points as Michigan won 60-58 in its 13th straight win to put it at 13-6 for the season and 6-0 in the
Big Ten.

Continued from Page 1E
controlled much of the play in the
second period and cut into the lead
three minutes after Ortmeyer's goal.
Montoya had stopped two initial
shots, but the puck trickled past him
toward the net, allowing forward Troy
Riddle to come by the net and poke it
just past the goalline.
Minnesota then tied the game 1:35
into the third period when freshman
Gino Guyer received a pass in the
middle of the zone from sophomore
Barry Tallackson and one-timed it
through Montoya's legs.
Michigan had numerous chances to

take the lead in overtime, headlined by
when sophomore Jason Ryznar got the
puck with the entire net wide open.
But Minnesota defender Paul Martin
dove in front of Ryznar to save the
shot and the game with his stick.
The loss ends the career of six
Michigan seniors, including Ortmeyer
and alternate captain John Shouneyia,
who have stayed with the program
while two classmates left early for the
professional ranks the past two sum-
"When you lose, it's players like
Jed Ortmeyer (who) don't get another
chance at something like this," Beren-
son said. "They've given so much to
the team and to the program, and they
don't get another chance."

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