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January 20, 2004 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-20

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The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - January 20, 2004 - 3B
Under- 18 team gives 'M' trouble Breaki' down the strotlhrnu

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
Coming off last weekend's sweep of
Ohio State, the Central Collegiate
Hockey Association leader at the time,
it was not out of the question to think
that the Michigan hockey team might
have trouble getting juiced up for an
exhibition game. Michigan's opponent
this weekend had
no such trouble. -H N
For the United
States National Team Development Pro-
gram Under-18 team, the game was,
perhaps, its most important of the sea-
son. It was a chance for the team to
prove itself against one of the top col-
lege teams in the nation.
Michigan defeated the Under-18
squad 5-3 on Saturday night, but the
exhibition win did not come easily.
Michigan did not assert itself until
midway through the third period,
when it scored two quick goals and
took control.
With 15:22 remaining, Michigan
junior defenseman Eric Werner skated
deep into the Team USA zone. In an
instant, Werner sent a beautiful cross-
ice pass to alternate captain Eric Nys-
trom, who was waiting just outside
the crease. The pass completely
exposed goaltender Jordan Pearce,
and Nystrom easily punched the puck

into the open goal and gave Michigan
a one-goal advantage.
Nearly two minutes later, junior
forward Jason Ryznar took a shot into
traffic in front of the Team USA goal.
Freshman Mike Brown redirected the
shot by Pearce and into the net. The
goal put the Wolverines ahead 4-2 and
essentially put the game out of reach.
for Team USA.
Team USA added a goal late in the
third period, but it was not enough.
Michigan sophomore Jeff Tambellini
scored the final goal for the Wolver-
ines on an empty-netter with 16 sec-
onds remaining.
"We got a couple of chances that we
capitalized on that were timely chances,"
Nystrom said. "After the first period, we
kind of had a little bit of a wakeup call
because they were dominating the game.
We kind of picked it up in the second
and third periods, but by no means did
we dominate that game."
Michigan (9-4-1 CCHA, 14-7-1
overall) led 2-1 after the first period,
even though Team USA had domi-
nated on the ice. Although Team
USA allowed first period goals by
forwards David Moss and Nystrom,
it was able to tighten up its defense
and apply pressure to the Wolverines.
The junior team used its speed to
track down the puck and also proved
that it was not afraid to mix things

up with the bigger Wolverines
The hard work paid off. With 13:25
remaining in the period, defenseman
Brett Bevis collected a loose puck on
the right side of the Michigan zone
and fired a rocket past Michigan goal-
tender Noah Ruden.
Forward Kevin Porter, who has
signed a national letter of intent to
suit up for the Wolverines next sea-
son, also had several good scoring
chances late in the period, but Ruden
showed him the door each time.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
noted that the Wolverines were out-
played at the beginning of the game.
"They had us on our heels in the first
period," Berenson said. "It took playing
a first period before we got going."
Ruden got the start for the Wolver-
ines because the coaching staff decided
to give several of Michigan's key play-
ers a rest, including sophomore goalie
Al Montoya and senior captain Andy
Burnes.
Tambellini was pleased with the
way that Ruden filled in for Montoya.
"(He) kept us in there," Tambellini
said. "He was a huge part right from
the start of the game. There were a lot
of chances (where) they had two guys
in front of the net, wide open, and he
was able to stand in there and keep it
in our hands."
Tambellini ended a scoring drought
with two goals. The pair of goals
marked his first time scoring in the
last nine games that he has played for
Michigan.
"It's good to get it back," Tambelli-
ni said. "Goals go in swings, so hope-
fully they'll (start) back up."
Team USA is composed of some of
the top junior players from around the
country. It plays a full schedule of
games against both collegiate and
minor league teams across throughout
the country.
Nystrom, who played with the
USNTDP Under-17 and Under-18
teams in the 1999 and 2000 seasons,
respectively, was impressed by the
challenge that the USNTDP posed to
the Wolverines.
"They're not far off from most of the
teams from our conference," Nystrom
said. "They could compete if they play
every night like they (did) here. This is
(one of) their biggest game(s) of the
year, and they took it to us."
While Michigan was able to hold
off Team USA with a so-so effort,
Berenson noted that the team will
need to increase its intensity to win
in the weeks to come, including next
week against Western Michigan.
"What do we get out of the game?
How hard we have to play," Berenson
said. "There's not a big difference
between our (upcoming) opponents
and (Team USA). From here on in,
everybody's going to be strong."

.-
JEFF LEHNERT/Daily
Michigan alternate captain Eric Nystrom was a member of the USNTDP Under-18
team in 2000. In Saturday's game Nystrom scored a goal and notched an assist.

Coaches impressed with recruits

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer

When the United States National Team Development
Program Under-18 team came to Yost Arena last season,
three of its members - T.J. Hensick, Matt Hunwick and
Mike Brown - were committed to play for Michigan this
season. But, due to injuries, just Brown was able to play
the entire game.
This year, Michigan's two recruits from the Under-18
team competed the entire night and didn't disappoint.
Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter - who signed letters of
intent to play for Michigan next fall - both played strong
games against their future teammates, and their play won
praise from their future coach.
"I think that it was a good experience for them, and they
didn't hurt themselves playing tonight," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said. "It's good for them to play in games
like this so they realize what it's going to take next year.
That's why they're here - to play at this level."
Porter, a 5-foot-11 winger from Detroit, didn't manage
to make the scorer's sheet but was a threat every time he
was on the ice. Late in the first period, Porter found him-
self with an open net, but couldn't tip the puck past Ruden.
Another time, he skated on one foot around a Michigan
defender and fired another shot that Ruden turned aside.

But Porter has been more successful setting up teammates
this season, as his 16 assists are the second-highest total on
Team USA.
"Kevin's going to be able to step right into college hock-
ey next year," Team USA coach John Hynes said. "He'll be
a big-time player on this team because of his work ethic."
Where Porter looks to set up teammates, Kolarik will
likely be on the receiving end of those passes. Kolarik has
scored 18 goals so far this season and is tied for the team
lead with four powerplay goals. The 5-foot-il center from
Abington, Penn., notched an assist on Team USA's third
goal, when he connected with defenseman Nate Hagemo,
who slid into the zone and blasted a slap shot past Ruden.
"Chad has a lot of skill," Hynes said. "When he plays
hard, he is very effective. Both competed well and made
good plays."
Michigan associate head coach Mel Pearson - along
with assistant coach Billy Powers, who helps Pearson with
recruiting - was pleased with the play of both recruits.
"Kevin showed some good speed and did a lot of real
good things with the puck, but he just had trouble scoring
tonight," Pearson said. "He's going to be a real solid two-
way player for us.
"You could see the type of speed, skill and dynamics
that (Kolarik) has. I think they're both going to be big con-
tributors to our team next year."

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