12A -The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 4, 2004
Michigan's season hinges on series against archrival
When Michigan and Michigan State square off; there's usu- shutout came against Michigan in East Lansing on Dec. 6.
ally more than just state bragging rights on the line. The ArVATAG: i'H N STATE
matchup often plays a big factor in determining CCHA
supremacy, and this weekend's series is no different.
With a single win, the CCHA regular season title will
belong to the Wolverines. Michigan currently leads second-
place Miami by just two points. The Spartans sit in third, two PROF. BRIAN SCHICK ON MICHIGAN'S DEFENSE VS. MICHIGAN
points behind the RedHawks. STATE'S OFFENSE:
With the series set to begin tomorrow, The Michigan When these two teams last met, the home-and-home
Daily's hockey professors (a.k.a.. the hockey beat writers) are series was very low-scoring, and the
here to break down the matchups. home team in each game won 2-0. Even
PROF. MICHAEL NISSON ON MICHIGAN'S OFFENSE VS. MICHI- though they lost the game, the Michi-
GAN STATE'S DEFENSE: gan defense held the Spartans to 17
On paper, this matchup between Michigan's shots in East Lansing - including
offense and Michigan State's defense looks just four in the third period. Since
very intriguing. Both units are ranked No. 1 then, Michigan's blueliners have steadi-
in the CCHA. The Spartans allow 2.16 ly increased their plus/minus rating, and,
goals per game, while the Wolverines over the conference year, Michigan has
have averaged 3.71 each contest. So allowed just over two goals per game,
something has to give. second best in the conference.
Until last weekend, the Michigan Freshman Matt Hunwick leads all
offense was sizzling. In the three games Michigan defenders at +15.
prior to the Notre Dame series, the Michigan will need to shut
Wolverines averaged a blistering 6.67 down the Spartans' top line of
goals per game. And it wasn't a David Booth, Mike Lalonde
single line doing all the work. and Jim Slater. The trio has
Ten different players combined for 43 of
scored goals in the Michigan State's
three games. 119 total goals.
The Spartans have DANNYMOLOSHOK/Daily Booth scored
allowed two or fewer Freshman center TJ. Hensick the lone even-
goals in 16 of their strength goal the
28 CCHA games this last time these teams met, but Michigan was able to shut
season. Two of Michigan State's seven shutouts this season down Michigan State's other three lines. If Michigan
came last weekend against Nebraska-Omaha. Another contains-the Spartans' top line, it should be in great
shape to win.
PROF. GENNARO FIUCE ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Looking over the entire season, Michigan has
advantage when it's on the powerplay. The
Wolverines lead the CCHA in extra-man
percentage (.219). In their last three games,
though, the Wolverines have struggled, scor-
ing in just in 2 of 22 powerplays. During
this drought Michigan has created plenty
of quality chances, but hasn't been able to
put the puck in the net. After a slow start
to the season, the Michigan State penal-
ty kill has really picked it up recently.
In the last 10 games, the Spartans
have given up just two goals in 43
When they've enjoyed a man-
advantage, the Spartans have
been fairly successful. But their
powerplay opportunities have been
limited - 46 less than Michigan's total.
The penalty kill is the Wolverines' Achilles-
heel. This special teams matchup comes
down to how many times Michigan State.
can get the extra attacker.
PROF. SHARAD MATTU ON GOALTENDING:
Al Montoya, who injured his hamstring during Friday's
loss to Notre Dame, practiced yesterday for the first time
this week and should be ready for Friday. And it's impor-
tant that he's ready to go because the Spartans' Dominic
Vicari has been tremendous all season long. The fresh-
man's 1.87 goals against average, .933 save percentage
and six shutouts lead the CCHA. And he wasn't even the
starter at the beginning of the season.
An interesting, unrelated side note is that Stan Matwi-
jiw, Michigan's goaltending coach, was Vicari's per-
sonal coach in high school before Vicari went to
Though Montoya's statistics (2.31 GAA,
.913 save pct. and five shutouts) don't
quite match up with Vicari's, he is battle-
tested. He dominated last year's CCHA
Super Six and NCAA Regional, so the
regular-season finale definitely
won't faze him.
Friday at Michigan
State's Munn Ice Arena:
Michigan State 2,
Saturday at Joe
Louis Arena in
Detroit: Michigan 3,
Michigan State l
Dave Weatherwax/The State News
Freshman goaltender Mike Vicari
Continued from Page 8A
said. "They didn't have to make a bas-
ket. They made free throws (instead)."
Amaker hasn't beaten Indiana in his
five attempts as coach at Michigan, and
last night may have been his best chance
yet. Michigan had won three of its last
four games heading into Bloomington,
while Indiana had dropped seven of
eight, including its last four straight at
The Wolverines' next game will
come on Saturday against Northwest-
ern, and Michigan will look to improve
its seeding for the Big Ten Tournament.
Continued from Page 8A
Marshall Strickland bricked a run-
ner with the shot clock winding
down. It was a miss that should
have allowed the Wolverines yet
another chance to tie or take the
But Michigan fumbled the
rebound into the hands of Perry,
and the Wolverines instead were
forced to foul.
"We've got to grab the ball,"
guard Daniel Horton said. "That's
part of basketball."
"It's hard to overcome those
kinds of things in a tough ball-
game, in a close ballgame on the
road," said Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker of the play.
Indiana coach Davis said after
his team's win last night, the Big
Ten Tournament will be "wide
open" come next weekend.
If Michigan has any chance of
grabbing the automatic bid to the
NCAA Tournament given to the
Big Ten tourney champ - probably
the only chance it has left to do any
dancing - it's got to make plays in
the final two minutes, and take
advantage of its opportunities at the
Big Ten Tournament.
"We've just got to find ways to
pull it out," Horton said. "We've
got to make free throws, get crucial
rebounds. It's something we just
have to do."
Daniel Rosen can be reached at
YESTERDAY S GAME
200 19-51141910298 19 58
FG%: .373. FT%: .737. 3-point FG: 4-11,
.364, (Horton 4-7, Abram 0-1, Robinson 0-
3). Blocks: 6 (Brown 2, Sims 2, Horton,
Robinson). Steals: 5 (Horton 2, Petway 2,
Sims). Tumovers: 7 (Harris 2, Robinson 2,
Brown, Petway, Team). Technical fouls: