The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 1, 2004 - 3B
Student section disgraces 'M'
The SportsMonday Column
This column goes out to the people who make the
Big House student section a horrible place to watch
football. This column goes out to all you cynics who
unleash the boo birds when true freshman Chad Henne
throws consecutive incompletions and call for Lloyd
Carr's head when he punts in a situation in which, if he
didn't punt and then failed to convert on fourth down,
you'd be calling for his limbs as well. And this column
goes out to all you hopeless jokes who left the 97th
meeting in this classic intrastate rivalry when DeAndra
Cobb took a counter 64 yards to give Michigan State a
27-10 lead with 8:43 left.
Because I'm isolated in the horribly mundane
atmosphere that is the press box, I wasn't aware of
any early exits until I returned to my humble abode.
Upon arrival at 633 Church St. late Saturday night,
my housemates informed me that our friend "Lucy"
(who's actually male, but inherited a tough nickname)
stormed out of Michigan Stadium following Cobb's
scamper. Immediately after I heard this, I almost col-
lapsed in shock. Lucy, a Michigander who takes up
most of my free time yapping about the Wolverines'
exploits on the field and his passionate leadership in
the stands, exited the Big House gates when the men
in maize and blue needed his support - and vocal
chords - the most. A self-titled "diehard Michigan
fan," Lucy had completely given up hope on a team
that erased an even bigger fourth-quarter deficit just
one year ago at Minnesota.
And he wasn't the only spineless student at the
northeast corner of Main Street and Stadium Boule-
vard on Halloween Eve. Upon further investigation of
Lucy's ridiculous antics, my housemates divulged that
our friend had been joined by about 1/4 of the student
At first, this statistic stunned me. But I quickly
remembered that this is Michigan - the school where
hoards of students lose the faith at the drop of a hat (or
ball). This is a student body that despised record-set-
ting quarterback John Navarre. This is a student body
that, following a loss at Notre Dame earlier this season,
began to bring up the Motor City and Alamo Bowls.
This is the student body that never fails to impair my
Saturday experience in some idiotic fashion.
Somehow, through all the negativity, I've held back
from completely condemning sections 26 though 29 for
three-and-a-half years. But Saturday's fourth-quarter
exodus was the straw that broke my back.
How can Michigan students struggle so much to
keep the faith?
You pessimists out there need to grab last year's stu-
dent section game shirt, put it on Kris Kross-style and
look into a mirror.
In case the shirt's not handy, Michigan has the most
wins in college football history (841). The Wolverines
have won 11 national titles, including one within the
last seven years. Michigan's won an outrageous 41 Big
Ten titles and played in 29 straight bowl games.
How in Bo Schembechler's name can so many stu-
dents, following such a dominant team, function in
such a traitorous fashion? It's mind-boggling
Maybe it's because I grew up as a diehard fan of Cal
- the "sturdy" Golden Bears never finished over .500
from 1994 through 2001 - but I can never imagine
unleashing the cynicism that many Michigan students
express on a daily basis.
Luckily, I know I'm not alone.
Although there are enough wet blankets sprinkled
throughout the Michigan student section to really mar
the group's gameday performance, there's still a large
group of sensible students who just love the idea of
watching pigskin fly through the autumn sky over
And this was evident in the final eight minutes of
regulation and three overtimes of Saturday's game.
After a few thousand naysayers left the Big House,
the student section was by far the loudest it has been
Optimism overwhelmed Michigan Stadium, and the
play on the field ironically (or not?) augmented the
newfound glee in the stands.
The atmosphere was unbelievable.
And following one of the most amazingly unpredict-
able sporting experiences of my life, I've come up with
a resounding plea for all you "fans" who decided that
you had better things to do at 7 on Saturday night than
keep faith in your team:
Instead of leaving the game early next time, just
don't show up at all.
Gennaro Filice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wolverine captain Eric Nystrom dodges a hit during Friday's Michigan win. The series featured 94 minutes in penalties.
Icers power play is powerless
By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
BIG RAPIDS - Michigan senior
captain Eric Nystrom believes that you
don't deserve to win hockey games
when your team cannot capitalize on
5-on-3 power plays. After failing to
take advantage of three such power
plays on Friday and
another during Sat-
urday night's con-
test, Michigan could
lucky to walk away
with a split against
After spending the week working
on the power play, the results for an
already concerned Berenson were
not encouraging. Junior Brandon
Kaleniecki came close to scoring on
the two-man advantage on Saturday,
but his shot was nabbed by Ferris
State netminder Mike Brown.
"I can't tell you it's been a productive
power play," said Berenson earlier this
week. "We've scored by committee."
Senior forward Milan Gajic,
the only Wolverine that has mul-
tiple goals with the man-advantage,
remains optimistic that Michigan has
the ability to put an explosive power
play on the ice.
"With our firepower, you expect
those power plays to go in," Gajic
said. "Down the road, we're going to
have six power play goals."
Last season, Michigan had 13
power play goals to its opponent's
five through eight games. During the
same span this season, the Wolver-
ines have just eight goals with the
extra man and hold a one power play-
goal margin over their opponent.
Michigan's pow-r play might not
have been effective on Friday, but
it helped them sustain their sec-
ond-period lead. The Wolverines
were up 2-0 when Ferris State was
hit with four penalties in just over
"Our problem was that we used a lot of
juice killing those (5-on-3 advantages),"
Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said.
"We used a lot of the same guys. (Derek
Nesbitt) and (Jeff Legue) were out there
almost the entire time - and (Matt York).
Those are our offensive players, too. I
just thought that we petered our offensive
Currently, Michigan sits in a three-
way tie for fifth in the CCHA power
play rankings. If the Wolverines hope
to stay near the top of the conference
standings, the power play unit needs
to start putting its shots through and
lighting the lamp.
MONTOVA'S RUN-IN WITH A BULLDOG:
Along with posting one of the more
impressive spans between the pipes for
the Wolverines -going 150 minutes and
one second without yielding a goal -
Michigan goalie Al Montoya frequently
found himself in the midst of some extra-
curricular pushing and shoving.
After a physical game on Friday
that featured 20 minutes worth of
after-the-whistle penalties, the ref-
erees seemed determined to curb
the amount of pushing and shov-
ing after play stopped. Just before
the midway point of the first, as
Montoya attempted to trap a puck
against the left post, a crowd began
to form. When the refs finally
broke apart the shoving matches,
four players -- senior Jason Ryznar
and sophomore Matt Hunwick for
Michigan - found themselves in
the box for roughing.
"That's a trademark of this team,"
Nystrom said. "(Ferris State) is a
good physical team."
Montoya's run-ins with Ferris State
forwards didn't end there. Later in the
second period, Montoya went out to
play an iced puck when Legue came
crashing around the boards and Mon-
toya took him out. While both sat on
the ice, Legue chucked the Michigan
goalie's stick across the ice.
"They think that if they can't
put the puck in the net, they'll find
another way to get me off my game,"
Montoya said. "(That) usually makes
me play better. That's what they like
to do, they're that kind of team."
WOLVERINE LOCKDOWN: Michigan
spent much of the weekend brewing
up frustration in the Bulldogs. Fer-
ris State's leading scorer, Matt Ste-
fanishion, was held pointless and let
his bench know it. In the third period
Saturday - a day after Stefanishion
was given a 10-minute misconduct
for slashing after the whistle - Nys-
trom leveled the freshman inside
the Michigan zone. After getting up
slowly, Stefanishion went over and
slammed his stick into the boards in
"I wouldn't say either team was
too disciplined (Saturday)," Nystrom
said. "They were physical, and they
got that one bounce and it went in."
While comical at times, the Michigan student section is overly pessimistic toward the play on the field, and it really showed
when 1/4 of the section left with nine minutes left on Saturday.
Continued from page 1B
game," Berenson said. "We didn't
capitalize on any of our chances,
and the game came down to one
shot and they got the break on the
shot. We had the benefit of more
scoring chances. We had a good
chance to win this game."
Michigan has not won a game in
Big Rapids since a 5-4 victory on
Nov. 30, 2001. But Montoya insists
that the atmosphere in Ferris State's
building has not been the deciding
factor in Michigan's losing streak.
"They have a good home pres-
ence, but they don't intimidate us,"
Berenson recognizes the home ice
advantages common to both teams.
"(Ewigleben Ice Arena) has never
been kind to Michigan," Berenson
said. "It's a great home rink for Fer-
ris, and our rink is a great home rink
for Michigan. That is what it is like
playing on the road in the CCHA.
Yet that was still a game we could
have won. That's the best we've
played in here in recent years."
But in the end, Michigan simply
could not find the offense that gave
the Wolverines the decisive edge on
In the first game of the weekend
set, Michigan freshman forward
Kevin Porter scored after taking a
cross-ice pass from junior forward
Andrew Ebbett on a 2-on-I at 7:19
of the second period. Just five and
free females, ages 18-
45, are needed for a
research studv involvina
a half minutes later, senior forward
Milan Gajic knocked in a rebound
to make it 2-0 in Michigan's favor.
Sophomore forward Mike Brown's
shorthanded goal at 10:50 of the
third period ended the scoring. After
Montoya made 17 saves for his first
shutout of the season, it was Ferris
State's turn to step up the defensive
pressure the following night.
"(Ferris State's goalie) Mike
Brown had a good weekend," Beren-
son said. "He gave them a chance to
win both games, and Al Montoya
gave us a chance to win both games.
We only needed one goal (Saturday).
We didn't need six. It was frustrat-
ing that we didn't get it."
Nystrom puts the blame on the
offense for the loss.
"You can't expect to win a game
without scoring any goals, and we
didn't score any goals tonight,"
Nystrom said. "We played hard, we
played good defensively, but you
have to put one in the net."
For Montoya, the bottom line is
"We're not happy with the split
and (Ferris State) is," he said. "We
just have to regroup this week and
get ready for next week."
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