4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 14, 2005
LINE OF THE WEEK
Friday vs. Nebraska-Omaha
I Goal, 2 Assists
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
" don't want to jinx it, so I don't want
to talk about it that much."
- Michigan captain Eric Nystrom
on the bounces going his way against
Nikiforuk notched a goal and an
assist in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the
Wolverines. He was turning Michigan
defenders around all weekend.
Hensick had five points this weekend,
including game-winning assists in
both games and a game-tying goal on
Michigan Wolverines 6
Nystrom (2), Kolarik, Werner,
Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 4
Parse (2), Nikiforuk, Hacker
Blue unstoppable when Hensick is scoring
MAHA - So you want to know how
valuable T.J. Hensick is to the Michigan
hockey team? At this point in the season,
there's one thing you need to know: The Wolver-
ines are 14-0-0 when the sophomore Hobey Baker
Hensick (2), Hunwick, Moss
Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 3
Knapp, Nikiforuk, Bagron
Michigan 4, Nebraska-Omaha 3
Michigan 022 - 4
Nebraska-Omaha 2 1 0 - 3
First period -1. UNO, Dan Knapp 4 (David Phil-
lips, Alex Nikiforuk) 4:26. 2. UNO, Alex Nikiforuk
8 (Dan Knapp, Dan Hacker) 8:23. Penalties
- Jason Dest, MICH (interference) 3:57; Jason
Dest, MICH (slashing) 7:06; Kaleb Betts, UNO
(roughing) 7:06; Kaleb Betts, UNO (roughing)
10:04; Mike Lefley, UNO (elbowing) 17:39;
Michael Woodford Jr, MICH (holding the stick)
17:39; Mike Lefley, UNO (roughing) 17:39;
Michael Woodford Jr, MICH (10-minute miscon-
Second period -3. MICH, Matt Hunwick 6 (Eric
Nystrom, Eric Werner) 2:18. 4. UNO, Bill Bagron
3 (Micah Sanford) 3:05. 5. MICH, T. J. Hensick
18 (Chad Kolarik, Al Montoya) 5:23. Penal-
ties - Bryan Marshall, UNO (slashing) 2:00;
Joe Grimaldi, UNO (high sticking) 4:32; David
Rohifs, MICH (tripping) 6:00.
Third period - 6. MICH. T. J. Hensick 19 (Kevin
Porter, Nick Martens) 10:41. 7. MICH, David
Moss 8 (T. J. Hensick) 17:49. Penalties - Bran-
don Kaleniecki, MICH (hooking) 5:07; Matt Hun-
wick, MICH (ATW roughing) 19:26; Dan Knapp,
UNO (ATW roughing) 19:26; Brandon Rogers,
MICH (cross-checking) 19:50.
Shots on goal: MICH 8-18-10-36; UNO 6-5-8-19. Power
plays: MICH 2 of 4; UNO 1 of 4. Saves - MICH, Al
Montoya (4-4-8) - 16; UNO, Chris Holt (8-16-
8) - 32.
Referee: Dan Brown
At: Qwest Center Omaha Attendance: 10,415.
candidate scores a goal.
This weekend, Hensick
scored three goals and
added two assists. So
you can probably guess
what happened, Michigan
on the road. The Qwest
Center seemed like a
pretty tough place to play
- especially down two
goals, like the Wolverines
were on Saturday night.
But Hensick's been spe-
Caught up in the Game
- average numbers for a lot of players but a slump
if you're T.J. Hensick. And, not surprisingly, Michi-
gan was 2-2-2 during that stretch.
Other teams have figured out that he's a big part
of the reason they keep losing to the Wolverines,
so they've geared their defenses to stop him. It was
most noticeable in Columbus. Whenever Michigan
was on the power play, the Buckeyes shadowed him
up the ice. They wouldn't let him touch the puck.
They had probably watched too many tapes of Hen-
sick going coast to coast with the puck and murder-
ing teams on the power play.
Northern Michigan did the same thing when it
came to Yost Ice Arena the next week, and Nebras-
ka-Omaha coach Mike Kemp had clearly seen tape
of Hensick, too.
"He is on another level most nights," Kemp said
after Saturday's game. "He is an awfully talented
I don't know who is Michigan's fastest player
based solely on speed - from watching sprints
every Tuesday for the last five months, I would guess
it's either Jeff Tambellini or Mike Brown. But one
thing is certain: With a puck on his stick, Hensick
- who, at 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds, is one of the
team's smaller players - beats them all. The Howell
native might even be faster with a puck than without
one, and players seem to completely misjudge his
speed. If I was going to count the number of times
I've seen opposing players try to cut him off at the
boards only to see him fly by, I'd need more hands.
Saturday, with Michigan trailing 3-2 halfway
through the third period, Hensick got the puck at
center ice from freshman Kevin Porter and took
the play into his own hands. There were three
Nebraska-Omaha defenders in the zone, but Hen-
sick skated past all of them and put the puck over
the glove of Mavericks goalie Chris Holt.
"A lot of his plays were individual efforts,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "I don't think
it matters who he plays with. He's a special player,
and, when he gets going; it's hard to stop him."
Hen sick also scored a power play goal just min-
utes after being hit in the neck with a stick. But
it's not just his scoring that made him special this
weekend. The sophomore seemed to have hoisted
the team on his shoulders. He expected himself to
win the games for the Wolverines.
With three minutes left, the opportunity was
right for a line change. Everyone but Hensick left
the ice. Either he or Berenson - or most likely
both - wanted to make sure the team's most
dynamic player was on the ice with the clock wind-
ing down. Just one minute later, Hensick sent a
perfect cross-crease pass to David Moss for the
game-winning goal. And after the game, the Wol-
verines' leading scorer admitted that he put a lot of
pressure on himself to create something.
"Last week against Michigan State, I was disap-
pointed in myself that I couldn't bury any chances
and give our team a win, or give our team a lead, or
give our team some momentum," Hensick said.
Even without talking to Hensick, you could tell
that he was hungry this week. You could tell that
he was tired of being in a slump - if that's what it
was. You could tell that he was going to make sure
Michigan came out of Omaha still in first place.
There aren't many players who can do that at will,
but Hensick is one of them.
Over Thanksgiving break, Berenson sat Hensick
for a 3-1 loss at Wisconsin because of Hensick's
poor play on defense. At the time, he was leading
the team in points but had a plus-minus rating of
zero. Since then, he has a rating of plus-lI.
Halfway through Saturday's game, Hensick
got clocked against the boards, and, as he got to
his feet, Michigan was clearing the puck through
the neutral zone. Shaking off the hit, he could
have just skated back towards the bench and
taken himself off the ice. But Hensick stayed in
the play, and, when Michigan turned the puck
over in the neutral zone seconds later, Hensick
was waiting - ready to make the defensive stop.
Berenson has said numerous times this season
that Hensick is at his best when he's playing
defense and being physical. This weekend, he
showed that he can do everything the team wants
him to do, but he also scored some timely goals
and had game-winning assists in both games like
only T.J. Hensick can.
"I was brought here to score big goals and
be a part of the big offense - and I think I
was able to do that this weekend," he said after
And if he keeps putting the puck in the net, the
Wolverines will probably keep winning. I mean, it's
worked each of the last 14 times.
Ian Herbert can be reached at email@example.com.
cial for pretty much the entire season. He has been
the Wolverines' crutch when they've needed one.
He leads Michigan in scoring (41 points), goals
(19) and assists (22). He's also tied for the team lead
with two game-winning goals. Three times this
season, he has been the CCHA Offensive Player
of the Week, more often than any other Wolverine.
And he made a strong bid for another one of those
awards with this weekend's five-point performance.
But recently, Hensick - who is the only draft-
eligible Wolverine - had struggled to put any
marks on the scoreboard. Coming into the week-
end, Hensick had scored just one goal and had tal-
lied a measly three assists in the previous six games
A Pts +/- PIM Sht
22 41 +11 22 100
22 36 +22 20 154
16 30 +1 36 90
14 25 +7 39 86
16 24 +8 24 61
22 24 +7 20 65
13 22 +12 27 42
15 20 +3 42 41
11 19 +7 28 46
12 19 +13 40 35
13 19 +9 48 43
5 16 +5 38 104
14 16 +16 60 64
8 9 +7 28 26
3 8 +7 10 33
3 6 +7 64 46
4 5 +1544 33
1 3 +1 4 9
1 2 +1 24 20
2 2 -- 20 0
0 0 +5 42 12
0 0 +2 6 4
0 0-- 0 0
D - Maverick Defende
* D - Maverick Defender
D - Mave ' der
- Skating w/ puck "" Skating w/o puck . . . Pass - - Shot
How it happened: This one was all T.J. Hensick. Freshman
Kevin Porter and senior Nick Martens got assists, but Hensick did
most of it himself. He got the puck in the neutral zone and split
the Mavericks defenders. He came in from the right and shot a
wrister at Nebraska-Omaha goalie Chris Holt. The shot went off
and over Holt's glove to tie the game.
Analysis: He's back. After three weeks of relatively quiet
scoring, Hensick lit up the Mavericks this weekend. The soph-
omore scored three goals and added two assists - both on
game-winning goals. Both coaches heaped praise onto Hen-
sick for his ability to create on his own. Michigan's leading
scorer put the burden to score on his shoulders and put up
some very timely goals, including this one, which Holt gave
up halfway through the final frame.
Michigan 6, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 4
OHIO STATE 3, Bowling Green 2
ALASKA-FAIRBANKS 6, Michigan State 5
Western Michigan 3, NORTHERN MICHIGAN 3
Lake Superior 3, MIAMI (OHIO) 2
Ferris State 4, NOTRE DAME 3
Michigan 4, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 3
OHIO STATE 3, Bowling Green 2
ALASKA-FAIRBANKS 1, Michigan State 0
NORTHERN MICHIGAN 5, Western Michigan 1
Lake Superior 8, MIAMI (OHIO) 3
Ferris State 4, NOTRE DAME 2
Senior captain Eric Nystrom, right, scored his 100th career point on Friday night, helping Michigan to a 6-4 victory over Nebraska-Omaha.
Nystrom joins the century club
Continued from page 1B
Ohio State took care of business. Michigan disposed
of Nebraska-Omaha 6-4 while Ohio State beat Bowling
In Michigan's Friday win, Hensick assisted on the
game-winner to Brandon Kaleniecki late in the third
period. Just minutes later, he clinched the game with
the final goal to make the score 6-4.
The Wolverine's road sweep was its first in nearly
two years when they swept a much weaker Mavericks
After Ohio State's game ended on Saturday, Hen-
sick was not the only one who knew that the confer-
ence lead was at stake.
"I just have a good ear on the bench," Hensick said
with a smirk. "But I think a lot of guys heard it, which
is something that motivated us a little. But we have to
be motivated on our own."
Each team has four games remaining, but Berenson
wants Michigan to worry about itself rather than the
"I haven't said one word about Ohio State," Beren-
son said. "I talk about playing for first place - play-
ing like a first-place team, competing like a first-place
team, and then first place will take care of itself. It's
not about what Ohio State does, it's about what Michi-
After 20 minutes of play on Saturday, Nebraska was
ahead 2-0, and it looked as if the Wolverines might be
looking up to Ohio State in the standings at night's end.
Just four minutes into the game, on the Mavericks'
first shot, sophomore defenseman Dan Knapp scored
on a wrister from just inside the blue line.
In the ninth minute of play, Nebraska-Omaha soph-
omore Alex Nikiforuk stretched the lead to two when
he skated in from the left and deposited the puck to
Montoya's glove side on just the Mavericks' third shot
of the game.
But after Michigan sophomore Matt Hunwick scored
a goal in the second period, Montoya settled down.
In the third period, he made a number of spectacular
stops, including two post-to-post saves on odd-man
rushes. In all, he made eight saves and shutout the
Mavericks in the final frame.
"Al made some big saves," Berenson said. "This
was another tough game for Al. Obviously, we had our
---L ir;- h walTh n . o-ra t na h t
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
OMAHA - After Friday's game against
the Wolverines, Nebraska-Omaha coach
Mike Kemp pictured Michigan captain
Eric Nystrom in his cap and gown on com-
"Other than his mom and dad, I'll prob-
ably be the next happiest guy to see him
graduate," Kemp said.
But the Mavericks' coach isn't a fam-
ily friend or relative of Nystrom. Kemp
was simply looking forward to facing a
Michigan team without the senior, who has
torched Nebraska-Omaha since his early
days in Ann Arbor.
Throughout Nystrom's career, the oppor-
tunity to play games against Nebraska-
selected him in the first round of the 2002
NHL Draft. Before Friday, Nystrom's last
two-goal performance came in - you
guessed it - Omaha on Dec. 13, 2003.
Nystrom opened the scoring on Friday
three minutes into the first period. After a
Nebraska-Omaha turnover, Nystrom picked
up speed and skated into the slot, where he
took a pass from junior Andrew Ebbett and
went top shelf to beat Mavericks goalie
After a wild eight minutes following
Nystrom's goal, Nebraska-Omaha led
3-2. But Nystrom's second score knot-
ted the game at three and helped change
the momentum, as Michigan knocked in
four of the game's final five goals. With
just over three minutes remaining in the
opening frame and Michigan on the power
venir. After realizing that it was still being
used as play continued, Nystrom kept a
careful eye on the vulcanized rubber disc.
"The play went on, and I was hoping the
puck wouldn't get shot out of the rink,"
Nystrom said. "When there was a whistle, I
went out there and grabbed the puck."
Said Kemp: "(Nystrom) certainly has
been a guy who's done a lot of damage to
us over the years - not just points, but key
goals, major goals. (Friday night), he got
us again. He really brings his game against
Michigan coach Red Berenson admired
Nystrom's effort in all facets of the game
on Friday, noting that the senior contrib-
uted to the Wolverines' special teams play
and the end result of the contest.
"(Nystrom) played terrific," Beren-
The Wolverines will head to Fort Wayne,
ind. for the first game of the weekend.
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