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March 07, 2005 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-07

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RUNNING FREE

The women harriers won their fourth
Big Ten Indoor title in five years in
Ann Arbor over the weekend.
PAGE 2B

GRAPPLING FOR THE TOP
No. 5 Michigan boasted three individual
wrestling champions but finished in
third at the conference tournament.
PAGE 7B

IAN HERBERT
Whether it's lockouts
or contract disputes,
sports just aren't fair.
PAGE 3B
The SportsMonday Column

SPORTSM-ONDAY

March 7, 2005

1B

cdbe WOioan J)ttUv

- -- ---------- ---

Michigan 4, IWNG UREEN I

MICHIGAN 5, B'w

Icers wrap up second
straight CCHA title
with weekend sweep

By Jake Rosenwasser
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN - There were
no excessive celebrations. There was no
champagne in the locker room. It was
just business as usual on Friday night
as No. 4 Michigan dispatched Bowling
Green 4-1 at BGSU Arena and clinched
the CCHA regular season title. For the
seniors, it was their third title in four
years, and, for Michigan, it was its ninth
title in the last 14.
On Saturday, Michigan (23-3-2 CCHA,
26-7-3 overall) pushed its season-best
unbeaten streak to nine games (7-0-2)
with a 5-4 win over Bowling Green (13-
12-2, 16-14-4) at Yost Ice Arena. After
the game, CCHA commissioner Tom
Anastos presented senior captain Eric
Nystrom with the CCHA championship
trophy to celebrate the accomplishment.
Nystrom spun around with the trophy
in his hands as the Yost crowd cheered.
But Nystrom is not Mark Messier and
the CCHA trophy is not the Stanley Cup.
There is more work to be done.
"We came (to Michigan) to win the
big one, but we haven't done that yet,"
Nystrom said. "Not many teams have
done that since they've been here, and
we want to do that and look back and
to leave our stamp on Michigan hock-
ey. We made a mission statement this
season and the last words are 'time to
join a legacy.' And we have as good of a
chance as anybody right now (to win it
all). We have the team to do it."
Still, after winning the conference
crown, Michigan can now cross one of
its goals off its to-do list - a list that
ends with an open box next to "national
championship." Next item, the Wolver-
ines will host Notre Dame in the first
round of the CCHA tournament in a
best-of-three series.
On Friday night, four different Wol-

verines scored, and Al Montoya made
21 saves as the Wolverines reeled in two
more points and made it impossible for
second-place Ohio State to catch them.
"I can tell you that we did not talk - I
didn't at least - about first place," Mich-
igan coach Red Berenson said. "It was
about playing well and playing our best
hockey this time of year."
And the Wolverines did play well in
their first non-exhibition game in the
last two weeks. Junior Andrew Ebbett
got the Wolverines started seven min-
utes into the game when he and Kevin
Porter skated into the Falcon's zone on
a shorthanded two-on-one. Ebbett acted
as if he would pass but kept the puck and
beat goalie Jordan Sigalet to break the
scoreless tie. It was the first of Ebbett's
four points over the weekend.
"Coach and I have been talking a
little bit over the last couple of days
about how, on two-on-ones, I should try
to shoot a little bit more," Ebbett said.
"Because I think other teams are going
to think I'm going to pass it. I mean, I
only have four goals. It was nice to get a
shot there, and I'll thank coach for that
goal later."
After Bowling Green's Mike Falk
tied the game at 1-1, Ebbett helped the
Wolverines take the lead again halfway
through the second period. The junior
skated along the left boards and fired a
puck toward the net. Nystrom, who was
positioned between Ebbett and the goal,
deflected the puck into the top of the
Bowling Green net. It was officially the
conference-clinching goal.
"I heard Nystrom yelling to shoot the
puck," Ebbett said. "And he was there.
He did a great job all night on the power
play and five-on-five of just getting in
front and screening the goalie."
After the productive weekend, Ebbett
has a more respectable six goals to go
along with his 25 assists.

the whole sea-
son, we expect-
ed it. But it's
RYAN WEINER/Daily
nice to actually get it Eric Nystrom
done, and it's just one
thing that we want to get accomplished,
and we can chalk it off the board and
move on now."
The game was highlighted by a num-
ber of huge hits, many of which were
handed out by Michigan sophomore
Mike Brown.
"It was a physical game," Berenson
said. "I thought that Mike Brown was
our most physical player. He played a
powerful game. And when you're on the
road and the other team is testing you,
you need to step up."
On Saturday after the win, Michigan's
10 seniors were honored on Senior Night
at Yost. The 10 players - all of whom
dressed for the game - came out onto
See CCHA, page 4B

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Junior Andrew Ebbet fires home the first goal of Saturday's game at Yost Ice Arena off a pass from junior Jeff
Tambellini. Michigan won 5-4 in a game that honored the senior class afterward.

To help scoring, Blue must look to two guys in the alley

couple of months ago, it looked like the Wol-
verines might stumble into the CCHA playoffs
as they did last season. But unlike last year,
they swept their last three series to keep first place and

surge into the playoffs.
Instead of looking forward
to the CCHA tournament, let's

look back to a more important
time - when Michigan was
losing. Just one month ago,
Michigan was at the end of a
four-game span in which it won
just one game. The Wolverines
lost a home game to Northern IAN HERBERT
Michigan and then blew two Caught up in the Game
date-game leads against the
Spartans. '
E; In the span of two weeks, their lead in the confer-
,ence went from a comfortable five points to one dan-
*erous point. But what happened in those two weeks?
.What was different about the team then? It doesn't take
long to figure that one out.
Seniors' boos
enough in OT
If
By Brian Schick both free throws to
Daily Sports Writer with 21 seconds le

Sophomores Mike Brown and David Rohlfs were
both out for each of those four games. The two for-
wards were infected with mononucleosis over winter
break, and they both sat out for those two heartbreak-
ing series. In those four games, Michigan averaged 1.75
goals per game, almost three goals per game less than
Michigan has averaged this season.
This season, Brown and Rohlfs have combined for
eight goals and nine assists, so it's clearly not their
scoring that has made them such an integral part of the
team's offense. What is it that has made both Brown
and Rohlfs fifth-round NHL picks?
The short answer is their size. At 6-feet-3 and 234
pounds, Rohlfs is one of the biggest guys on the team.
He would be short for basketball and light for foot-
ball, but, in hockey, he's huge. Brown is a little bit
smaller at 6-feet and 210 pounds, but he is one of the
strongest and, even more importantly, fastest guys on
the team.
"If you can't beat them in the alley, you can't beat
them in the rink," long-time Maple Leaf executive
Conn Smythe said.

Brown and Rohlfs may or may not know who
Smythe is, but Smythe would almost certainly like
their style. It's clear to me that big, physical "enforc-
ers" are important to the success of any hockey team.
But until this year, I didn't realize how much impact
they had or why they were so important to helping the
team win. So I asked.
"Physically, we've got to be hitting," senior defense-
man Eric Werner said. "A lot of the coaches and a lot of
teammates say a hit equals a goal."
If that's the case, then Brown had at least a hat
trick in Friday's conference-clinching win at Bowling
Green. Brown hit one of the Falcons so hard that his
feet flew above his head and his body crashed against
the boards. Brown's hit actually did lead to a goal
when, moments after the hit, junior Andrew Ebbett got
the puck in the left circle and fired a shot at senior cap-
tain Eric Nystrom who tipped the puck into the net and
gave Michigan a 2-1 lead.
That might have been the biggest hit of the year, and
the boards at BGSU Arena might still be shaking. But
practically every game, Brown makes powerful hits

seem routine. And it's not always clear why his other
hits result in goals for the Wolverines.
Some of Michigan's leading scorers - sophomore
T.J. Hensick and freshman Chad Kolarik - helped
me figure out what it was that Brown and Rohlfs do to
help them score goals. Michigan coach Red Berenson
changes the lines just about every month, but Hensick
and Kolarik have each gotten a chance to play with
these guys at some point during the year.
"They definitely give us room out there," Kolarik
said. "They're big boys. They hit everyone that moves."
Oh, so I get it. They physically clear out room on the
ice. Hensick is a great puck-handler, but he can't do
much with the puck if the defenders are always putting
bodies on him and forcing him to give up the puck.
"They grind in the corners and get us the pucks,"
Kolarik added.
That's pretty self-explanatory, but I realize it's more
complex than just skating into the corner and getting
the puck. These guys bang along the boards and, actu-
ally, scare people. They get players to cough up the
See HERBERT, page 4B

tnot
'loss
o put Iowa up by four
ft.

M WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Iowa gives M' early exit

Michigan wasn't ready to end the regu-
lar season just yet. Maybe it was the emo-
tion of senior night, but 40 minutes wasn't
enough for the Michigan basketball team
to determine the outcome against Iowa
on Saturday.
Down by three Iowa 74
with under three
minutesto go, junior
Graham Brown put the Wolverines on
his back. He scored on three consecutive
possessions to give Michigan a two-point
lead with just over a minute to go. Then,
Iowa's Adam haluska hit a iumner with

"I'm not sure (why it wasn't a 10-sec-
ond violation)," Amaker said. "I don't
think they saw it. It could have been a
missed call."
Michigan (4-12 Big Ten, 13-17 over-
all) couldn't overcome the deficit, and
lost 74-72 to wrap up the regular season.
The Wolverines have lost 11 of their last
12 games and now need to win the Big
Ten Tournament to secure a postseason
berth. This was a dramatic reversal from
the last time Michigan faced Iowa, when
the Wolverines upset the Hawkeyes (7-9,
19-10) in Iowa City and Iowa was ranked
in the ton-25.

out of Big
By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS --If the Michigan women's
basketball team were a television.series, it would
have been cancelled long ago. The plot never
changed and every game
for the Wolverines this sea- 4
son seemed to go the same IowA 70
way. Michigan would com-
pete for a good portion of the contest, but then
they would fall behind by too much. But in last
Thursday's 70-42 Big Ten Tournament loss to
Iowa, Michigan lost, but with a different script.
This game was much different from the pre-
vious meeting between the two teams, which

7en tourney
main reason Michigan never threatened the
Hawkeyes (8-7, 20-8). After Wolverine senior
BreAnne McPhilamy hit a jumper from the
elbow, Smith scored 15 of Iowa's next 20
points. She started by hitting back-to-back 3-
pointers. A Becky Flippin 3-pointer temporar-
ily stopped the 11-0 Hawkeye run, but Smith
quickly reeled off nine straight points.
"I thought Crystal was very good attacking
the basket tonight and taking the open three
when it was there," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder
said. "I like to see the ball in Crystal's hands.
We called a play to get her an open three, and I
think that really kind of ignited her."
Even Michigan's defensive specialist,
sophomore forward Kelly Helvey, could not

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