KICKED IN THE BALLS'
The men's gymnastics team gets
robbed at No. 1 Ohio State.
NCAA TOURNEY COVERAGE
Everything you need to know about the
Tourney and The Michigan Daily/Papa
John Challenge Bracket.
arch 14, 2005
.- t - - ----
The Cagers aren't
I've got a solution.
The SportsMonday Column
SPORTS OI TI AY
------------- - -
The mystique of
A s a young and fickle hockey fan, I was the guy that die-
hard fans hated. I watched regular-season games essen-
tially just so'I would know who was on what team once
playoffs came around. I can honestly say that watching a profes-
sional hockey game this time of year was a priority only when
college basketball, spring training baseball and the NFL draft
were not available.
But when playoffs came around, it
was a whole different story.
It's seems like playoff hockey games
always have storylines worth watching.
There is always an old timer - a Ray
Borque or a Dave Andreychuk - help-
ing his team through the playoffs and
kissing the Cup. It's the mystique of the IAN HERBERT
* playoffs that makes this time of year
College hockey's no different. You Caught up in
never know what a senior will do when the Game
playing in possibly his final game. In
Michigan's run through the NCAA Tournament in 1998, senior
Marty Turco put the team on his back and carried the Wolver-
ines. It's the mystique of the playoffs that makes this possible.
After he won the Hobey Baker in 1997, Michigan's Brendan
Morrison said, "Sometimes the best team doesn't win." His
team, with his class of nine seniors, had just lost 3-2 to Bos-
ton University in the semifinals of the Tournament. Last year,
Nebraska-Omaha came into Yost and stole one from the Wolver-
ines. The point is: anything can happen - playoff hockey has a
mystique to it.
Knowing all of that, I was light on my feet as I made my way
into the Yost Ice Arena press box for the final weekend of the
year. I had a plate of subs and a plastic cup full water. Even the
event staff at Yost stepped it up for the playoffs this weekend
with enough cupcakes, cookies and brownies to satisfy the entire
When Friday's game started, Notre Dame looked like it might
put up a fight and make it a true playoff matchup. Notre Dame
was a team that had allowed Michigan to score in the first six
minutes of every game this season, but it was still able to shut
out the Wolverines in the first period. Their 1-0 lead at the first
intermission was their only lead of the year against mighty
Michigan, and the tension was beginning to mount like a true
playoff game. But then I was robbed. The Wolverines stole the
playoff hockey game that I had so desperately been waiting for
right out from under me with a seven-goal second period, and
the rest of the game was a wash.
I went back to Yost on Saturday with a little less hope. Maybe
the playoffs don't really start until it's a do-or-die situation.
After all, the Wolverines have been a lock for the NCAA play-
offs for about a month now, and the Irish - a team that hasn't
won since Jan. 2 - were probably hoping that their nightmare
season would end. So I began thinking that I would have to wait
until next week's Super 6 to see a true playoff hockey game. For
me, Saturday's game started without the same playoff feel from
the night before. I had mentally made the switch back to regular-
season mode, fully expecting to see another Michigan blowout.
But the players didn't make the same switch. Before the game,
Brandon Rogers, one of the 10 seniors on this team, told his
teammates to expect a 1-0 game. Despite the fact that they had
handled Notre Dame to the tune of a 39-7 combined score in
their first five meetings, the seniors knew that this game would
be different. Why?
"It was their make-or-break game," senior Milan Gajic said.
"They knew they were done if they lost, and we were expecting
everything they gave us tonight."
On Saturday, the Irish - or maybe just Morgan Cey, taking
on the Turco role - played like they wanted to win, and they
gave me the playoff game I wanted so badly.
Four minutes into the third period, it was clear that Notre
Dame wasn't going to roll over, and the chances were running
out for Michigan. When freshman Chad Kolarik, who leads the
See HERBERT, Page 4B
PHOTOS BY TOMMASO GOMEZ AND RYAN WEINER/Daily
After 62 minutes of scoreless hockey, senior defenseman Eric Werner broke the tie and sent Michigan to the Super 6 In Detroit next weekend.
Cers sweep way into CCHA Super 6
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
After No. 4 Michigan's lopsided 10-1 victory over
Notre Dame to open the teams' first-round CCHA
playoff series at Yost Ice Arena on Friday, freshman
forward Chad Kolarik uttered one of the most oft-used
clich6s in sports.
"It's the playoffs," Kolarik said. "Anything can hap-
pen, so you have to come prepared."
Kolarik was attempting to dispel the notion that the
Fighting Irish would lay down on Saturday as they faced
elimination in the best-of-three series.
Still, few expected the tight contest that played out
in the Wolverines' last home game of the year. Despite
racking up an awe-inspiring 39 goals in its five previ-
ous matches this season against Notre Dame (3-20-5
CCHA, 5-27-6 overall), Michigan (23-3-2, 28-7-3) found
itself heading to overtime with both the Wolverines' Al
Montoya and the Fighting Irish's Morgan Cey working
on shutouts. One goalie was bound to give up the game-
winner, and it turned out to be Cey.
Even though he stopped an-impressive 43 shots, the
Notre Dame senior allowed Michigan senior defense-
man Eric Werner to flip a rebound shot over his glove
and into a largely unprotected net just 2:05 into the extra
frame. Werner's sudden-death tally gave Michigan the
1-0 win, ending Notre Dame's season and propelling the
Wolverines into the CCHA Super 6 Championships at
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit next weekend. The sweep put
Michigan in the Super 6 for the 16th consecutive year,
and Werner's goal snapped the Wolverines' 12-game
winless streak in overtime games (0-5-7).
"It's quite a blur, really," Cey said as he replayed the
game-winner in his head. "(Senior David Moss) took a
slapshot on the ice, and it hit my stick. The rebound came
out, and I went to poke check it. Then one of our guys
came in. I thought he was going to get it, and then I kind
of hesitated for a second. By that time it was too late.
Werner came in and buried it on me."
Michigan was on the attack throughout the overtime
period, but Cey denied both T.J. Hensick and Brandon
Rogers on quality scoring chances. Moss also fired a shot
from the left slot that the Irish's netminder stopped, but
the rebound ricocheted out to Werner in the low right
circle. An out-of-position Cey had no chance to stop the
soaring puck, and the Michigan bench rushed the ice to
congratulate Werner, who was standing in the right cor-
ner of the Notre Dame zone.
"My emotions were running," said Werner, who
waved goodbye to the Notre Dame bench just seconds
after he ended the series. "I couldn't move. I had sticks
flying everywhere. I think I got stepped on one time. It
was pretty chaotic - just a good feeling all around."
But the Wolverines weren't filled with cheer for most
of the evening. The majority of the contest was charac-
terized by tense play and Michigan opportunities that
"The longer the puck doesn't go in, the harder it is
to score one," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "And
you could see that every time we missed one, we were
squeezing our sticks a little tighter. We were trying to
play with confidence, but it's an important game. You
don't want to lose it, and certainly, you want to try to find
a way to win it."
See IRISH, Page 4B
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
A very deep pitching staff and consis-
tent hitting allowed the Michigan bae-.
'M' champs amid controversy
By Pete Sneider
Daily Sports Writer
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The final result wouldn't be
posted until nearly all of the 5,006 fans had left the Randal
Tyson Track Center. It took an hour and a half after the event
ended before Michigan would find out that they were cham-
pions at the distance medley relay of the 2005 NCAA Indoor
Track and Field Championships.
In the final leg of the relay, Michigan senior Nate Bran-
nen overcame a 30-meter deficit to pull behind Arkansas's
Said Ahined with 100 meters to go. Although Ahmed edged
him at the line by .03 seconds, the tight finish created some
controversy as Ahmed drifted into Brannen's lane down the
But there was no red flag, and the results were posted on
was disqualified and the Wolverines were the DMR national
champions with their time of 9:30.82.
The committee reconvened for 45 more minutes while
Arkansas appealed the protest. But the decision was upheld
and, at 11 p.m., the few Wolverines still in the building could
breathe a sigh of relief.
"It's unfortunate it had to happen this way," Michigan
See TRACK, Page 3B
Michigan pitcher Jim Brauer gave up five hits in seven innings against Lamar.
,.*, AM. *~1~ii~ ~ ~ I