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February 01, 2006 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-01

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February 1, 2006
sports.michigandaily. com



ICers end skid,
topple Broncos

Maturity evident
in decisive win

By Daniel Levy
Daily Sports Writer

With the score tied at three late in the
second period, Michigan forward Brandon
Kaleniecki pounced on a loose puck in
Western Michigan's
zone. The alter-
nate captain passed
to senior Andrew
Ebbett, who immediately gave the puck
right back. Kaleniecki skated in on West-
ern Michigan goalie Daniel Bellissimo
and slapped the puck over the Bronco's
right shoulder to give the Wolverines a
4-3 lead. The goal proved to be the game
winner, and No. 6 Michigan went on to
ambush Western Michigan 7-3 and end its
three-game winless streak.
Kaleniecki's goal put an end to a wild
second period in which the Wolverines
(10-6-3 CCHA, 15-9-3 overall) overcame
a two-goal deficit to take the lead.
Seven minutes into the period, Ebbett
took a pass from defenseman Jack Johnson
and skated into Western Michigan's zone.
The captain then sent the puck over to an
open Chad Kolarik, who fired a shot past a
diving Bellissimo to cut the deficit to one.
From his own zone two minutes later,
Kaleniecki sent a perfect pass off the
boards to a streaking Danny Fardig. The
freshman controlled the puck, beat a defen-

seman and flipped a shot over the shoulder
of Bellissimo. The goalie made the initial
stop, but couldn't control the rebound,
which went off of a Bronco defenseman
and into the net.
With the game tied at two, the Wolver-
ines kept the pressure on. Their effort paid
off 35 seconds later. Skating six-on-five
with a delayed penalty coming to West-
ern Michigan, Johnson flipped the puck
to Kevin Porter in front of the net. Porter
tipped the puck on net, and, in the resulting
scrum, Kolarik banged it home for his sec-
ond goal of the night - giving Michigan
its first lead of the game at 3-2.
"I thought they were going to blow the
whistle, because there was a delayed pen-
alty, and I thought they touched it,"Kolarik
said. "They didn't, and I couldn't believe it,
the puck was just sitting there for me, so I
shot it. I didn't even see it go in, I just saw
the ref point to the net."
But the Broncos (6-12-3, 6-17-4) were
not intimidated by the sudden swing of
momentum. Skating four-on-four, West-
ern Michigan responded two minutes
later with a two-on-one breakaway to tie
the game. Bronco forward Jason Moul
passed the puck to Brian Bicek, who
faked out freshman goalie Billy Sauer
and flipped the puck into an open net to
tie the game.
Michigan stayed aggressive in the third

t might be jumping the gun a bit
after a game with CCHA bot-
tom-dweller Western Michigan,
but I saw something encouraging
from Michigan last night - signs of
All year long, once the Wolverines
fell behind or their opponent finished a
big hit on a Michigan player, the young
team has turned into a ticking time-
bomb. Once the bomb exploded, the
Wolverines committed bad
penalties, failed to convert
offensive chances and,
ultimately, lost the game. In
fact, Michigan was just 4-
7-2 after giving up the first
goal in a game and an abys-
mal 1-6-0 when trailingr
after the opening period.
Needless to say, it was
hard to be optimistic when
Western Michigan's Jeff JA
Lovecchio swatted the D
puck into a practically open
net from goaltender Billy .a


Freshman Jack Johnson registered two assists in Michigan's 7-3 win.

period, and slowly but surely, it put the
Broncos away.
Six minutes into the final frame, Michi-
gan forward David Rohlfs forced a turn-
over behind Western Michigan's net.
Alternate captain T.J. Hensick scooped up
the loose puck and sent a pass across to an
open Kevin Porter for an easy goal and a
5-3 Michigan lead. Two goals late in the
third period, including Fardig's second of
the night, made the final score 7-3.
Unlike Saturday night's disappointment

when the Wolverines let a two-goal lead
over Michigan State slip away in the third
period, Michigan was determined to keep
playing until the final whistle last night.
"This was a good step, because we were
able to finish them," Kaleniecki said. "We
got that 5-3 lead again, and we didn't stop.
We made sure we buried them."
After a sluggish start, the Wolverines
came on strong, outshooting the Broncos
44-20, in a game they had to win if they
want to catch No. I Miami in the CCHA.


Roommates step up before roadtrip

By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Editor

For the Michigan basketball team as a whole, last
Wednesday's victory over Michigan State was a high
point. But not every Wolverine was pleased with his per-
formance against the Spartans.
Daniel Horton, Chris Hunter and Ron
Coleman brought their offensive A-games, TOr
but guard Dion Harris's and center Courtney
Sims's already-inconsistent seasons hit rock No. 21
bottom. The duo combined to shoot just 2- Pen
for-15 from the floor. 81
After the game, Harris and Sims - who Bryce jor
are roommates - went home and talked ESPI
about their offensive struggles.
"We just looked at the stats, the shooting
percentages, and we were just like 'Man,
what can we do?"' Harris said. "We didn't have an answer
for it. We came in and talked to (Michigan) coach (Tommy
Amaker) (Friday), and he said it was just our mentality
- nothing from the shoulders down. We just had to have
a better mentality about things."
At Saturday's game, Harris and Sims came determined
to improve on Wednesday's woeful performance.
Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they did.
The roommates stormed out of the gate and never


looked back, leading the Wolverines with a combined 41
points on 16-of-22 shooting. Their 72 percent shooting
percentage was 59 percent better than Wednesday night.
"Sims and Harristheir offensive production for us really
gave us.a shot in the arm," Amaker said. "Both kids have
obviously not been playing as well in terms of scoring. But
(Saturday), those two were the difference
for us on the offensive end."
IGHT Even before the first media timeout, it
was clear that the duo would have a big
ichigan at role to play. More than a minute after the
State opening tip, Sims backed down Wisconsin
.m. forward Jason Chappell and converted an
an Center eight-foot jump hook. On the ensuing pos-
Local session, Sims took a pass from forward
Graham Brown and smoked Chappell
again, this time finishing with a lay-up.
"Horton was calling a lot of plays for me
at the beginning of the game," Sims said. "He was looking
for me, and he knew I had to get out of a little slump"
Then, it was Harris's turn. Nine seconds after Badger
Kammron Taylor's fast-break bucket cut the Michigan
lead to 6-4, Harris drilled a three from the wing. On
Michigan's very next possession, Harris struck again,
nailing a trey from NBA 3-point range.
"Graham (Brown), in particular, was setting screens for
me, and as I was coming off them, he was telling me to

shoot it," Harris said. "So I shot 'em. And I made 'em."
Brimming with confidence after their hot starts, Har-
ris and Sims kept the pressure on throughout the contest.
Harris finished with his season-high and team-high 23
points, drilled five out of nine 3-point attempts, sank all
three of his two pointers and went 2-for-2 from the charity
While Harris worked his magic on the perimeter, Sims
was displaying an uncommon ferocity in the post. Fighting
for position down low, Sims earned himself numerous good
looks at the hoop. He finished 8-for-10 from the field and
netted 18 points - his best total of the Big Ten season.
But Sims's physical play had its drawbacks. With Sims
and his defender in a near-constant entanglement on the
block, the referees didn't hesitate to blow the whistle. As a
result, Sims spent the entire day in foul trouble and played
just 15 minutes.
"They're a tough team, they play physical and I knew that,"
Sims said. "So we had to match their physical play down low,
and I wanted to do that. I got a couple offensive fouls, but I
think Coach would rather that than me not be physical."
Sims has an excellent chance to repeat his strong per-
formance in the paint when Michigan heads to State Col-
lege to take on Penn State in tonight's 8 p.m. game. Sims's
offensive production has peaked against small front lines,
and the Nittany Lions' primary post player is 6-foot-6
freshman Jamelle Cornley.

Sauer's back side to give the
Broncos the game's first goal. And once
Broncos defenseman Reid Yantzi gave
his team a two-goal lead in the sec-
ond, the Wolverines' self-destruction
seemed inevitable.
But Michigan finally restored my
faith in its resilience, outscoring
Western Michigan 7-1 in the final 33
minutes of the game.
This turn of events was even
more encouraging considering the
team's reaction to an injury suf-
fered by freshman Jason Bailey
when he was hammered into the
boards halfway through the first
period. Bailey had just returned
after missing four games due to
injury and was reportedly uncon-
scious when players and the team's
trainer arrived at his side. Fortu-
nately, he eventually came to and
was escorted into the locker room.
Many teams have come back in
the past to win for a fallen teammate,
but this Michigan squad has been
better known for losing its patience
and earning more bad penalties
than goals. Even the Yost crowd
was chanting, "We want Johnson."
looking for one of freshman Jack
Johnson's patented big hits.
But Johnson kept his cool and
played to the best of his abilities,
earning as many points as penalty
minutes on the evening (2). Instead of
playing recklessly, Johnson maturely
executed clean hits, keeping the puck
out of the Broncos' hands on his way
to a plus-three night.

And the whole team reacted in the
same fashion. The Wolverines real-
ized that they were the more talented
team and used that talent to complete
a Michigan rarity - a come-from-
behind victory.
Perhaps the best example of the
Wolverines' new maturity was
sophomore Chad Kolarik's sec-
ond goal, which gave Michigan
its first lead, 3-2. The puck was
caught down in front
of Western Michigan
goaltender Daniel Bel-
lissimo - who, by the
way, played the best
seven-goal game that
I've ever seen - and
Kolarik managed to
get a stick on it and
slip it past Bellissimo.
A skirmish ensued,
ES V. with Broncos' players
pushing and shoving,
knowing the game was
sOn... getting out of their hands.
But instead of joining in,
Kolarik found his way out of the mess
and skated to the bench, pumping his
fist to his teammates and the fans. The
crowd went wild, and home-ice advan-
tage was restored.
Seeing the way Michigan finished
out the game only increased my faith
that a turnaround may have begun.
As the clock wound down, instead of
being content with hearing their fans
jeering the non-dancing band direc-
tor, the Wolverines managed to slip
two more past Bellissimo.
Was scoring two more a classless
move? Not in this case. A blowout
victory might be just what the doc-
tor ordered for Michigan's surely-
waning confidence. Instead of a
relatively unimpressive two-goal
victory, the four-goal win will help
the Wolverines motivate themselves
when they have a shot to secure
their new second-place spot in the
CCHA this weekend against Ohio
Like I said in the beginning, this
is Western Michigan, but if matu-
rity is a sign of things to come, I'm
looking forward to seeing what
the Wolverines can do against the
underachieving Buckeyes.
- Dowd was pleased to see 6,408
fans at a Tuesday night game against
Western Michigan. He thought
it was sad that Michigan State
couldn't sell out a Tuesday night
game against Michigan. He can be
reached atjvdowd@umich.edu.


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