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February 08, 2006 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-08

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February 8, 2006



No. 7 Michigan 4, WESTERN MICHIGAN 1



the saddle



eads 'M'

cheers greet
longtime backup

By Mark Giannotto
Daily Sports Writer

KALAMAZOO - Last night, Lawson Arena was
not just the setting for a hockey game between No. 7
Michigan and Western Michigan.
It also happened to play host to the T.J. Hensick
and Kevin Porter show.
The forward duo teamed up for three goals to pace
the Wolverines to a 4-1 win over the Broncos.
Hensick and Porter struck early and often for
Michigan (12-7-3 CCHA, 17-10-3 overall).
Just 49 seconds into the first period, Wolverine
defenseman Jason Dest collected a loose puck in the
Michigan zone and fed Porter along the left wing.
The Northville native immediately centered it to a
streaking Hensick, who beat Bronco goalie Daniel
Belissimo stick-side to put the Wolverines up 1-0.
The early goal was a welcome change for the Wol-
verines, who have recently struggled to get off to
good starts.
"That goal was huge for us," Hensick said. "It gave
us confidence, especially on the road. We're a dif-
ferent team when we get that first goal. We had been
talking about getting off to good starts on the road."
But the duo was not done yet. Just ten minutes later,
Porter and Hensick teamed up for another Wolverine
goal. The two switched roles this time, and Porter
scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Hensick collected a pass along the left boards
and carried the puck into the Michigan offensive
zone before stopping on a dime to avoid an oncom-
ing Bronco defenseman. He then noticed a streaking
Porter coming down the right wing and fed him with
a nifty pass to avoid the stick of Bronco defenseman
Chris Frank.
From there, Porter did the rest. He fired a wrist
shot past a helpless Belissimo for Michigan's second
tally of the game.
"We've got that special bond that really worked
for us tonight," Hensick said. "We know where each
other are on the ice."
The Wolverines left the first period with a 3-0 lead
that they never relinquished.

Senior Noah Ruden has always
received cheers when he has been
on the ice. But for three and a half
years, they were the cheers that Al Mon-
toya's backup gets. You know what I'm
talking about. The polite "Oh yay, isn't it
great that Noah's getting some minutes,"

He wasn't supposed to start.
Montoya was Michigan's
glory boy, heralded as the next
Steve Shields or Marty Turco.
Ruden was the next Kevin
O'Malley, L.J. Scarpace or
Chris Gordon. You don't
know who they are? My point
And after Montoya led the
United States junior team to
its first world championship,
he was almost untouchable.
Then, once he left Michigan


see, but Ruden put on a highlight show,
making key saves on point blank shots.
At one point, the Broncos found their
way into the Michigan zone and created
several short-handed chances from close
range that Ruden managed to turn aside.
And just a few minutes later, Ruden was
forced to stop two point-blank shots,
including one by Western Michigan's star
forward Brent Walton.
With 9:32 remaining in
the game, Ruden finally
cracked. Walton slotted
a short-handed goal past
him from just in front of
the net. The officials had
signaled a delayed penalty,
but Walton was wide open
and slid one past Ruden
ES V. before Michigan could
touch the puck.
Ruden would have loved
sOn--- a shutout, but he can take
pride in calming the storm called Michi-
gan hockey. The past month has been a
tumultuous time for the Wolverines, but
Ruden has been consistent in the net. This
past weekend, he was peppered with 41
shots by Ohio State - including many
on odd-man rushes - but he came up
with a Career-high 39 saves.
And at Lawson Arena last night, he
gave up just one goal and made 25 saves
in the process.
Though cheers might not have been
the same at a road game, the handful of
Michigan fans in attendance let Ruden
know they appreciated his efforts. There
were repeated cheers of "Goalie, Sieve"
and "No-ah Ru-den" from a quartet
perched at the edge of the Western Michi-
gan student section.
See DOWD, page 10

Junior T.J. Hensick and sophomore Kevin Porter combined to tally three goals in the Wolverines' 4-1 victory.

Western Michigan's inability to score was due in
large part to the play of Michigan goalie Noah Ruden.
The senior faced a barrage of shots from the Broncos
(4-15-3, 6-20-4) throughout the second period, but
came away without allowing a goal.
On the night, Ruden stopped 25 of the 26 shots he
faced and kept Western Michigan off the scoreboard
until the 11-minute mark of the third period.
"Noah Ruden was terrific," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "He made some hard saves look easy,
and that is when you know a goalie is playing well."
Hensick and Porter put the finishing touches on the

Broncos when they teamed up for the Wolverines'
fourth goal of the night.
Hensick collected a pass from freshman Travis
Turnbull behind the Western Michigan net. After
holding the puck for a moment, he whipped a pass
in front of the goal to an oncoming Porter, who one-
timed it past Belissimo for his second goal of the
Even during pre-game warm-ups, the duo knew
they were going to have a good game.
"After warm-ups we both kind of knew that we felt
See BRONCOS, page 10

for the Hartford Wolfpack - an affiliate
of the New York Rangers - freshman
Billy Sauer was heralded as the next Al
Sauer earned his starts early in the
season, but he has looked uncomfortable
during recent games, opening the door for
Ruden is receiving cheers again
these days, but they're more like the
ones he heard the fans give Montoya.
Lately, he's been responsible for keep-
ing Michigan afloat in games. Last
night was no different.
Throughout the first period, the Wol-
verines dominated. They created easy
shots and potted three goals. But once
the second period started, it was West-
ern Michigan that was getting the easy
chances. Not the turnaround you want to

Captain shines outside the limelight

'M' coaching staff undergoes more turnover

By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Editor

The shot clock dipped below 10 sec-
onds, and the Wolverines had yet to find
an open look. Hayes Grooms received
the ball at the top of the key and found an
open Sherrod Harrell in the corner.
The senior captain took the pass and
calmly stroked the shot just before the
shot clock sounded.
It was his only field goal this season.
Even though Harrell's jumper had no
significant impact on the outcome of
Michigan's recent 71-55 win over Minne-
sota on Jan. 21, his position on this team
should not be overlooked.
"You're not going to find anyone with
a higher character than Sherrod," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said. "He has
a great perspective and I trust him greatly.
I think his value has been immeasurable
in our locker room."
So far Harrell has scored just four
points in 14 minutes on the court this
season, but his teammates know he is a
crucial part of the success Michigan has
enjoyed this season.
"He's the epitome of a teammate,"
senior Graham Brown said. "He's
always there for somebody. He's a great
leader. He's a great teammate and a
great person."
Last year, Harrell played a career-
high 390 minutes and even started 12
games for the injury-depleted Wol-
verines. In big games, like the contest
against then-No. 1 Illinois, Harrell
gained valuable experience playing
under pressure.
"I can understand the mindset of a
starter now at this level," Harrell said.
"People always say that experience is
the best teacher. So now that I've been
there, I can say things that help (my

teammates) out."
But because his playing time surfaced
as a result of injuries to Lester Abram and
Daniel Horton, as well as Horton's sus-
pension, Harrell understood that the situ-
ation would change this season and that
he could see less time on the court.
"Coming in and working out over
the summer, I had that background of
starting games," Harrell said. "I played
more minutes last year, and I knew the
reasons why. But I still had that experi-
ence, so if coach needed me, I was there
for him."
This season hasn't been the dream
that Harrell might have imagined. With
freshman Jerret Smith and sophomore
Ron Coleman coming in to relieve Hor-
ton and Dion Harris, Harrell has been
stuck near the end of a deep and talented
Wolverine bench.
But you won't hear the senior complain
about his playing time.
Because his teammates elected him to
his second term as captain, he knows he
can make an impact whether or not he's
on the court.
"I really try to be an example and try
to say the right things to motivate guys
to get us going, in practices or games,
whenever," Harrell said. "Guys get
down all the time, and that's my role
to step in and give them a word or pick
their head up."
For Harrell, just donning the maize
and blue has always been a dream. Grow-
ing up, the Kalamazoo native watched
the Fab Five on TV and was immediately
drawn to the Wolverines.
A three-sport star in high school, Har-
rell played both linebacker and quar-
terback for Central High School. He
received scholarship offers from several
colleges interested in having him play on
the gridiron.

Michigan football secondary coach
Ron English has officially signed a con-
tract with the Chicago Bears and will join
the NFL team working in the same role he
filled for the Wolverines, according to the
Ann Arbor News.
English had just finished his third
season at Michigan. In 2004, he became
the first coach in NCAA history to have
two defensive backs earn consensus All-
America honors in the same season (cor-
nerback Marlin Jackson and safety Ernest

The Wolverines took one step toward
replacing their departed coaches yester-
day when they replaced departed offen-
sive coordinator Terry Malone - hired
as an assistant coach by the New Orleans
Saints - with special teams coach Mike
DeBord. This will be DeBord's second
stint as offensive coordinator at Michigan.
He commandeered the offense during
from 1997 to 1999, including the Wolver-
ines' national-championship season.

Despite seeing limited playing time, senior captain Sherrod Harrell has been able to
utilize his experience to help guide Michigan to a successful start this season.

The offers were tempting, but Harrell
never wavered on his plans to play basket-
ball for the Wolverines. He walked on his
freshman year to realize his dream.
"When I had the opportunity, I just
took advantage," Harrell said.
Harrell has seen the ups and downs of
Michigan basketball. From the high of
winning the NIT as a sophomore to the

low of a 10-game losing streak last sea-
son, the senior does whatever he can to
boost the Wolverines.
"If something needs to be said, I
want to say it," Harrell said. "If some-
thing needs to be done, I want to do it.
Whatever needs to be done to get these
guys going to help us get to that next
step, I'll do it."

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