4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 20, 2006
HITTING AFTER THE WHISTLE
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The junior forward scored a goal on Saturday
night and had two assists on Friday. His leader-
ship played a key role in Michigan's three-goal
comeback on Friday.
"We took a step forwards in the first
two periods. Then we took a step
back in the third period. And then,
like coach said, we took a step side-
- Michigan sophomore Chad Kolarik on the
team's Saturday-night performance.
BY THE NUMBERS
6The age difference between
Michigan freshman Tim Miller and
Nebraska-Omaha captain Mike
Leffley. The two fought during
SATURDAY'S SCORING SUMMARY
MICHIGAN 4 - NEBRASKA-OMAHA 4
MICHIGAN 3 - NEBRASKA-OMAHA 4
Taken to School
Michigan 4, Nebraska-Omaha 4
Michigan ...... ..... .....................2 2 0 0 -
Nebraska-Omaha................1 2 1 0 -
1. MICH Chad Kolarik 11 (Andrew Ebbett, Tim Cook) 5:43. 2. MICH
Andrew Ebbett 11 (Chad Kolarik) 14:44. 3. UNO Brandon Scero 8
(Juha Uotila, Mick Lawrence) 17:37. Penalties - Travis Turnbull,
MICH (contact to the head) 6:50; Juha Uotila, UNO (contact to
the head) 6:50; Kaleb Betta, UNO (contact to the head high-stick)
10:46; Mark Mitera, MICH (interference) 11:16; Jack Johnson,
MICH (holding) 16:10.
4. UNO Bill Thomas 24 (Scott Parse, Dan Knapp) 3:50. 5. MICH T. J.
Hensick 14 (Jack Johnson, David Rohlfs) 5:11. 6. MICH Travis Turn-
bull 6 (Chad Kolarik, David Rohlfs) 9:36. 7. UNO Alex Nikiforuk 11
(Dan Charleston) 13:30. Penalties - T. J. Hensick, MICH (10-minute
misconduct) 5:11; Travis Turnbull, MICH (contact to the head) 7:20;
Mick Lawrence, UNO (contact with the goalie) 7:20; Jack Johnson,
MICH (contact to the head) 10:43; Matt Hunwick, MICH (obstruction-
tripping) 11:38; Tim Miller, MICH (hit after whistle) 18:26; Tim Miller,
MICH (hit after whistle) 18:26; Mike Lefley, UNO (hit after whistle)
18:26; Mike Lefley, UNO (hit after whistle) 18:26; Tim Miller, MICH
(game misconduct) 18:26.
8. UNO Phil Angell 3 (Bryan Marshall, Scott Parse) 17:58. Penal-
ties- Brandon Kaleniecki, MICH (holding) 2:24; Dan Knapp, UNO
(checking from behind) 6:49; Dan Charleston, UNO (holding) 18:37.
Shots on goal: MICH 11:8:6:3:28; UNO 12:11:8:1:32. Power plays: MICH 0-of-3;
UNO 2-of-4. Saves - MICH Noah Ruden (11-9-7-1) - 28; UINO Jerad
Kaufmann (9-6-6-3) - 24. Referee: Mark Wilkins. Attendance: 8,152.
By Daniel Levy
Daily Sports Writer
OMAHA - This weekend's bat-
tle between No. 8 Michigan and No.
13 Nebraska-Omaha featured a battle
between two electric power plays. With
Hobey Baker Award candidates Scott
Parse and Bill Thomas, it was no sur-
prise that the Mavericks would be dan-
gerous on the man-advantage.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the
other power play to show up was the
Nebraska-Omaha -pep band. Nicknamed
"The Power Play", the special-teams play
of the Mavericks gave the band many
reasons to rock and left the Wolverines
fighting an uphill battle.
Trailing 2-0 late in the first period on
Saturday night, Nebraska-Omaha used
the man-advantage to get back into the
game. Maverick forward Brandon Scero
took a pass just outside the crease and
beat Michigan goalie Noah Ruden short-
side to cut the Wolverine lead in half.
The goal gave the Mavericks momentum
heading into the first intermission, and
Nebraska-Omaha tied the game just min-
utes into the second period.
Michigan built another two-goal lead
in the second period, and Nebraska-
Omaha again looked to its power play
to get back in striking range. Down two
men, Michigan scrambled all over the ice
to kill off the first penalty. But with just
seconds left in the second penalty, Mav-
erick forward Alex Nikiforuk - who
scored the game-winning goal on Friday
night - wrapped around the net and slid
the puck under Ruden's pads. The score
left the Wolverines with a precarious
"The mood was great after we killed
the 5-on-3," sophomore Chad Kolarik
said. "But you have to stay even-keeled.
Just look what happened to us. They
scored in the last 15 or 20 seconds later
on 5-on-4. It was just devastating."
Michigan's inability to take advantage
of its own power play chances hurt more
than the two goals it gave up to Nebraska-
Omaha's special teams unit. Last week in
practice, Michigan coach Red Berenson
said he wasn't concerned about overall
numbers. All that mattered to him was
whether or not his team could convert in
DAILY POWER RANKINGS
win power struggle against ICers
Nebraska-Omaha captured three out of a possible four points over the weekend due in large part to its advantage on the power play.
crucial situations. As fate would have it,
the Wolverines got that chance on Satur-
With 1:23 remaining in the third
period, Nebraska-Omaha freshman Dan
Charleston was whistled for holding,
leaving the Wolverines with a power play
and a chance to win the game. Instead of
executing to score a clutch goal, Michi-
gan had a difficult time just getting the
puck in the Maverick zone. The Wolver-
ines gave up a shorthanded chance - a
better scoring opportunity than anything
"If you're going to win on the road,
your team has to make its chances count,"
Berenson said. "We had our chances and
didn't get it."
Michigan still had 25 seconds of
power play time in overtime, but nothing
came of it. The Wolverines' inability to
convert was a fitting end to a weekend
in which they went 0-for-7 with the man-
advantage. Michigan has now failed to
score on its last 20 power plays.
"We're not sure if we know what (work-
ing) hard enough is," captain Andrew
Ebbett said. "We have to find out what
The late power play came in a score-
and-win situation, but Michigan's other
squandered chances proved just as costly.
The Wolverines enjoyed a man-advantage
midway through the third period, when
they still led 4-3. Under less pressure and
knowing that a goal could virtually end
the game, Michigan had trouble setting
up inside Nebraska-Omaha's zone, and
the Mavericks killed off the penalty with
The game ended in a 4-4 tie - a dis-
appointing result for the Wolverines who
held two separate two-goal leads - but
Michigan might consider itself lucky.
The Wolverines were outscored 2-0 on
special teams in a hostile road environ-
ment against a quality opponent.
"It makes it much tougher (to beat a
good team on the road)," Kolarik said.
"You have to outscore them by two goals
on even strength (just to tie)."
Hensick 34 14 32 46 +6 34 106
Ebbett 34 11 23 34 +12 23 88
Porter 32 16 17 33 +1 30 79
Kolarik 34 11 20 31 +9 28 95
Johnson 31 8 21 29 +9 137 83
Cogliano 32 11 14 25 -7 32 96
Hunwick 34 9 16 25 +18 58 77
Kaleniecki 29 13 9 22 +8 38 76
Turnbull 34 6 9 15 +1 63 55
Miller 34 4 10 14 +8 54 39
Rohlfs 33 2 9 11 +8 39 49
Naurato 29 7 3 10 -2 8 53
Mitera 32 0 9 9 +8 47 35
Bailey 22 5 2 7 -1 45 23
Dest 34 2 6 8 -1 37 28
Fardig 31 4 3 7 +2 30 43
Swystun 29 2 2 4 -10 10 29
cook 33 1 2 3 -1 33 18
1. Minnesota (21-6-5)
A sweep over No. 7
Denver keeps the
Gophers atop the
This team has the
most talent in the
country and in recent
weeks they have
started to show it.
2. Michigan State
Just an appearance
in the power rankings
a few months ago.
But an 11-2-2
run, including last
over No. 2 Miami, has
the Spartans inching
towards the top.
3. Miami (21-7-4)
the CCHA title, this
shouldn't cause too
much of a scare. A
soft schedule that
might leave them
unprepared for the
4. Wisconsin (21-7-3)
Taking three points
at Michigan Tech
this weekend was a
good sign for a team
about to receive a
No. 1 seed in the
5. Boston University
The Terriers split a
No. 17 New Hampshire
this weekend and
are a projected
No. 1 seed for the
THE 'RED' LINE
In a system named for legendary coach Red Beren-
son, the Daily hockey writers grade the Wolverines on
their performance ih each of four areas.
(Graded out of 4 pucks)
fter Michigan earned just one point in two late-season,
"must-win" games, there isn't a whole lot more that cap-
tain Andrew Ebbett and his senior classmates can do for
Week in and week out, the Wolverines seem to come away
from the weekend disappointed. A split with Alaska-Fair-
banks, another with Bowling Green, a loss and two ties against
Michigan State, finally a sweep of Western Michigan (over a
pair of Tuesday night home-and-home games),
two more splits with Ohio State and Lake Supe-
rior State and this weekend's loss and tie against
Nebraska-Omaha have left the players shaking
their heads, talking about working harder and
promising better results the next weekend.
Ebbett and senior alternate captain Brandon
Kaleniecki have done their best, digging down
deep on the ice, resulting in Kaleniecki's scrappy
goals and Ebbett's unforgettable forechecking on
the penalty kill. And off the ice, they've arranged JAMES
team meetings, usually players-only, trying to
inspire change. DOW
After Saturday night's game, Ebbett was visibly JarnesOn
frustrated, as was coach Red Berenson, sopho-
more Chad Kolarik and everyone else I came across. Once again,
the power play failed to convert, most notably in the final minute
and a half of regulation and first 30-some seconds of overtime.
Kolarik talked about how the team wasn't working hard enough
on the ice.
After talking with a handful of players, I asked junior alternate
captain T.J. Hensick what the Wolverines could do differently
to improve in the final two games of the regular season and the
"We're sick of these meetings, especially the players-only
ones," Hensick said. "It's time that we start talking on the ice."
Hensick hit the nail on the head there. There isn't a severe lack
of effort or sense of urgency - the team certainly knows its situ-
ation. But it's time to take it to the next level, and that transition
starts with Hensick.
Ebbett and Kaleniecki have been great all year long. They say
the right things, they do the right things. But there's only so much
those two can do. With full knowledge that the seniors will be
gone at the end of the year, it's time for Hensick and junior alter-
nate captain Matt Hunwick to step into larger leadership roles.
Hensick answered that call on Friday when he spearheaded
a three-goal comeback to tie the game before a defensive lapse
allowed the winning goal nine seconds later.
On top of his two assists, Hensick was noticeably taking
charge on the ice. At each faceoff, he went player-to-player,
directing them to specific spots and explaining what
was going to happen once - yes, once - he won the
draw. And it seemed like he won every faceoff in the
final 15 minutes of that game.
Hunwick also came to play in those final minutes on
Friday night, knocking in two goals after making cal-
culated runs to the back side of the net so that he could
redirect Hensick's passes into the net.
They played well all weekend, but it was in the late.
stages of Friday's game that the pair of juniors showed
v. why they were chosen as two of Ebbett's alternate cap-
tains. As next weekend's series draws closer, both must
remember the great example they set for their team-
... mates when they kick it into top gear.
This top gear isn't trying or working hard - Hen-
sick and Hunwick do that night in and night out. It's something
beyond that. The pair is at its best when they become possessed
by the desire to win.
At times, Hensick has looked utterly unstoppable and Hun-
wick, at his best, looks unbeatable. This combination can only
mean a chance to win for the Wolverines.
Michigan wants to secure a first-round bye and home ice for
the second round of the CCHA playoffs next weekend. There is
one way to assure this - a sweep. After Friday night's loss, Hen-
sick made it clear he was sick of splitting every weekend.
When the puck drops on Friday night in Big Rapids, let's hope
he remembers just how upset he was and takes his game to the
level it was at in the closing minutes of last Friday's game - a
level that only he can take it to.
-James Dowd can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
The offense looked good
at certain points in each
game, but was never domi-
nant. The third and fourth
lines haven't contributed
lately and need to step up
if this team wants to make
a run in the postseason.
Once again, mistakes
cost the defense. But the
defensemen played a key
role in the offense, espe-
cially on Friday night. If it
wants to be successful, the
defense needs to cut down
on the odd-man rushes.
AROUND THE CCHA
MIAMI 6, Ohio State 3
NEBRASKA-OMAHA 4, Michigan 3
MICHIGAN STATE 3, Miami 2
Northern Michigan 4, LAKE SUPERIOR STATE 3 (OT)
Ferris State 3, OHIO STATE 3 (OT)
Notre Dame 7, BOWLING GREEN 4
Western Michigan 1, ALASKA-FAIRBANKS 1 (OT)
Michigan 4, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 4 (OT)
MICHIGAN STATE 3, Miami 1
NORTHERN MICHIGAN 5, Lake Superior State 1
OHIO STATE 3, Ferris State 2
Notre Dame 1, BOWLING GREEN 1 (OT)
ALASKA- FAIRBANKS 5, Western Michigan 3
*Home teams in caps
James V. Dowd
Noah Ruden looked shaky
for the first time all season,
and coach Berenson wasn't
afraid to say so. But the
senior rebounded from early
mistakes to make big saves
late in each game, prevent-
ing a sweep.-
Continued from page 1B
inside the blue line and beat Ruden for the
Even after the Mavericks' fourth tally,
the Wolverines had a golden opportunity to
"We're not making it easy on ourselves
right now," senior captain Andrew Ebbett
said. "We've got to get home ice. That's our
number-one goal right now."
In contrast to the disheartening finish,
it looked like the Wolverines were set to
get back on track when Saturday's contest
"We're not getting the breaks, and we
left them opportunities to come back in the
game," Ebbett said. "We had our chances to
bury them, and we left them in."
Friday night, the Wolverines erased a 3-0
third-period deficit, only to see its effort go
for naught when the Mavericks responded
with a goal of their own just six seconds after
H. Jose Bosch
i i i