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January 17, 2006 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-17

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - January 17, 2006

Blue,
Green to
battle for
standings
By James V. Dowd
Daily Sports Writer
The tensions rarely subside between
Michigan and Michigan State, and with
three games over the next eleven days,
the rivalry will likely just grow stron-
ger.
Going into tonight's game at Munn
Ice Arena in East Lansing, the two
teams are separated by just one point in
the CCHA standings. The Wolverines sit
in fourth place and the Spartans are tied
for fifth - a difference that has added
significance with the CCHA's revised
playoff system. Under the new rules, the
fourth-place team receives a first-round
bye in the league playoffs.
Michigan is looking to move beyond
its recent struggles, which date back to a
Dec. 2-3 series with Nebraska-Omaha,
according to Wolverines coach Red
Berenson. The keys to a turnaround are
numerous, and the team has been work-
ing hard to get back into the groove.
"We have to try to get back to basics,"
junior defenseman Tim Cook said.
"We've been watching lots of film to
find our problems. We just have to focus
on all the little things."
In order to help gauge its performance
and room for improvement, the team
sets goals for itself before each game.
These goals revolve around different
statistics and help the team develop an
empirical judgment about their play in a
given game.
"(The goals include)
a number of turnovers to
stay under, a number of
hits to be above and shots
for and against," Cook
said. "Sometimes you
think you play a good or a M-
bad game, but these goals
can be a better judge of the
game."
Michigan's focus for tonight's game is
its special-teams play. The team's power
play is ranked third-best in the country,
but it has struggled as of late. But last
Friday's exhibition game against the
United States National Team Develop-
ment Program Under-18 team, the Wol-
verines' power play showed signs of life,
scoring two goals during a five-minute
major penalty in the waning minutes of
the second period.
The power play will be vital against
Michigan State's strong contingent of

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
Junior T.J. Hensick notched a goal and an assist for three points in the game.

goaltenders. Junior Dominic Vicari has
fared well against the Wolverines in the
past. Freshman Jeff Lerg has allowed
just 1.92 goals per game and has posted
a .923 save percentage in 13 appear-
ances. When a team has to face strong
goaltenders like Vicari
and Lerg, creating high-
G ' Tpercentage chances on the
power play is important to
11mat scoring goals.
The Wolverines have
been working hard on the
ice, but having a Tues-
_ '_<>'t;> day night game has also
required adjustments off
it. The team is used to
playing on Fridays and Saturdays, so
a weeknight game requires different
preparation.
"(Having mid-week games) is great,"
Cook said. "It's almost like the pros.
With three games you need to get your
rest and get your fluids. You also need to
make sure you get your homework done,
because you don't have every night free
until Friday."
In addition to making adjustments,
Michigan will also have to find a way
to slow the Spartans' recent momentum.

After losing to Colorado College in the
Great Lakes Invitational Champion-
ship game, Michigan State has won four
straight with sweeps of Wayne State and
Alaska-Fairbanks.
"(The momentum) gives them the
advantage," Berenson said. "Their team
is in sync, especially after giving up one
goal in two games last weekend (against
Alaska-Fairbanks). They are much bet-
ter than they were at the start of the year,
when they had all of those injuries."
When the two teams met in Ann
Arbor on Oct. 22, the result was a 3-3
tie. This was the third consecutive tie
between the two teams, and the three
contests before that were decided by
just four goals. Because the games
are so close, the team will have to
focus on cutting down bad penalty
minutes, Berenson said during his
weekly radio show. Through Jan. 15,
Michigan has been the most penal-
ized team in the country, averaging
26 minutes per game.
It is especially important that the
Wolverines get back on track tonight,
because they face a streaking Bowling
Green team this Friday and Saturday in
a home-and-home series.

Junior T.J. Hensick and the Wolverines stepped up the intensity on the Michigan
rewarded with two goals on a five-minute major.

USNTDP
Continued from page 1B
momentum the U.S. team had.
"We had three power-play goals
tonight and none last weekend," Hen-
sick said. "So if we can look at it as
our special teams vs. theirs, it was a
win for us tonight."
With the way Michigan played late
in the game, Naurato's game-winning
goal seemed to be an inevitable.
The Wolverines hope that Friday
night's fireworks display on special
teams helps them break their current
0-for-19 power-play slump in regu-
lar-season play. Michigan hasn't net-
ted a power-play goal since alternate

captain Matt Hunwick scored with
the advantage in the second period of
Michigan's game against Michigan
Tech in the Great Lakes Invitational.
Notes: Current Wolverines fresh-
men Johnson, MacVoy, Mark Mitera,
Jason Bailey and Danny Fardig par-
ticipated in the same game last sea-
son as members of the U.S NTDP.
Hensick, Kolarik, Hunwick and
sophomore Kevin Porter also played
with the NTDP before coming to
Michigan.
"I've been on both sides, so I know
what it's like," Hensick said. "On the
other side of things, playing on the
national program, it's the game you
look for on the schedule to find out
when it is. And (as a Michigan play-

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
power play on Friday and were
er), it's a chance for us to work on our
special teams and things we normally
wouldn't do."
In all 17 players have played for the
NTDP before coming to Michigan.
Current U.S. NTDP defenseman
Chris Summers had a lot to play
for. In the fall, Summers signed
a national letter of intent to play
hockey for Michigan in the 2006-07
season. Summers failed to record a
point and was -1 for the game. His
teammate, forward Patrick Kane,
was also a big name buzzing around
Yost. Although undecided at the
moment, Kane is rumored to have
Michigan on his list of potential
schools. Kane notched an assist and
a +1 plus/minus rating.

r. Z.

THE LAST THREE
MEETINGS...
With the Wolverines and the Spar
tan traditionally meeting at least
four times a season, the standings
are often hard to keep straight.

October 22, :2005 ebruary 5,4005
Michigan 3,MSU 3(OT) 'Micigan 1 tu 1 (01T
In the mst recen, athup btee he205 taiinErc N l ~i&
squad& both Ebb~ett and Cogia t had a 5th , c goal, grid ilpu:,)e:A
.goal and an asist. Billy Sauerrecordkd s}9~~#3
career-high 35 saves in the tie; February 4, 005
Michigan State tied the game whenTm ichigan2 U2, !?(OT)
Crowder snuck one past Sauer in the Jef Tarnk lhn, ha',. goJ an4 i s~t
second perid. Neither team ~scored in andEbb1ett Lhatd itn is in e
th third, aainst the SpartansK

.... ........ . ....... . ..

After loss,
Blue still
undefeated
By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer
In the face of an emotionally charged week follow-
ing the death of former assistant coach Eric Namesnick,
the Michigan men's swimming and diving team had a
difficult time finding the emotions worthy of a victory.
"It was hard to think about the meet after the
week we all had," Wolverine senior captain Peter
Vanderkaay said. "Then after a five-hour bus ride,
racing really wasn't on our minds."
Yet with all the adversity, the No. 4 Michigan
defeated No. 15 Purdue 132-111, earning not just a
perfect 4-0 team record, but also a necessary moral
victory.
Michigan coach Bob Bowman was sensitive
to the emotional condition of his team, and
he decided against canceling the Friday meet
because he felt that at this time of the season, it
would work against the team.
"I'm glad we took advantage of the opportunity
to race this weekend," Bowman said. "I felt like we
needed a meet even in the face of the tough condi-
tions this week. We got a feel for one of the Big
Ten teams that we'll see later in the season, and we
were able to put ourselves back into racing condi-
tion. Although we were emotionally flat, I was fair-
ly pleased with the meet."
After enduring a five-hour long bus ride through
the rain, the Wolverines arrived in West Lafayette
just minutes prior to the start of the meet. Without
much time to warm up, the all-senior 400-yard med-

Tankers overcome
emotions, take second

By Nate Sandals
Daily Sports Writer

Everyone in Canham Natatorium was
standing near the end of Saturday night's
Michigan Invitational because the final
result was still undecided.
Not until the final race was completed
had the place of the three teams compet-
ing been assured.
Heading into the 400-yard freestyle
relay, Michigan was 13 points behind
Notre Dame. The Wolverines 'A'-team
won the race, and the 'B'-team was
fifth. But with the Irish teams finishing
second and fourth, the Michigan results
were not enough to overcome the Notre
Dame lead. The Wolverines finished
second by just nine points - 1,120 to
1,111. The third-place team, Illinois, fin-
ished over 200 points behind Michigan.
For a meet with so much suspense, it is
hard to imagine that the Wolverine swim-
mers competed with heavy hearts.
Following the death of former Michi-
gan swimmer and men's assistant coach
Eric "Snik" Namesnik last Wednesday,
coach Jim Richardson seriously consid-
ered scrapping the annual engagement
with the Illini and Irish.
"We wrestled with whether we were
going to do this or not," Richardson said.
"We decided to go ahead and do it, in part
because we knew that that's what Snik
would have wanted us to do."
Richardson said the meet would have

weren't on their 'A' game physically, yet
they swam 'A'-game races in terms of
managing the energy that they did have."
In that regard, the coach was particu-
larly impressed with freshman Hannah
Smith and senior Abby Seskevics.
There were many other strong perfor-
mances that Richardson didn't mention.
Junior Kaitlyn Brady won the 100-
and 200-yard backstroke events as well
as the 100-yard butterfly. She was also a
member of three winning relay teams: the
200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley
relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Junior captain Lindsey Smith also
swam well. Smith won three individual
events - the 50-, 100- and 200-yard free-
style - and anchored the winning 400-
yard freestyle relay team.
Smith saw the meet as just another
stepping stone on the road to the Big Ten
and NCAA Championships.
"These meets are a good way to prac-
tice for Big Ten (Championships)," Smith
said. "Just to get experience racing and
change little things that can help you in
the end. I think all of us are doing a really
good job with that."
Michigan's divers dominated the well,
sweeping the top three spots in the one-
meter springboard on Friday night, and
finishing 1-2 in the three-meter spring-
board on Saturday morning.
Like always, the Wolverines cheered
on their teammates loudly. One member
of the team urged on her teammates with

SHUBRA OHRI/Daily
Senior Davis Tarwater came In first in both his individual events, the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard on Friday.

for the entire race, and he held a steady pace for all
40 laps. Patton's 19 50-yard splits ranged between
just .67 seconds of each other.
"Matt had a great race in the 1,000-(yard free-
style)," Bowman said. "He really stepped up and
controlled the event. For a freshman to do that regu-
larly is extremely important to our team."
After Patton's race, Michigan took control of the
meet, winning the next seven swimming events.

fourth-positioned swimmers. After his turn on the
fifth wall, DeJong pushed past the rest of the field
and took the lead. DeJong touched his hand to the
wall .93 seconds before the second-place finisher,
Purdue John Schmitt.
"Chris exemplified his ability to overcome chal-
lenges in races," Bowman said. "It was a good
race, and he came back later in the meet with more
determination."

I

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