8B - Faceoff - October 11, 2006 - The Michigan Daily
Daily Hockey Beat
Season Preview Picks
The Daily hockey writers make
predictions on the fate of Michi-
gan and the rest of the college
CCHA first place
CCHA second place
CCHA third place
Mason Cup winner
Mason Cup runner-up
CCHA Coach of the Year
Surprise CCHA teamn
Top Michigan freshman
NCAA Frozen Four (Team 1)
NCAA Frozen Four (Team 2)
NCAA Frozen Four(Team 3)
NCAA Frozen Four (Team 4)
James V. Ian
Rick Comley, Michigan State
Lake Superior State
Jeff Lerg, Michigan State
Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame
T.J. Hensick, Michigan
Enrico Blasi, Miami
Scott Parse, Nebraska-Omaha
Walt Kyle, Northern Michigan
Lerg, Michigan State
Continued from page 3B
league rankings. With their top four
scorers returning and goalie David
Brown back for his senior year,
another jump in the CCHA standings
wouldn't be out of the question. With
a two-time NCAA championship
winning coach Jeff Jackson behind
the bench as well, a Notre Dame team
near the top of the CCHA wouldn't
be due to simple Irish luck.
Better luck next year:
Lake Superior State: The Lakers
featured one of the best defensive
corps in the conference last year
- posting the second lowest goals
against average (2.31). And that
shouldn't change this year.
Although it returns four of its top
six blue liners from a year ago, the
key to Lake Superior State's defense
is between the pipes. All-CCHA Con-
ference first-team goalie Jeff Jakaitis
returns for his senior season.
While the defense was stingy last
year, the offense made opposing
teams' defense look just as stingy.
The Lakers found the net just 93
times last season, the third-lowest
total in the conference. If the team
is going to rise above its preseason
ranking of 10th in the CCHA, it has
to find a way to turn on the red light
Bowling Green: There is nowhere
to go but up for the Falcons. They
finished at the bottom of the CCHA
after losing standout goalie Jordan
Sigalet following the 2004-05 sea-
son. With 19 underclassmen on the
roster, a dramatic rise to the top of
the conference is unlikely.
"We scored a lot of goals last year,
but we couldn't keep them out of our
net," Bowling Green coach Scott
Paluch said. "That's our biggest chal-
lenge as we enter the new season."
The Falcons scored 124 goals a
year ago but allowed a conference-
Although the defense should be
stronger with six returning blue lin-
ers, the team is young and at least a
year away from being in the top half
of the conference.
Western Michigan: Goalie Daniel
Bellissimo led the NCAA in saves,
which says something about the team's
defense. And he didn't finish in the
top 10 of the CCHA in goals against,
which says something about his goal-
keeping. The Broncos finished last in
the league in defense and second to
last in the overall standings last year.
The Broncos ended the season on
a high note, though, upsetting Lake
Superior State in the first round of
the CCHA Tournament. Judging by
where the coaches and media picked
Western Michigan to finish this
year (12th in both polls), winning a
series in the first round of the CCHA
playoff might be the Broncos' only
momentum heading into next season.
Continued from page 5B
"Jack Johnson certainly lived up to all
the expectations that people put on him,"
Considering the buildup that comes
with being highest drafted Michigan
player of all time, that says a lot for John-
son's play - and he wants to improve.
"He just absolutely can do it all," Pow-
ers said. "Everything's been said about
him, but everything's true. It won't
surprise me if he can take his game to
another level, which is not going to be
easy to do because he's already so good.
But he doesn't want to be just that good.
He wants to be great."
Fresh-faced first years
In a sea of returning roster members,
it's easy to lose track of two players new
to the Michigan squad.
But then you see Chris Summers
And you watch Steve Kampfer move
"They're going to demand ice time,"
Powers said. "They're not going to take
a backseat to anybody here."
Summers, already drafted by the Phoe-
nix Coyotes in the first round of the 2006
draft, is generating buzz for the way
he moves on the ice. Powers called the
Milan native's skating "world-class, like
Summers, .like many of the Wolver-
ines, comes from the Under-18 United
States National Team Development Pro-
gram. The team nakes a seasn out of'
playing college teams, so for Summers,
skating against Division I opponents is
And he hopes to be scoring against
them soon, too. Summers says he tries to
make himself into "the fourth forward,"
jumping up and joining the rush when he
Kampfer, newly 18 and the team's
youngest player, likes to get in the rush
a bit, too.
"I can chip in equally at both ends,"
Kampfer said. "I can pick when I want to
join. It's fun jumping into the play, but
you also have to realize you've got to be
back if the puck turns over."
Coaches and teammates marvel over
Kampfer's puck handling and strong shot,
attributes that will probably land him a
spot on Michigan's ailing power play.
But to Powers, the biggest strength of
Kampfer and Summers isn't a hockey
skill. Both rookies have had their eyes
set on Michigan from a young age, and to
him that's worth more than anything.
"For them, putting on that helmet
and that jersey is a very, very special
thing," Powers said. "You're not get-
ting just good hockey players and good
kids, you're getting kids that are living
out a dream. We're seeing that every day.
They're working so hard because they're
These seven players are bound by a
drive to return Michigan to the upper
echelon of college hockey. Each of them
knows that starts in one place: with them,
at the blue line, keeping pucks out of the