The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 9
By AMBER COLVIN
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan's third line needed a big change.
About six feet, two inches and 210 pounds.
Throughout the first eight games of the season, the third line kept com-
ing up with goose eggs when it came to goals.
When the Wolverines dropped a 7-4 decision to Michigan State more
than a week ago, Michigan coach Red Berenson decided to tweak some of
the offensively stagnant lines. And that's how freshman Brian Lebler, the
hulking left winger, joined the ailing third line.
The Penticton, British Columbia, native started out the season on
Michigan's second line, alongside scoring powerhouses Andrew Cogli-
ano and Chad Kolarik.
But once Lebler swapped spots with former third-liner Tim Miller,
things just started to click.
With the hefty power forward playing to their left, sophomores Jason
Bailey and Travis Turnbull finally saw their line light the red lamp. Leb-
ler notched a tally in each game of last weekend's sweep of Nebraska-
Asked how it felt to have the line he centers finally make the scoresheet,
Turnbull sighed and let a laugh escape.
"You have no idea," he said. "It's a major monkey off the back."
While the Cogliano-Kolarik combination is known for its glittering
talent and skill-oriented play, the third line hits the ice in a grittier fash-
ion. And that suits Lebler just fine.
Lebler is in his element when he's competing for pucks along the boards,
doing the dirty work in the goal crease and battling through scrums in the
corners. And the rookie isn't afraid to use his entire 6-foot-2, 210-pound
frame to let opponents know he's there to protect the puck.
Sounds like the right guy for that grizzly third line.
"We have to come up with a name for them, but they're like our
version of the Grind Line," Berenson said, referencing the infamous
Detroit Red Wings line known for its hard-nosed enforcing style.
"They'll come at you. They're tough to play against. Bailey plays
physical and strong, so does Turnbull and so does Lebler. They have
a chance, when they get the puck, to attack."
Said Lebler: "I really like where I am now. It's more my style of
hockey. It's more bang, crash play."
Lebler grew up in Canada, but he was born in Austria. His father
played for Wisconsin, where he won a national championship, and
then pursued a professional career overseas.
But the elder Lebler never pressured his son to follow in his Badger
footsteps. And while Lebler seriously considered heading to Madi-
son for college, ultimately "just a feeling" steered him toward Ann
And in his first month or so here, the feeling around Yost Ice Arena
is that Lebler fits in quite well.
"I think he's doing great," Turnbull said. "He's getting better every
game. He seems to be clicking with especially ourline and the rest of
the guys on the team. He's definitely been a big help to us offensively,
that's for sure. He's a very strong guy and he works hard down low."
NOTES: While his father boogied in the stands over the weekend,
sophomore Jack Johnson danced his way to his second CCHA Defen-
seman of the Week award this year and his third ever. The goal and
assist he notched helped build his plus-six rating for the two-game
series.The star blue liner also earned the honor the first week of this
season and once last year.
... After a gradual descent in the rankings this season, the Wolver'
ines are riding a three-game win streak and made a two-spotjump up
to No. 8 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
Freshman Krista Phillips and the Wolverines couldn't fend off a pesky Ball State squad, which made up a seven-point deficit inuthe second half. Michiganfell tot 1 onthe season.
Second-half skid dooms Blue
By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
After suffering through a 6-23 season last
year that lacked a Big Ten win and ended with
17-game losing streak, it appeared as if the
Michigan women's basketball team was play-
ing with renewed enthusiasm in its young sea-
After dominating Arkansas-Pine Bluff in
their season opener, the Wolverines built a nice
32-25 halftime lead over Ball State last night.
But then last season's demons returned.
The Wolverines allowed the hot-shooting
Cardinals to take over in the second half and
leave Crisler Arena with a 62-58 win.
"I thought they did a great job of out-hus-
tling us, and we don't want anybody to come in
our house and play harder than we do," Michi-
gan coach Cheryl Burnett said. "I thought that
was a factor in the outcome of the game."
In the past, Burnett had said she would not
discuss personnel issues with the media. But
this loss took an obvious toll on her.
"I'm not very happy," Burnett said. "I told
our team that it might be time for a change. I
didn't realize it would come this quickly, but we
have some kids out there - Sireece Bass really
showed great confidence. LeQuisha Whitfield
continues to show great confidence; Janelle
Cooper is such a great competitor. Maybe it's
time for some changes."
Although Ball State needed its strong second
half to win, there were signs at halftime that
Michigan's lead was surmountable.
The Wolverines were unusually hot from
beyond the arc, going 5-for-6 on 3-pointers,
while Ball State missed all six of its long-dis-
tance attempts. Michigan recorded assists on 11
of its 12 first-half field goals, but the team still
turned over the ball 14 times. The Wolverines
held Ball State to just ten points on field goals,
but sent them to the free throw line 21 times,
where the Cardinals scored 15 points.
Ball State coach Tracy Roller said her team
was lucky to be down just seven at the break.
In the second half, Michigan stayed out of
foul trouble but allowed Ball State too much
room to shoot as a result of its less physical
play. The Cardinals hit 62.5 percent from the
field in the second half and nailed an even more
impressive 6-of-8 from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, Michigan went cold, hitting just
two of its 12 second-half 3-point attempts.
"We were mentally focused, but we kind of
lapsed off when they hit one three," Whitfield
said. "Our momentum just went away after
they hit one three."
The Wolverines had 12 turnovers in the sec-
ond half, and the good passes to set up easy
buckets disappeared. Just four of their 10 sec-
ond-half field goals were assisted.
"We didn't do a good job of going inside-out-
side," Burnett said. "We were looking inside,
inside, inside - turning it over while we were
The Wolverines cutthe Cardinals' lead to 56-
54 on forward Carly Benson's 3-pointer with
4:10 left in the game. But Ball State responded
with a trey of its own on the next possession,
and the Wolverines never threatened again.
"Second half, we just came out and tried to
rush it and push the ball too fast," sophomore
point guard Jess Minnfield said. "We needed to
slow down, and that's what we didn't do.
"We can't wait until the last minute of the
second half to try to get back in the game and
press the ball and do this and that. We have to
do that from the jump. We came out lazy in the
first half. We came out lazy in the second half.
We've got to be ready to play the whole game."
with former squad
By H. JOSE BOSCH
Daily Sports Editor
Sunday afternoon wasn't the
first time Eastern Michigan coach
Charles Ramsey has walked
through the tunnel onto the Crisler
Arena floor.But this time,he walked
out of a different locker room, and
his team wasn't sporting maize and
The current NOTEBOOK
ball coach was an assistant under
coach Tommy Amaker at Michigan
for four seasons before leaving the
Wolverines to take the job at East-
ern Michigan two years ago.
The Ypsilanti native was an
assistant coach and a recruiting
coordinator on the Michigan staff.
He helped recruit two consecutive
top-10 recruiting classes and was a
member of the staff that coached
Michigan to a 2004 NIT title.
This was the first meeting
between the Eagles and the Wol-
verines since Ramsey has been
coach. And neither Ramsey nor
Amaker enjoyed coaching against
each other in the 80-51 Michigan
"There is so much so much
knowledge of (Michigan) and tight-
ness with them and the program
and the families, so it's tough," said
Ramsey of matching up against his
former team. "But, I'm glad we got
this out of the way. It was a great
Said Amaker: "It is uncomfort-
able to be very honest. We knew
that when we were able to get
involved in this. We were in agree-
ment to participate in (the John
Thompson Challenge), knowing
that we would have to play, and
hopefully it's a good thing for our
two programs and our commu-
Senior Brent Petway is one of
just five players on the current
Michigan squad to have played
for Ramsey, and he found a brief
moment to reconnect during the
"One time, we were heading back
to our huddle during a timeout and
he was telling me, 'Good job,' " Pet-
waysaid. "I told him, 'You're coach-
ing the other team now.' It was kind
of weird seeing him on the other
sideline for the first (time) coach-
ing against you."
FRESHMAN ORIENTATION: The
Wolverines' third game of the sea-
son was freshman DeShawn Sims's
first with extended playing time.
And after just one minute, he
showcased why he'll be playing
Sims opened his manic minute
midway through the first half with
two quick, inside field goals and a
dynamic rejection of the Eagles'
"What a spirited effort," Amaker
said. "He came in and was a shot
in the arm. You could see that he
looked like he was just shot out of
a cannon and it really helped our
On Nov. 3, his younger brother,
Marcus Pruitt, was shot and killed
not far from his neighborhood. The
Detroit native missed a week of
practice while he spent time with
Sims played very little on Friday
night and stayed on the bench all
of Saturday. Sunday, he logged 12
minutes and finished the day with
nine points and six rebounds.
"I had a conversation with Ron
Coleman earlier about me not play-
ing," Sims said. "I told him I love
watching my team excel, with or
without me. And he said, 'It's time
for you to excel with us.'
"He told me when I get my
chance today, to go hard and (some-
thing) good will happen."
Petway's dunks are notorious for
putting enough charge into Crisler
Arena to lighten its dark upper
bowl. And he threw down two
monstrous jams in Sunday's game
against Eastern Michigan.
But his propensity for living
life above the rim wasn't the most
impressive part of his perfor-
mance during this weekend's John
It was his rebounding.
Against Davidson on Saturday,
Petway pulled down 13 rebounds,
including 10 in the second half
were tremendous, and we needed
every one of them," Amaker said.
Petway continued his tough play
with nine rebounds on Sunday and
displayed his tenacity and athleti-
cism close to the basket.
"I thought Brent was especially
active," Amaker said. "He was all
over the backboard and he really
had a bounce and an energy about
his game, even more so than nor-
While he still hasn't lost his abil-
ity to please the crowd, Petway
is becoming less style and more
substance. And that could mean
trouble for Michigan's upcoming
JUST FOUR DAYS LEFT.