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February 01, 2007 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-01

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8A - Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

In Sauer we trust?

I ait time?
Can Billy Sauer be trusted
If there's one thing I learned last
month, it's that
Billy Sauer
really can dazzle
between the
pipes. He can
make those
huge, momen-
ing saves. He ANMBER
can withstand COLVIN
amounts of pres-
sure while in the A Touch of
crease. Dutch
But he's
tricked us before - and I don't want
to be tricked again.
Back in November, in the midst of
a seven-game win streak, I think we
all hopped on the Billy Sauer band-
wagon. The sophomore goaltender
was playing the best hockey of his
career, confidence oozing out of every
glove save and puck kicked away.
Finally, we all thought. Here is
the goaltender Michigan recruited.

This is the maturity we've been wait-
ing for, the talent we heard so much
Enter then-No. 1 Minnesota, scor-
ing five goals in the third period and
eight overall.
Enter six goals on 18 shots in a loss
to unranked Western Michigan the
next weekend.
Enter Sauer getting pulled for the
first time all season after allowing
five goals on 16 shots against then-No.
5 Notre Dame.
Enter the Sauer supporters, eating
their words.
Michigan fans have been waiting
for what used to be the hallmark of
the program: a consistently success-
ful starting goaltender. They had that
for four years in Steve Shields, Marty
Turco and Josh Blackburn and three
years in Al Montoya.
Then along came Sauer. The Wal-
worth, N.Y., native had a lot of buzz
around him, but he was also inAnn
Arbor a year too soon, thanks to
Montoya's early departure.
Sauer fought againsthis age and
the pressure to fill Montoya's skates,
only to put up lackluster numbers and

lose his starting role midway through
last season to senior Noah Ruden.
This wasn't Michigan goaltending
at all.
Now with Sauer in his sophomore
season, everyone's still waiting for a
Turco or a Shields.
Is Sauer readyto be that netminder
I don't know. It seemed possible
at the beginning of the season, with
Sauer confident and safe in his start-
ing role. It seemed even more likely in
November when he was unstoppable.
But we all know what happened
after that.
Sauer's been a new goalie in the
new year. He put aside the disap-
pointing first half of the season and
returned as a more dependable net-
minder. He made saves most thought
he couldn't make. Even in the team's
lone blemish of 2007, a 2-1 loss to
lowly Northern Michigan, Sauer
Each game in the second stretch
has been a statement for Sauer. He's
going in the right direction.
But how does he avoid another
Minnesota-like detour?

"That's a good question," Michi-
gan coach Red Berenson said. "Your
season is not always perfect. There's
going to be setbacks, and it's how you
handle them. I can't protect him from
that.... I can't tell you that he couldn't
be devastated again. But I think he's
stronger. He's got a little more experi-
ence now. I'd be surprised if that hap-
pened again."
Berenson has proved his trust
in Sauer all season. The coach was
adamant about identifying Sauer as
the starting goaltender from day one.
Already surpassingtotals from last
season, Sauer leads all NCAA goal-
tenders in minutes and games played.
So if Sauer is playing more than the
top goaltenders in the nation, matur-
ing and growing more confidentby
the day and has a hockey coaching
legend trusting him to carry the
team, then what are we waiting for?
Why don't we all hop on the Sauer
bandwagon again?
I don't know. But I just can't do it
- Colvin can be reached at


Sophomore Billy Sauer is 6-1 in the new year, but has he earned your trust?

Looking for a
career that gives
you. choices?

From page 5A
that's going to affectyou."
The run by the Hawkeyes was
more surprising given the defen-
sive intensity shown by Michigan
in the first half The Wolverines
held guard Adam Haluska, the Big
Ten's leading scorer heading into
last night's game, to just seven
points on 2-of-7 shooting from the
field in the first.
Freshman forward Tyler Smith
- an under-the-radar candidate
for Big Ten Freshman of the Year
- scored just four points.
But something changed once
the teams came out of the locker
Smith exploded in the second
half, scoring 18 second-half points
It didn't help that the Wolverines
left Haluska, a deadly 3-point
shooter, wide open from beyond
the arc several times.
"We didn't stop or do anything
(in the second half)," Harris said.
"They kept on knocking the shots
down, and we couldn't. When you
have a team scoring at will like
they did in the second half, it's real
Adding to the Wolverines'
demise was their ineptness on
offense, After shooting over 45
percent from the floor the first
20 minutes, the team struggled
mightily and shot below 30 per-
cent in the second half
Harris might have had the
worst shooting night of his Michi-
gan career, going0-for-11 from the
floor and scoringjust one point the
entire game.
The lone bright spot for the
Wolverines was the performance
of Courtney Sims in the paint. The
Boston native had 29 points and
10 rebounds, scoring in a variety
of ways.
But with another road game on
the horizon (Ohio State on Feb. 6),
Michigan has some soul search-
ing to do if it wants to salvage its
"Coming off two road losses and
then coming back home when you
think you're going to have every-
thing going for you, and then we
let one go," Harris said. "It's very
hard to look at."
Notes: Senior Brent Petway
went down with a left knee injury
late in the first half, after landing
awkwardly on a block attempt.
The forward returned at the start
ofthesecond half,but left after just
three minutes. He didn't return,
but after the game said he should
be ready to go for Tuesday's game
against the Buckeyes. ... Sopho-
more Jerret Smith played 21 min-
utes after missing last weekend's
76-61 loss to Indiana. The Romu-
lus native had been suffering from
a mild concussion after a collision
with Wisconsin's Marcus Landry.


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