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October 25, 2007 - Image 16

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-10-25

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2C Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Thursday, October 25, 2007h y dy
The Michigae Daily - michigandailycom I~

2007-08 SCHEDULE
LDate Oyyoneet Time Date Oyyonent Time
10/12 Boston College 4:30 1/25 Michigan State 7:35
10/13 Minnesota 7:30 1/26 Michigan State 7:35
10/19 Northern Michigan 7:35 2/1 Northern Michigan 7:35
10/20 Northern Michigan 7:35 2/2 Northern Michigan 7:35
10/26 Boston University* 8:05 2/8 Miami (Ohio) 7:35
10/27 Boston University 8:35 2/9 Miami (Ohio) 7:35
11/2 Nebraska-Omaha 7:05 2/15 LakeSuperiorSt. 8:05

Spartans boast veteran talent, title hopes

11/3 Nebraska-Omaha
11/9 Alaska
11/10 Alaska
11/16 Lake Superior State
11/17 Lake Superior State
11/23 Wisconsin
11/24 Minnesota

7:05 2/16

Lake Superior St.

7:35
7:35
7:35 -
7:05
7:35
7:35

2/22
2/23
2/29
3/1

Michigan State
Michigan State
Ferris State
Ferris State
* Home games in bold

7:35
8:05
7:35
7:35
7:05

Who will contend for the CCHA's top spot? Who will sink to
the bottom? Read our conference preview.
IIIII of11tillll11111111111Ii11111....II.in iIIII1111111111, 11.1iiI. i1i. fiI, il.I................ . i ( ~ II.. ...... IIIIIIIIIIIIII I,. IIIIIIIIIIII lllllllll .... ,
Will the Wolverines make it back to the Frozen Four for the-
first time since 2003? Check out Staff Picks.

11/30 Ohio State 7:35 Playoffs
12/1 Ohio State 7:35 CCHA Tournament
12/7 Bowling Green 7:05 3/7-3/9 CCHA 1st Round TBA
12/8 Bowling Green 7:35 3/14-3/16 CCHA 2nd Round TBA
12/29 Providence 4:30 3/21 CCHA Semifinals TBA
12/30 MSU/Michigan Tech TA 3/22 CCHA Final TBA
1/8 U.S. NTDP U-18 (ex) 7:35

PETER SCHOTTENFEL:
Chad Kolarik is one of just two
seniors on this year's Michigan
hockey team.

1/11 Western Michigan 7:35
1/12 Western Michigan 7:35

NCAA Tournament
3/28- NCAA Regionals TBA

1/18 NotreDame 8:05 4/10 NCAAFrozen Four TBA
1/19 Notre Dame 7:05 4/12 NCAA Championship TAB
THE DAILY HOCKEY WRITERS LIVE
BLOG EVERY MICHIGAN GAME.
MICHIGANDAILY.COM/THEGAME

Michigan State
It didn't take long for the 2007
NCAA Champions to prove it
might not be the best in the nation
this year. In Michigan State's
season opener, North Dakota
administered a 6-0 thrashing to
eliminate any Spartan hopes of
coasting through the season en
route to a repeat.
But Michigan State will sur-
pass last year's fourth-place fin-
ish in the CCHA on the strength
of their returning talent. Junior
goalie and CCHA Player of the,
Year Jeff Lerg returns between
the pipes after boasting a .913 save
percentage last season, including
a top-five-in-NCAA-history .949
save percentage in the 2007 NCAA
Tournament. Senior captain and
top goal scorer Bryan Lerg, junior
Justin Abdelkader and junior Tim.
Kennedy will provide comparable
or a better-than-last-year offen-
sive force for the Spartans.
Their weakness is on defense.
Michigan State lost four defense-
men from lastyear's championship
roster, and having inexperienced
defensemen, even in front of an
all-star goalie,, may explain this
season's rough start.
Miami
These guys are good. Like
we-just-built-a-new-arena-
that's-just-missing-a-National-
Championship-banner good.
Last season - their first in the
Steve Cady Arena - the Redhawks
registered their first NCAA Tour-
nament game victory in program
history. Now, Miami is No. 2 and
widely considered a contender to
win a National Championship.
That's no surprise when you real-
ize the Redhawks are averaging
more than four goals a game and
goalie Jeff Zatkoff has let just four
pucks get past him in five games.
Seniors Nathan Davis and Ryan
Jones will continue to provide
Miami's offensive firepower.
And it's not just us - the coaches
know Miami has a shot, too. They
predicted Miami to finish first in
the CCHA.
Notre Dame
Can lightning strike twice?
The Fighting Irish certainly
hope so.
Led by senior goalie David
Brown, Notre Dame won its first
CCHA regular-season and play-
off championships seemingly out
of nowhere last year. With key
offensive players returning, such

PHOTO CO
Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg led the Spartans' surprise run to the National Championship last April. He returns as one of the conference's top goaltenders.

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as Erik Condra, Kevin Deeth and
Ryan Thang, the Fighting Irish
will remain in the top tier of the
conference.
But Brown's absence will make a
title repeat difficult. After all, the
2007 CCHA Player of the Year left
some pretty big pads to fill after
posting a .931 save percentage and
a 1.58 average goals against last
season. Junior Jordan Pearce has
taken over the starting role during
Notre Dame's 2-2 start.
If Pearce can become a suitable
replacement in goal, the Fighting
Irish could be an even more dan-
gerous team than expected.
Ohio State
Ohio State hasn't lived up to
expectations the past two seasons.
But will Michigan fans get to revel
in the Buckeyes' misery for a third
straight year?
Before the season's start, many
thought Ohio State would be a
surprise team. And with a tough
early-season schedule (Miami and
Minnesota in consecutive week-
ends), prognosticators will have an
early idea on where the Buckeyes
stand.
Ohio State has surrendered 10
goals in two games to Miami, but
the early test may help the team
develop - or lose confidence if the
slide continues against the Golden

Gophers.
Western Michigan
Last year, the Broncos surged in
the second half, winning 10 of their
last 14 games - and then a first-
round fold to Alaska in the CCHA
playoffs reasserted their status as a
perennially mediocre team.
After losing its two highest-
scoring forwards, Western Michi-
gan will look to some new players
to make a statement. Freshman
Max Campbell, a fifth-round draft
pick of the New York Rangers, has
stood out with three points in two
games. Sophomore Riley Gill has
saved 51 of 54 shots so far this sea-
son, and junior Jeff LoVecchio is
the Broncos' top returning starter
after finishing with 35 points in
37 games last year. If the Broncos
can forget about last season's play-
offs and continue the hard-nosed
play that helped them finish strong
last year, they could surprise the
CCHA.
Nebraska-Omaha
The Mavericks lost a lot of
artillery from last season. Hobey
Baker Award finalist Scott Parse,
Alex Nikiforuk and Dan Knapp
have moved on to the professional
ranks.
Nebraska-Omaha has some
experience at forward, but the ros-

ter features four freshmen defen-
semen who will have to adjust to
the college game.
A bright spot for the Mavericks
should be goaltending. Sophomore
Jeremie Dupont is talented enough
to keep his team in a lot of games,
especially with the help of the
home crowd at the Qwest Center.
Northern Michigan
'One thing Michigan and North-
ern Michigan have in common
is youth - the Wildcats have 17
freshmen and sophomores on their
roster.
But in last weekend's battle of
inexperienced players, Michigan's
freshmen were faster and stronger.
Northern Michigan junior Nick
Sirota was the Wildcats' biggest
standout, tallying three points in
two games, but he scored just 10
goals last season and will need to
become more of a scoring threat
for Northern Michigan to contend
in the CCHA.
Another question mark for,
the Wildcats is in net. With two
sophomore goalies, Brian Stewart
and Derek Janzen, the starting
position could be undecided well
into the season - both played one
game against Michigan this week-
end, though Janzen was pulled
for Stewart in the third period of
the second game. The rebuilding

process will most likely keep the
Wildcats near the bottom of the
conference.
Lake Superior State
Lake Superior State had one of
the best goalies in the NCAA last
season in Jeff Jakaitis. The key
word there is "had." Between the
pipes is not the only place where
the Lakers lack experience. Just
one scholarship senior will don the
Lake Superior State sweater this
year, and the Lakers have already
felt the absence of experience. Ear-
lier this season, they tied Western
Ontario, 3-3, in what was supposed
to be a warm-up exhibition game.
The young Lakers will have to
grow up quickly if they wish to be
competitive in the CCHA, espe-
cially considering both Michigan
and Michigan State are in their
cluster.
Bowling Green
Where to begin with the Fal-
cons? Ah, yes, at the bottom of
the CCHA - exactly where they
ended last season. Bowling Greets
was last in goals scored per game,
goals allowed per game, power-
play conversion and penalty kill-
ing in conference play last season.
It doesn't look to be much better
this year, especially after losing
See CCHA, Page SC

CAFE HABANA HAPPY HOUR & LATE NIGHTI
MI DAILY, 1 AND 25 ISSUE B/w 5.6875X6 CINCHES DUE TO PU 10-12-07

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