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November 12, 2008 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-12

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 -10A




The Michigan hockey team's
offense has surprisingly been
its strength. Sophomores Aaron
Palushaj and Louie Caporusso
have stepped it up this season
along with the rest of the Wol-
verines to create two dynamic
scoring lines. Caporusso leads
the team with nine goals and has
been boosted by the addition of
Palushaj to his line two weeks
While the Wolverines have
scored timely goals, most recent-
ly this Saturday against Alaska,
the offense has been nonexistent
in key games. Twice this season
against ranked teams, Northern
Michigan and Boston University,

Michigan didn't score any mean-
ingful goals. The Wolverines lost
7-2 to BU and were shutout in
their first game against the Wild-
cats. Michigan will need to score
in big games if it wants to make it
deep into the postseason. Games
against Miami, Michigan State
and Notre Dame later this season
will be key tests for the offense.

Michigan's extra-man attack
is starting to show improvement,
scoring on five of its last 19 chanc-
es. The Wolverines are sixth in the
CCHA with a 14.7-percent con-
version rate. That number should
gradually improve throughout the
season, largely because Palushaj
and Caporusso are playing like the
coaching staff hoped they would.
The two had combined for seven
of Michigan's 10 power-play goals
this season. Caporusso seems to
be scoring from every angle and
Palushaj has been routinely feeding
teammates through traffic to create
One concern is the status of
Michigan's penalty kill. Alaska

power-playgoalsin 52 chances.The
Nanooks netted two more during
Michigan's Saturday night win.
The Wolverines' penalty kill has
now surrendered 12 goals. Michi-
gan has killed just 77.4-percent of
its penalties, which is next-to-last
in the CCHA. But the stat is a little
deceiving because Boston scored
five of those 12 power-play goals on

Sophomore center Louie Caporuso


Sophomore forward Aaron Palushaj

Entering the season, there was
little doubt Michigan's defense
would be one of its strongest and
deepestunits. But after two expe-
rienced blue-liners, senior Mark
Mitera and junior Steve Kamp-
fer, were lost for most of the year
with injuries, the unit couldn't
have looked more depleted. As
a result, sophomores Scooter
Vaughan and Tristin Llewellyn,
who weren't even dressing for
every game at this point last year,
have started at times. The two
have played well in the their new
roles, and each has double-digit
blocked shots.
Sophomore Chad Langlais has
also kept up his strong play from


last season, accumulating a plus-
seven rating, second best on the'
team. And with freshman Bran-
don Burlon finally back from an
ankle injury, some much-needed
depth returned to the lineup. But
the unit still has a lot of room for
improvement. Overall, the Wol-
verines have done a solid job com-
pensating for the loss of Mitera
and Kampfer.

The net was up for grabs heading
into the season. Question marks fol-
lowed senior Billy Sauer's meltdown
against Notre Dame in last year's
FrozenFour. Uncertaintysurround-
ed sophomore Bryan Hogan, who
played in just six games last year.
Ten games into this season, after
five starts for each goalie, the ques-
who can handle the pressure - it's
about who has the slight edge. With
the exception of Michigan's blowout
loss at BU, both goalies have proven
they can keep the Wolverines in the
game. Each boasts a save percentage
of just more than .890.
On a series-by-series scale, the
two netminders have performed

pretty evenly. Each has made some
highlight-reel-worthy saves. Michi-
gan has given up 28 goals, some have
been fluke goals, including weird
bounces off skates, but Hogan and
Sauer have allowed a worrisome
amount of easy rebound goals.
Wins and losses depend on offen-
sive production and smothering
defense, too, but at the end of the
day, Sauer is 2-3-0 and Hogan is

Sophomore Scooter Vaughan

Sophomore goaltender Bryan Hogan


.. ........ - -,"' , I I

Mitera sidelined for three to six months

Daily Sports Writer
Senior captain defensemen Mark Mitera will
be out three to six months
° after undergoing knee surgery
last Thursday, Michigan hock-
ey coach Red Berenson said
Mitera injured- his knee "
colliding with a St. Lawrence
player late in the first period of
Michigan's season opener. MITERA
"Mitera had his surgery
on Thursday and everything,
we're told, went as expected," Berenson said.'

"He'll be slowly rehabbing. There'll be a lot of
intangibles. One of them is his knee and how it
heals. And another is his work ethic and the
Berenson said he's optimistic because Mitera
is young and has not sustained a similar injury
Mitera was a shutdown defenseman last sea-
son for the Wolverines, recording a plus-30 rating
and 23 points. He and junior Steve Kampfer were
expected to anchor a strong defensive corps, but
both have suffered serious injuries.
Kampfer, who was injured in an off-ice alter-
cation, will see the doctor next week when his
status will be re-evaluated. He is currently wear-'
ing a neck brace.

From Page 1A
"I just knew I was going to
devote this meet to him," he said.
"To swim my races for my dad is
the greatest honor I can give him.
Some people in Israel would really
question what kind of people we
are becoming where sport is more
important than religion,,but anyone
who knew my dad would know that
I made the obvious decision and the
right one. I haven't regretted it for
a minute."
Just five days after his father's
death, Mandel swamhis first Olym-
pic event, the 200-meter butterfly.
The pain was difficult to deal with
at first, he said, but became easier
every day. But not only was Mandel
concerned with managing his own
emotions, he was also aware of his
impact on his teammates' mindset.
"The hardest part is to isolate
yourself from everything in the
pool," he said. "When I thought
about it, my goggles were wet from
the inside, and not from the water.
Forty-eight hours before I swam, I
began to be completely isolated so
that when I got to the pool, I could
just focus on my race and my tech-
nique. But it was also important
for me to not be miserable outside
the pool because by doing that, you
negatively affect your teammates."
Mandel was especially appre-
ciative of the support he received
from Club Wolverine teammates
Eric Vendt and Peter Vanderkaay
and former Michigan coach Jon
Urbanchek. Just six hours after
hearing Mandel's father had died,
Urbanchek spoke with Mandel at a
flag raising ceremony in the Olym-
pic Village.
"I got a lot of support from Jon
and I admire him for being such a
good swim coach and acaring per-
son," he said. "When he talked to
me, it was kind of a fatherly conver-
sation. All the support reminded
me that I'm here and rightnow, I've
got to get the job done and feel bad
Just beingin Beijing was a dream
come true for Mandel, whose life-

long goal had been to swim at the
In 2003, when Mandel walked
into Canham Natatorium for the
first time, he carried a purple key-
chain on his backpack that he had
made in 2001 engraved with his
name and "08.08.08," the date of
the opening ceremonies of the Bei-
jing Olympic Games.
As he walked through the hall-'
way decorated with the swim caps
-of former Michigan Olympians
from around the world, he noticed
there was one country that was
unrepresented: Israel.
"When I stepped into the pool
and saw the Hall of Fame and allthe
caps, I knew right away I wanted to
put the Israeli cap up there, and its
been my goal since then," he said.
Because Israel is a small country
it does not have its own Olympic tri-
als qualifying meet like in the Unit-
ed States. To qualify for the Israeli
Olympic team a swimmer had to
finish in the top 12 of an event at the
European Swimming Champion-
shipsinthe NetherlandslastMarch.
Mandel finished in 13th place in the
200-meter butterfly. He not only
set an Israeli national record, but he
also became the first Israeli swim-
mer ever to swim the 200-meter
butterfly in under two minutes.
But he was still 0.02 seconds
away from qualifying for the Olym-
When Greek swimmer Ioan-
nis Drymonakos was disqualified,
Mandel didn't have an automatic
ticket to Beijing. It would take two
months of fighting against what
Mandel called the "international
bureaucracy" to secure his spot on
the Israeli team.
"In an Olympic year, the Greek
Federation would not want a doped
swimmer under their name, so they
tried to cover it up," he said. "My
dad and my mom worked day and
night to pull some strings. They got
some help from the president of the
World Swimming Federation and
some very kind people and eventu-
ally, it worked. But they didn't just
sit at home and wait for it to come."
In the meantime, Mandel flew
to Spain, where he spent two and a
half weeks at a training camp with

the Israeli Olympic team. While
he was there, Mandel learned Dry-
monakos was denied an appeal and
would not be allowed to compete.
Mandel would be going to Beijing.
Mandel's ability to stay focused
on his races certainly paid off. He
improved his time in the 100- and
200-meter butterfly events and set
an Israeli national record in both.
Although he swam with a heavy
heart, he touched the wall with a
proud sense of accomplishment for
achieving his lifelong goal.
Back at home, Mandel's personal
tragedy had instantly captured the
interest of many people who heard
his story. Mandel'smother stayed at
home during the Olympics and was
surprised at the amount of atten-
tion her son received.
"He became a hero in Israel,"
she said. "You cannot even imagine
how many stories were in the news-
papers, on the Internet and on TV.
When Alon was swimming around I
noon in Israel, everyone dropped
what they were doing to find a TV
and see how he was doing. All of
Israel was behind him."
After his final races were over in
China, Mandel returned to Israel to
attend his father's funeral. Ten days
later, just two days after his 20th
birthday, he was on another plane.
This time he was heading back to
Ann Arbor to begin a new school
year and collegiate swim season.
Walking across campus this fall,
Mandel still carries the same pur-
ple key chain he made over seven
years ago. The Olympic games are
over, but the key chain is now a
reminderofthe hardworkandded-
ication that helped him achieve his
goal. This season, he hopes to win
an individual event at the Big Ten
Championships. His goal for the
London games in 2012 is to finish in
the top eight.
"I don't think after this experi-
ence, I will ever experience such
a hard thing," he said. "I said the
same thing after the crazy March
I had with three swim meets. But
now that I've had this bigger thing
happen, I believe each one of us can
always have the energy to do our
best, but we just have to believe in

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