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October 22, 2009 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-22

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8C Faeoff- Ocober22, 0

From page 4C
Michigan's starting goalten-
After surrendering seven
goals to North Dakota in the
first round of the 2007 NCAA
Tournament, Sauer allowed
three goals in the first period of
Michigan's Frozen Four game
against Notre Dame. Berenson
pulled Sauer after the terrible
first period. Hogan, a fresh-
man at the time, took his place
between the pipes in the do-
or-die playoff game, allowing
only one goal in overtime and
one in regulation, but it wasn't
enough. Sauer's poor perfor-
mance doomed the Wolverines
with a 5-4 overtime loss.
"The reason (the goalie bat-
tle) came about was because
Billy Sauer's playoff record
was really not that strong in
his first year or two," Berenson
said. "For our team to be the
team we want, we're going to
have to have more competitive
The two had very little in
common as goalies. Blackburn,
now Michigan's goalie coach,
describes Sauer as "laid back"
both off the ice and on. But
his playoff collapses showed
that Sauer was more prone to
hot and cold performances.

Conversely, Hogan was even-
keeled between the pipes, sus-
taining focus through most
games, despite his hot-headed
practice demeanor.
Hogan maintains that the
two had a healthy position bat-
tle, but he'll be the first to say
that the two weren't the best
of friends.
"It is like every other goal-
ie competition," Hogan said.
"You're both fighting for a
position, but you don't want to
get too close."
According to Hogan, the
competition strengthened his
game mentally and improved
his focus on the ice.
And on a team like Michi-
gan, a goaltender's focus often
becomes the deciding factor in
close games.
Michigan's defense shut
down the Falcons' offense in
the Wolverines' first-round
NCAA Tournament loss last
season. But the two goals that
slipped past Hogan came on
great scoring opportunities
after he had stood in net for
several minutes straight with-
out seeing any action.
Such a shot imbalance forc-
es goaltenders to be on their
toes at all times, which takes a
great deal of concentration for
any college-level netminder.
"The type of game that
Michigan plays is a mental

challenge for any of the goal-
ies that play here," said Scar-
pace, who is now the team's
video coordinator. "It's not
like you're getting a lot of shots
every night. You're getting
underworked, so it's a men-
tal challenge to stay in games
and make the saves you have to
make. You have to be ready to
make a difference. "
And after going with a two-
goalie system for much of the
first half of last season, Beren-
son decided to start the goal-
tender he felt would deal best
with that mental challenge.
Blackburn says it was only
so long before Berenson made
it clear that the Wolverines
would be a one-goalie team.
"It was two guys fight-
ing for a No. 1 spot to play all
the games," Blackburn said.
"Sooner or later, we were going
to choose one guy ... Every
time Hogie touched the ice, he
won. And when Billy played,
we didn't win. Just wins made
the decision for us."
So Hogan took to the ice
with the tentative No. 1 tag
and Sauer still pushing the
sophomore for playing time.
With the slightest mistake and
Hogan knew that his starting
job between the pipes could be
taken away.
"Every game, I was look-
ing over my shoulder," Hogan
said. "There was even
games when I didn't
let many goals in and
we weren't playing the
best team, but I may
not have played well.
I'm always second
guessing myself, but
I think that's good. It
keeps me always on my
Thisyear,with Sauer
graduated, Hogan
s is the clear starter
between the pipes for
the Wolverines.
S His teammates, as
z well as Berenson, con-
3 tend that Hunwick
z continues to push
Hogan on a daily basis.
But with just six min-
o utes in relief against
n Nebraska-Omaha in
the 2007-08 season,
Hunwick won't force
Hogan to look over his
shoulder after every

mistake. season valor, however, lay
That kind of confidence, strictly between the pipes at
according to Blackburn, can the Bridgeport Arena last year,
make a noticeable difference where he allowed the game's
in a goaltender's performance, only two goals.
especially with Michigan's The netminder's early strug-
high-pressure style. It's some- gles are of little concern to the
thing Blackburn can relate to Wolverines' coaches, however,
from his own experience in net who admit the transformation
for the Wolverines. from last year to this year is
"The pressure is always staggering. And the fact that
there, but there's less pres- Hogan had to earn his spot as
sure," he said. "You know the starting goalie last year, and
you're the guy, you know you're several times before, proves
going to play, and you know even further that he's more
that if you have a bad game you than capable of shouldering the
can go in and make up for it the load of a postseason run. With
next night." no prior experience, Hogan
Berenson and the rest of the came in against Notre Dame in
Wolverines will tell you that 2007 and kept the Wolverines
Hogan's biggest change this in it before their comeback bid
season is his confidence in the ended in overtime.
net, a direct byproduct of his "Bryan had to work and bide
battle with Sauer. But Beren- his time to be the man here,"
son isn't surprised by the net- Scarpace said. "The goalie I see
minder's newfound poise. out there now is a kid that is
Despite the loss in last year's focused and ready just as Turco,
NCAA Tournament, the long- Blackburn and (former Wolver-
time coach affirms that Hogan ine Steve) Shields were."
has the ability to win in high- And he'll have to be focused
pressure situations and most if Michigan is meant to over-
importantly in the postseason. come its perennial postseason
He saw it when Hogan played . goalie collapse.
junior hockey, and he saw it Hogan says his father, Jim,
when Hogan took the ice as a used to always poke fun at him
freshman against Notre Dame, for "coming through the back-
despite the losing effort. door" everywhere he went.
"He showed he could play in With the Lincoln Stars,
a game where he had to make Hogan unseated entrenched
the difference," Berenson said. starter Steve Jakiel, and again
"He's showed me that, and I with the Wolverines last year,
just thought that he reminded Hogan came through "the back-
me of Turco." door" to win the starting job.
"It's been like that my whole
BACK DOOR MENTALITY life," Hogan said. "And it's
To Berenson, it's clear that going to be like that wherever
the two National Champion- you go."
shipsthat Turco helped attain in That underdog mindset and
his four years at Michigan mean mental toughness distinguish-
more than any All-America dis- es him from any of the goalies
tinction or school records. Michigan has had in the past
Turco was immune to a 20 years, including Turco, all
postseason goalie collapse, of whom were nearly undis-
taking the Wolverines to the puted starters.
Frozen Four every year he Hogan may only have a few
donned the maize and blue. games of postseason experi-
And although Berenson is a ence, but a lifetime of being
bit hesitant to make the com- the underdog and an unrivaled
parison, Turco and Hogan intensity at the position could
play a similar game, especially be enough to distinguish him
in their abilities to handle the with the likes of Turco.
puck and help the defense. "Here's a player that hasn't
With the game on the line been drafted, and he doesn't
in the 1998 National Champi- have the hoopla or the atten-
onship, Turco preserved his tion that drafted players get,"
reputation as a clutch net- Berenson said. "He's going to
minder once again. Hogan's surprise a lot of people, and he
only true assessment-of post- probably already has."

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