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April 07, 2011 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-07

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6A - Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Breakdown: Keys to
victory for both teams

0

FILE PHOTO/Daily
Senior forward Louie Caporusso and the rest ofnthe Michigan senior class are returning to the site ofnthe 2008 Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Wolverines ready for Frozen Four
matchup with No.1North Dakota

By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The stakes
might have been high the last
time the No. 2
Michigan hock-
ey team played North
at the Xcel Dakota vs
Energy Center
in St. Paul, but Michigan
they don't even Matchup:
come close to North Dakota
what's on the 32-8-3; Michi-
line this time gan28-10-4
around. When: Thurs-
As part of day 8:30 P.M.
the Ice Breaker Where: Xcel
Invitational, Energy Center
the Wolverines TV/Radio:
faced then-No. ESPN2
2 Boston Col-
lege in the first
game of the 2007 season. Mici-
gan defeated the Eagles 4-3 in
overtime, but the story of that
game lies in how.
Then-freshmen Carl Hagelin
and Louie Caporusso started
and finished the game on a bang
for the Wolverines. Hagelin
scored the first goal of his Mich-
igan career at Xcel during the
first period to put the Wolver-
ines up early. And his linemate,
Caporusso, scored the overtime
game-winner for Michigan.
The Wolverines know they
can't live in the past, but Hage-
lin, Caporusso and the current
Michigan seniors who started

their collegiate careers in St.
Paul won't deny the history they
have in this building.
"I wasn't feeling it as much
until I got here," Caporusso said.
"When I was walking in the
rink, I felt like it was freshman
year all over again, like when I
just started here. I think it was
the same exact walk to the dress-
ing room, I think it was the same
exact dressing room. It's kind of
cool how we've made a full circle
here. Hopefully this time we can
win both games."
Hagelin and Caporusso will
take the ice again as linemates
against North Dakota tonight,
but this time around, Michigan
comes in to the NCAA Frozen
Four as an underdog to the No. 1
team in the country.
The Fighting Sioux (21-6-1
WCHA, 32-8-3 overall) demol-
ished their NCAA regional and
regional final opponents, out-
scoring Rensselaer Polytech-
nic Institute, 6-0, and Denver,
6-1, last weekend in Green Bay,
Wisc. North Dakota was the No.
2 team overall heading into the
NCAA Tournament, and is the
only remaining No. 1 seed in the
field.
But while North Dakota
poured on the goals in Green
Bay, the Wolverines had to win
two close games in St. Louis, one
against Nebraska-Omaha and
another against Colorado Col-
lege.

Michigan beat the Mavericks
after coming back from a two-
goal deficit. Sophomore forward
Kevin Lynch scored the game-
winner in overtime, after the
referees overturned an initial
no-goal call to end the game.
Against the Tigers, the Wolver-
ines got out to an early lead but
had to tighten up their defense
in the third period when Colo-
rado College cut the lead in half.
"You're going to face adver-
sity," senior defenseman Chad
Langlais said. "You have to be
able to come back, you have to be
able to play those tight games.
That's what the playoffs are all
about. North Dakota, they've
walked all over teams. I think
it's a good thing for them, but I
think it's a great thing for us to
be able to win close games."
Michigan's tgsk defensively
will be stopping North Dakota
senior forward Matt Frattin,
who headlines an impressive
offense for the Fighting Sioux.
As a team, North Dakota has
scored 36 more goals than the
Wolverines this season. Frattin
is a Hobey Baker award finalist
and was named both WCHA and
College Hockey News Player of
the Year.
While Frattin has netted 36
goals during his senior cam-
paign - cut that in half to get
Hagelin's team-leading 18 for
the Wolverines - he's had help
along the way. His linemates,

seniors Evan Trupp and Brad
Malone, have scored 17 and 16
goals, respectively. Junior Jason
Gregiore has chipped in 25.
When the puck drops tonight,
defense will be the name of the
game for the Wolverines.
"We need to play our game,
and if we let (North Dakota)
do what they are good at, they
will do it," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "We need to stay
on the ice, be responsible with
the puck, and be ultra-responsi-
ble without the puck. If you give
this team out-numbered rushes
and power plays, they will take
you right out of the game."
Michigan knows that despite
being No. 2 in the country, it is
the underdog in this matchup.
But just as no one expected the
freshmen to make waves against
Boston College three years ago,
Caporusso and Hagelin are
happy to embrace the under-
dog role against the top-ranked
Fighting Sioux.
"On paper, they're the bet-
ter team," Caporusso said. "But
I'm not sitting here telling you
that we can't beat North Dakota.
I definitely think we can beat
North Dakota. But they're going
to be a tough match. They're the
favorite coming into this tourna-
ment and they're the best team
in this tournament. But that
doesn't mean I don't think our
team is capable of doing it. We
have a lot of confidence."

By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
As Michigan and North Dako-
ta prepare for Thursday's match-
up in St. Paul, here are the keys
to victory for both teams.
For North Dakota:
1. Get after Michigan net-
minder Shawn Hunwick early
and often
After outscoring Rensse-
laer Polytechnic Institute and
Denver 12-1 last weekend in the
NCAA Midwest regional and
regional final, North Dakota will
need to continue its offensive
outburst in St. Paul. The Fighting
Sioux are second in the nation in
team offense and are led by red-
hot scorers Matt Frattin and
Jason Gregiore, currently the
second and ninth-leading goal
scorers in the country with 36
and 25 goals, respectively.
Frattin and linemates Evan
Trupp and Brad Malone have
scored 69 goals this season and
registered 11 points just last
weekend. Hunwick has been
a solid netminder for the Wol-
verines all season but let three
goals slip by last weekend - two
against Nebraska-Omaha and
one against Colorado College'J
The senior has never played in
a Frozen Four, and the Fighting
Sioux should try to rattle him
early.
2. Keep a one-game focus
Everyone at the Frozen Four
can't stop talking about the
impressive numbers that the
Fighting Sioux boast. They rank
in the top-5 in the nation in goals
for, goals against, scoring mar-
gin and penalty kill, and their
power play sits in seventh.
They have six players with
more than 13 goals. Their net-
minder has 30 wins. In Wednes-
day's press conference, North
Dakota assured the media that it
is preparing for only Michigan,
but it's still hard to ignore the
buzz surroundingthis team. The
Fighting Sioux have brought a
business-trip attitude to St. Paul,
but they need to make sure that
they're not overlooking their
Thursday night date in favor of
the national title game.
3. Listen to coach Dave Hak-
stol
Whatever Hakstol is doing
behind the scenes and on the
bench is working well for North
Dakota. In his seventh season
at the helm, Hakstol has led the
program to five Frozen Four
appearances and has helped
North Dakota reach the NCAA
Tournament all seven seasons.
He has led the team to three

WCHA Final Five champion-
ship titles during his reign and
has one WCHA Coach of the
Year title. Hakstol has the North
Dakota program on the fast track
to being national title contend-
ers each season in an extremely
competitive conference. What-
ever his game plan for Michigan
is, it's bound tobe a good one.
For Michigan:
1. Ride whoever's got the hot
shot
As senior forward Louie Capo-
russo said Wednesday, "This
isn't a top-heavy type of team."
The Wolverines have received
production from a variety of
players this season and need to
continue to score-by-committee
to have a shot at cracking North
Dakota, which boasts the No. 3
defense in the country.
While senior forward Carl
Hagelin leads the team with 18
goals, Michigan needs to find
ways to get the puck to who-
ever's got some luck in St. Paul.
Whether it's a seeing-eye shot
from the blue line from sopho-
more defenseman Lee Moffie or
a toe-drag one-timer by senior
forward Scooter Vaughan. the
Wolverines need to utilize their
balance on all four lines to wear
down the Fighting Sioux.
2. Stay out of the penalty box
Last weekend in St. Louis,
Michigan gave opponents 13
power play opportunities.
While the Wolverines' penalties
allowed only one power play goal
allweekend,it doesn't changethe
fact that the more 5-on-5 hockey
Michigan plays on Thursday, the
better off it will be. Aside from
fatiguing critical players on the
penalty kill, spending too many
minutes in the sin bin against a
North Dakota power play (that
converts at 23 percent) won't
give Hunwick much support.
3. Feed off the seniors
Michigan's current senior
class ,started its postseason
careers as freshmen with a 4-3
overtime win against No. 2 Bos-
ton College at the Xcel Energy
Center. And while the class that
they started with has dwindled
from 12 to seven, they're going to
be ultra-amped up for this game.
As freshmen, the same class
made it to the Frozen Four,
and fell one game short of the
national championship game
after losing to Notre Dame, 5-4,
in overtime.
The current seniors are the
backbone of this team, and the
rest of the Wolverines will need
to grab some of their intensity if
they want to advance to Satur-
day's national title game.

Rust brothers look forward to potential National
Championship matchup, capping off emotional year

By STEPHENJ. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Matt Rust
and his little brother Bryan have
fought over plenty of things dur-
ing the past 18 years. But none of
them, it's safe to say, have been as
big as a national championship.
And they're just a step away
from meeting once again.
The anticipation started just
after the Michigan hockey team
punched its ticket to the Frozen
Four with a 2-1 victory over Col-
orado College.
"As soon as I found out they
won, I sent him a fast text, 'Hope
I'll see you in St. Paul,' "said
Bryan, a freshman forward for
Notre Dame.
The followingnight, the Fight-
ing Irish finished off New Hamp-
shire to capture the Northeast
Regional.
"Matt wrote back, 'Congrats,
you'll get your chance in a few
weeks, bro.'"
Both teams have a game to
win in St. Paul before the Rusts
can meet again, but Matt and
Bryan know just what this week
means to their family. The boys
are eyeing the championship
game as the perfect way to com-
plete a roller-coaster season, on
and off the ice.
The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

natives saw their lives come to brother and I, anything from
an abrupt halt when their father, the golf course to video games
Steve Rust, was diagnosed with to mini sticks when we were
prostate cancer. Matt said his younger," Matt said Wednes-
relationship with his brother is day. "It's one of the things that
on a "manly level," but admitted has brought us so close and has
that the cancer brought the Rust pushed both of us to the point
family to its knees. that we've gone."
After months of treatment, And although Michigan and
Notre Dame have already played
each other three times this sea-
"This is my son, there was a time when the
Rusts didn't know if they'd face
time, and I hope one another.
Instead, they thought they
my brother can might be playing together.
Until Bryan committed to
respect that. Notre Dame, even Michigan
coaches thought they had the
inside track on him.
"It was between Notre Dame
Steve is reportedly in remission. and Michigan the entire time,"
He spoke at the Michigan hockey Bryan said. "I knew I wanted to
team's banquet last Saturday and stay in the CCHA to be closer to
will be in attendance at the Fro- home, which is a big part of me,
zen Four. but I'd been playing on the same
"He's given my brother and I a teams as my brother, so I wanted
lot of strength, just that the guy to get out of the shadow a bit and
never complains," Matt said of forge my own path."
his father. "He loves his kids and But somehow, Bryan's path
his family more than anything in still looks a whole lot like Matt's.
the world, and I think me and my Matt came in with a freshman
brother really feed off that." class of 12. So did Bryan.
The relationship with their Matt is listed at 5-foot-10, 194
father has built Matt and Bryan lbs. Add three pounds and you
into the hockey players they are have Bryan.
today. And Matt's rookie season
"We're very competitive, my ended at the Frozen Four. Hello,

0

0

Senior forward Matt Rust will be playing in his first Frozen Four since his freshman year.

,y
..

JAKE FROMM/Daily

Fighting Irish.
But these brothers aren't quite
carbon copies. There's still a bit
of a little-brother complex.
"Every time there's a possibil-
ity of playing your older brother,
it means something, especially
playing for a national champion-
ship," Bryan said.
Matt wants to make sure his

Wolverines finish some business
left undone after Michigan's loss
to Notre Dame in the 2008 Fro-
zen Four.
"At the end of the day, I'm
going to take my time here to
be a little selfish," Matt said
with a laugh. "I think this is my
time, and I hope my brother can
respect that."

Plus, it sounds like he also has
a little unfinished business with
his brother.
"I saw (Bryan) during the pre-
game skate firing slap shots at
the Michigan sign," Matt said
Wednesday. "It's in good fun,
and he's definitely going to get it
back either on the ice or the golf
course this year."

A

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