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November 18, 2011 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-18

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6 - Friday, November 18, 2011

The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

6 - Friday, November 18, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Wolverines' revamped special
teams not living up to standard

New coaches aid'M'
in reaching lofty goals

Daily Sports Writer
Last season, the Michigan
hockey team took to the road
for an important series against
Miami (Ohio), but it left Oxford
winless and
in a funk. The OhiO $tate
special teams
took a step at Michigan
back and the Matchup-
offense looked Ohio State
lost. 8-3-1; Michi-
When the gan 7-3-2
Wolverines got When: Friday
back to Yost 7:35 P.M.
Ice Arena,
they promptly Where: Yost
swept Ohio I
State to spark Liveblog:
a season-high michigasdaily.
eight-game cor/sports
Michigan coach Red Beren-
son can only hope that things
play out the same way this year.
Different year, same issues
for the seventh-ranked Wolver-
ines (3-3-2 CCHA, 7-3-2 overall).
"After you get swept, that's a
wake-up call," said sophomore
defenseman Mac Bennett. "You
can't go to the Frozen Four or
win a CCHA championship if
you are getting swept. It's some-
thing that is going to jump-start
this team."
No. 14 Ohio State (5-2-1, 8-3-
1) arrives with one of the best
special teams units in the con-
ference, killing a respectable
90 percent of its penalties. The
Buckeyes do not have a stand-
out offense, but their plus-nine
special teams net - first in the
CCHA - has made up for their
average scoring output.
But as usual, Berenson
doesn't spend much time wor-
rying about his opponents. His
biggest concern, especially after


Sophomore forward Mac Bennett is one of the new faces on the penalty kill this season.

Daily Sports Writer
Kellen Russell says the No. 7
Michigan wrestling team has
one thing on its mind each week-
end: to dominate its opponents.
"We are looking to improve
this weekend and continue on
our path to dominating our
opponents," the fifth-year senior
Russell said. "Hopefully every
weekend from here on out we
can continue to elevate our per-
The Wolverines made their
presence known at last week's
Michigan State Open Invitation-
al, where four wrestlers were
crowned individual champions.
Redshirt seniors Kellen Russell
and Justin Zeerip, redshirtsoph-
omore Dan Yates, and freshman
Justin Dozier all claimed the
titles for their respective weight
"We had a really good week-
end," Russell said. "It was really
good to see our guys fighting
hard in every match."
Michigan will look to con-
tinue their dominance this
weekend as they start their dual-
match season as it travels to Buf-
falo and Pittsburgh to take on
the Bulls and the Panthers.
Russell, who ended last sea-
son with a perfect 38-0 record
and a national title for the 141-
pound weight class, has begun
this season with a 5-0 record.
Even though he has the second-
longest streak of 43 consecu-
tive wins, he is still looking to
improve this season.
"There are some things I still
need to work on," Russell said."I
want to attack more on my feet
and score more points against
my opponents."
Russell was Michigan coach
Joe McFarland's fourth wrestler
so far to win an individual NCAA.

title in his 13 years of coaching at
Michigan. He has also guided
his team to three Big Ten cham-
pionship titles. Looking to add
another one to his resume this
year, McFarland has added three
new coaches to the staff: Sean
Bormet, Donny Pritzlaff and
Kyle Massey.
Bormet is a Michigan alum
who was a two time NCAA All-
American and Big Ten Con-
ference Champion during his
wrestling career (1991-94). He
brings in international experi-
ence as he was a coach for the
2008 Olympics and the last three
World Championships.
Pritzlaff adds to the interna-
tional experience of the coach-
ing staff. He won a bronze medal
at the 2006 World Champion-
ship and has spent the last five
years coaching at the University
of Wisconsin, where he helped
lead the team to a 4th place at
the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Massey also comes from Wis-
consin and will serve as the vol-
unteer coach.
"The new coaches have added
a whole new culture to the pro-
gram," Zeerip said. "They real-
ly pay attention to detail and
elevate training to a whole new
With the new additions to the
coaching staff and a strong class
of talent, the Wolverines will
look to make a statement this
year. Zeerip and Russell agree
that they would like to help the
program win a Big Ten cham-
pionship team title and send as
many team members as possible
to the NCAA Tournament.
The next step is on the road
this weekend against Buffalo
and Pittsburgh.
"We plan to wrestle hard
and dominate," Zeerip said.
"It's gonna be a battle, but we
are looking for two victories."

the past weekend, is Michigan.
"It's not just the other team,
it's our team too," Berenson
said. "We have to play better on
the special teams. Our numbers
aren't at the level we need them
to be at."
Special teams have been an
issue for the Wolverines all sea-
son, as both the penalty kill and
the power play have been incon-
The penalty kill in particular
will be vital for Michigan this
weekend because Ohio State
capitalizes on man-up opportu-
nities better than most.
A big part of the Wolverines'
inconsistency on the penalty kill
is because of the unit's inexperi-
Michigan is trying to replace
five seniors that were regular
contributors on the unit, which
isn't easy to do with eight fresh-

"We are getting better, but we
are still working guys into the
penalty kill too," Berenson said.
"We are moving guys in, but I
think we are getting better."
The other big takeaway from
last weekend was Michigan's
continued Friday night strug-
gles. The Wolverines have had
similar issues in the past, but
those problems were'due in part
to a rotating goalie situation.
This season, senior goalten-
der Shawn Hunwick has sole
possession of the job, so the
Wolverines have to look other
places to answer the Friday
night questions.
Michigan has the talent and
conditioning to run with any-
one, but sometimes the issue can
be harder to quantify.
"I think it's just being men-
tally strong," Bennett said. "It's

guys showing up being ready to
play. Our team likes to have fun,
but we also have to be serious
come game time. We have to do
that a little bit better."
Though it is only November,
this weekend's series is crucial
for the Wolverines. After earn-
ing just one point out of six last
weekend, Michigan needs to
rebound against the Buckeyes to
get back to the top of the CCHA
And they know things are not
going to get easier.
"The great thing about the
CCHA is that no matter who
you play, everyone is out to
beat Michigan," Bennett said.
"That's the beauty of Michigan,
knowing that you have to bring
your 'A' game every night."
If the pattern against the
Buckeyes repeats, Michigan has
nothing to worry about.

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