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December 07, 2011 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-12-07

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6A - Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


6A - Wednesday, December 7, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Freshmen pace Blue

Daily Sports Writer
If you told Michigan coach
Red Berenson that two fresh-
men would lead his team in goals
through the first two months of
the season, he likely would have
given you the patented Berenson
grin and perhaps even a little
After all, senior captains David
Wohlberg and Luke Glendening,
as well junior forwards Chris
Brown and A.J. Treais, were sup-
posed to do the bulk of the scor-
ing - especially with a third of
the roster experiencing its first
season of college hockey.
At first, Lindsay Sparks looked
like he was going to be a major
offensive weapon for the young
Wolverines. The junior forward
led the team with five goals in
the team's first six games, but he
hasn't scored since Oct. 27.
Wohlberg has picked it up
recently, scoring two goals in the
last three games, but that was
preceded by a seven-game point-
less streak.
Glendening's forte has never
been goal scoring - he's much
more of a two-way player. Still,
his goal production leaves some-
thing to be desired. Besides a
hat trick against St. Lawrence,
he has scored just two goals and
has recorded only one point since
Oct. 22.
The offense has stayed afloat
because of the kids.
Freshman forwards Phil Di
Giuseppe and Alex Guptill are
tied for the lead the team in
goals with eight apiece, and Di
Giuseppe is tied for the team lead
in points scored with 14.
"It's great freshmen can come
in like this and make this tran-
sition and be productive," said
Berenson. "But you never know
who is going to step up."
Before the season started,
Berenson speculated that Di
Giuseppe and forward Zach
Hyman would be the two fresh-

Douglass, Vogrich still have
green light despite struggles

Freshman Phil Di Giuseppe is tied for the team lead with eight goals.
men to step up in the early stages score. Anything we can do to
of their Michigan careers. contribute to the team, and right
Hyman started slowly, but now, that's scoring."
Berenson still thinks the former Last Saturday against Alaska-
Canadian Junior Hockey Player Fairbanks, he took the puck off
of the Year will have an impact. a strange ricochet from the skate
Berenson may have guessed of a Nanook defender and scored
wrong about Hyman, but he was the winning goal, snapping the
spot on about Di Giuseppe. Wolverines' seven-game winless
The Canadian-born Italian has streak.
played like a veteran from the Gritty plays like that are now
onset, playing on the Wolverines' expected, as Guptill has found
only reliable goal-scoring line most of his success by placing
with Brown and Treais. himself in front of the net and
Watch him on the ice, and you capitalizing on whatever comes
almost forget he's 18 years old. his way.,
The freshman that no one saw "It's a little bit of luck but its
coming is Guptill, who landed also being surrounded by great
in Ann Arbor without Berenson players," Guptill said. "They are
knowing much about him. 'Two setting us up and making us look.
years ago, Guptill broke a collar- good. It's easy for us to put the
bone playing junior hockey, and. purck in the net."
he broke the other one the year Guptill will be the only fresh-
after. man phenom with an oppor-
"Guptill had an outside chance tunity to pad his goal total on
of coming in, but if we were going Saturday. Di Giuseppe will play
to rank him I wouldn't have had on Friday and then leave for
him near the top," Berenson said. Alberta, Canada, for the Cana-
Added Guptill: "I think (Di dian World Junior team tryouts
Giuseppe and I) both worked on Saturday.
hard enough to try to put our- Who would have ever guessed
selves in this position, but you that the absence of a freshman
't gnmiqg ias,freshman iwDe i b4 Wpb uld il ssb a big
expecting to try and jump in and deal?

Daily Sports Writer
The 3-point shot is the bread
and butter of Michigan coach
John Beilein's offense.
So when senior guard Stu
Douglass and junior guard Matt
Vogrich, both prolific shooters,
committed to the Wolverines out
of high school, both were expect-
ed to complement Beilein's sys-
tem like butter on bread
Douglass, a two-star recruit on
Scout.com, was one of Beilein's
first two signees, joining for-
mer center and current student
assistant Ben Cronin. Though
his overall talent was considered
subpar, he shot 45 percent from
3-point range in high school.
"Two really important areas
that we needed were a young
man who could shoot the ball
and someone who could really
rebound the ball and pass it from
the center position," Beitein said
in 2008 when the pair signed
their letters of intent. "Ben and
Stu fit those needs."
Vogrich was also an unher-
alded recruit until the summer
before his senior year, when his
shooting in AAU tournaments
caught the. eyes of coaches and
scouts, eventually propelling him
to four-star status.
His Scout.com recruiting pro-
file listed his strengths as "3-point,
range" and "perimeter shot," and
his weaknesses were "ball han-
dling" and "strength." Questions
surrounding Vogrich's athleti-
cism still remain, making him a
liability as a defender as well.
While Vogrich and Douglass's
styles of play aren't identical -
Douglass, unlike Vogrich, has
the capability to play point guard
and is better defensively - their
roles are essentially limited to
Stig.mot he ree So
what happens when the shoot-

ers are having trouble shooting?
This season, Douglass is shoot-
ing a meager 27.8 percent from
long range. But even that doesn't
sound too bad compared to
Vogrich's paltry 8.3 percent. His
lone 3-pointer came 11 minutes
into Michigan's third game of the
season. He's made just two bas-
kets since, and his minutes have
Beilein sounds puzzled as he
tries to explain why two sharp
shooters can't find the bottom of
the net from beyond the arc.
"There's not much you can do,"
Beilein said after Saturday's win
oyer towaState. "They're either
hurrying or pressing. I've been
there before, I've watched it with
iy own son.'
But the coach, who has seen
manytalentedshootersgo though
slumps, emphasized that his con-
fidence hasn't waivered with
regards to their shot selection.'
"For their own attitudes, I
want them to just know that they
still have the green light when
they're open because that's the
type of shooters that they are,"
Beilein said.
Mechanics aren't an issue.
Both possess pure shots that
leaves fans wondering how they
ever miss - somethingthey rare-
ly do in pregame shootarounds.
Freshman guard Trey Burke
had the same thing to say about
the pair in practice.
"Practice is night and day
(compared to games)," Burke
said. "They hit (their 3-pointers)
in practice."
Just three weeks ago, Michi-
gan's storyline surrounded a
point guard controversy between
Douglass and Burke.
But since Burke took over the
starting role in the second game
of the season, he's averaging nine
gor us per thy;4he
veteran. Douglass played just 16

minutes against the Cyclones
- the second-lowest total since
January of his freshman year, and
lowest since last year's season-
opening 31-point win over USC
But the matchup with Iowa
State was significantly more com-
petitive than the blowout over
the Spartans, showing Douglass's
minutes have truly taken a hit.
Beilein even suggested that junior
guard Eso Akunne, who played 12
minutes on Saturday, may contin-
ue to see a rise in his minutes. The
former walk-on hasn't missed a
3-pointer yet this season, and has
made a shot from deep in three of
the past four games.
Douglass is a senior who has
shown he can overcome adver-
sity - remember, he wasn't sup-
posed to be talented enough to
play, let alone start, on a Big Ten
roster. The Carmel, Ind. product
has gone through ups and downs
throughout his career and has an
established mental toughness.
But the more inexperienced
Vogrich hasn't yet shown he
can overcome adversity. In fact,
Burke said his teammate's confi-
dence maybe waning.
As the two shooters continue
to struggle, it's up to the team's
leaders to keep their confidence
high. Beilein's support came as
no surprise, but Burke is already
demonstrating that he can utilize
his newfound role as the "quar-
terback" of the team, as Beilein
likes to say - proving thathis play
on the court isn't the only attri-
bute that seems beyond his years.
"(Vogrich) misses some shots
and he kind of gets down on him-
self," Burke said. "I think it's just
a comfort level (issue). ... On the
break when he's wide open, you
just know it'sgoing in but it might
go in and go out.
";ust tell him, 'Keep shooting,
keep shooting."'



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