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January 23, 2012 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-23

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48 - January 23, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

GuptiL11 earns comparison Merilleads new-
NH Ler Tomas Holmstrom i look penalty killers

Daily Sports Editor
SOUTH BEND - The Michi-
gan hockey team's power play
awoke from its nearly month-
long slumber during the Wolver-
ines' series split against Notre
Dame this weekend.
It took the season's most
physical series to date, in which
the penalty boxes were rarely
unoccupied, to ignite a spark in
the unit. In fact, the man advan-
tage was so opportunistic that
Michigan coach Red Berenson
felt compelled to liken its most
lethal scoring threat, freshman
forward Alex Guptill, to Detroit
Red Wings forward Tomas Hol-
"It's good to see the power
play get some confidence and
get something going," Berenson
said. "I (said) last week we were
getting better, and I think we'll
continue to."
Last week's minor improve-
ments aside, the power-play unit
had to do something it failed to
do in the weeks since the Great
Lakes Invitational: get shots
through the first line of defense.
And when senior defenseman
Greg Pateryn wasn't in the pen-
alty box himself, he was rifling
shots from the point that slid
through untouched - by the
Fighting Irish defensemen, that
Instead, they were redirected
by Michigan forwards - usually
Guptill, who earned the glowing
comparison from Berenson on
the strength of his pair of deflec-
tion goals in the series.
"It's definitely hand-eye coor-
dination," Berenson said of Gup-
till's scoring chances near the
crease. "You see Holmstrom do
it every night. Obviously, (Gup-
till's) got a nose for the net.
Those were big goals he scored."
Guptill chuckled when told


Daily Sports Editor
SOUTH BEND - Taking six
penalties in the first period would
have resulted in a disaster for the
No. 10 Michigan hockey team
earlier in the year. The penalty-
kill unit didn't have enough depth
to withstand that many minutes
that early on - especially if two
of those penalties were taken by
senior defenseman Greg Pateryn.
But after the reinstatement of
sophomore defenseman Jon Mer-
rill three weeks ago, the penalty-
kill unit has been nothing short
of a strong suit. The Wolverines
have allowed only one power-play
goal in the six games since Merrill
returned to the team.
"It's huge to have (Merrill)
back," said senior goaltender
Shawn Hunwick. "He gives
everyone else confidence. When
he gets the puck, you know he is
going to get it out."
Michigan coach Red Berenson
said earlier in the week that one
of the main focuses for the week-
end was goingto be cutting down
on penalties. Friday night against
Notre Dame - with Michigan
spending more than half of the
first period in the penalty box
- was not what Berenson had
in mind. But in a physical, hard-
fought game, Michigan rolled
with the punches and fought off
an opening frame, something that
it wouldn't have been able to do a
month or two ago.
The difference between a cou-
ple months ago and last weekend
was Merrill, who was called the
best defenseman in the coun-
try by Ohio State coach Mark
Osiecki after the Frozen Diamond
It's hard not to notice Merrill
when he is on the ice - a 6-foot-
3 specimen who covers ground
quicker than anyone else on the
team. He is also one of Michigan's
smartest players, seeing as he is

yet to take a penalty.
There is plenty of other talent
on the penalty-kill unit, but with
Merrill, it went from average to
standout almost overnight.
Junior forward Lindsay Sparks
has been up and down more than
any Wolverine this season. He led
the team in goals in October -
but that's also the only month in
which he scored. More recently,
he has been a healthy scratch, last
playing on Dec. 9 against Michi-
gan State.
Against Notre Dame on Satur-
day, Berenson decided to mix it
up, putting Sparks in the lineup
for freshman Andrew Sinelli.
Michigan also made a change
on defense, playing freshman
Brennan Serville in place of fresh-
man Mike Chiasson.
"When your team loses a
game, you start looking around,"
said Berenson. "I think Lindsay
deserved a chance to play in a
game, and we will evaluate him as
well as Serville."
The changes came with mixed
results - Sparks picked up a
10-minute misconduct for firing a
puck at a Notre Dame player after
the whistle, a move that might
take the cake for the dumbest
plays of the year, and likely won't
help in his chase for ice time..
has been on a tear in 2012, includ-
ing a career-high 46 saves against
Ohio State on Jan. 13. The senior
goaltender has blocked 163 of the
last 170 shots sent his way over
his last five games, good for a.958
save percentage.
For context, Union goaltender
Troy Grosenick currently leads
the country with a .937 save per-
Against Notre Dame this
weekend, Hunwick allowed just
four goals on 72 shots - Michi-
gan's MVP at it again on a week-
end that Notre Dame was giving
him some extra attention.

Michigan freshman forward Alex Guptill mixes it up in front of the net against Ohio State in the Frozen Diamond Faceoff.

Berenson associated him with
one of the NHL's most ferocious
forwards around-the-net.
"That's high praise," Guptill
said, before suggesting that he
simply got "lucky" on the second
of his scrappy power-play tallies.
In the Wolverines' 3-1 loss on
Friday night, Pateryn sent one
towards the net from the top of
the circle.
Notre Dame goaltender Steven
Summerhays said he played one
of the best games of his career,
but even he couldn't catch up to
Guptill's deflection. The third-
period tally wasn't enough to
spark a Michigan comeback, but
it did mark the Wolverines' first
goal on the man advantage since
Dec. 30.
On Saturday, the power play

conjured up a veritable copy of
Friday's goal. This time, though,
Pateryn stood at the blue line,
his shot piercing the first line of
Notre Dame defense.
The result of the play was the
same - Guptill's pretty stick
work redirected Pateryn's shot
to find twine.
"Credit to Pateryn there for
shooting the puck," Guptill said.
"It kind of gets the power play
And it was only fitting that
on a weekend where power-
play scoring dominated the
Wolverine stat sheet, the game-
winning goal also came from
the man advantage. Junior for-
ward A.J. Treais received a pass
from freshman forward Phil Di
Giuseppe and skated the width of

the ice to find the perfect angle,
beating Summerhays stick-side.
It was his second goal in as many
series and gave Michigan a lead
that it would not surrender.
Impressively, the Wolverines
stole the show on the power play
over the weekend against the
CCHA's best team on the man
And by working hard around
the net, they began earning
those close-quarter goals that
weren't possible with opponents
blocking shot after shot in the
past few weeks.
Nobody is rushing to declare
the Michigan power play "back,"
but this weekend showed some
organization from the unit after
weeks of two-minute spans of

Wrestlers pull away in final two
duals against Central Michigan

, VS
Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Daily Sports Writer
Michigan wrestling continues
to build upon its nearly century-
old legacy. On the mat where they
once wrestled stood the many
generations that represent that
tradition. It was Alumni Day on
Sunday, and Cliff Keen Arena
welcomed back its former wres-
tlers with open arms.
Many left Michigan to achieve
greater things, claiming titles as
All-Americans, national champi-,
ons and Olympians. But at heart,
they will always be Wolverines
and are always humbled in their
"It takes you right back. It's
been 30 years, but it's just like
I was here yesterday," said pro-
gram alum Jeff Henry (1977-78).
Henry expressed how
impressed he was with the cur-
rent No. 10 Michigan team and
its victory over Central Michigan.
The Wolverines were forced to
rally, but came out on top, 23-14,
in their last non-conference meet
of the season.
It was an ongoing battle after
the Chippewas managed to put
the first points on the board. But
Michigan won the next three
Following a 4-2 decision in the
133-pound category, fifth-year
senior Kellen Russell gave Michi-
gan a two-point lead with his per-
formance in the 141-pound bout.
It was a rematch of the Michi-
gan State Open championship
round from earlier in the season,
and Russell's opponent - sopho-
more Scott Mattingly - was seek-
ing revenge. It was neck and neck,
and Mattingly scored a three-
point near fall on Russell.
"I made a mistake, and that
happens," Russell said. "I knew
he couldn't hang with me on my
feet. I took him down pretty eas-
Mattingly tried to take advan-
tage of Russell in the midst of a
scramble. But Russell was confi-
dent that he would take the win,
which he completed with a 12-9
Following Russell's lead was
149-pound redshirt sophomore


Fifth-year senior Kellen Russell won a rematch against CMU's Scott Mattingly.

Eric Grajales. With three take-
downs off leg attacks and a two-
point tilt, Grajales earned a 12-4
major decision.
Grajales is consistently aggres-
sive on the mat, which might stem
from his choice of music right
before a match.
"(I'm) definitely psyching
myself up," Grajales said. "It's usu-
ally metal, something very fast-
paced and hard. I'm not the kind
of person that likes to be calm or
too relaxed before a match, I want
to be amped up."
Yet even after a win, Grajales
stays in that mode. As the major-
ity of his teammates sit in silence
while watching a match, Grajales
is right alongside the coaches
and spectators, yelling with both
excitement and fury.
"I've always been a very vocal
person," Grajales said. "I want
them to do just as well as I want
myself to do. ... It's hard not to
But even with thunderous
support, the Wolverines weren't
able to maintain a lead and twice
allowed Central Michigan to tie
up the score.
It came down to the final two
Wolverines - redshirt freshman
Max Huntley at 197 pounds and

redshirt junior heavyweight Ben
Apland - who each topped their
Huntley stole the match with
four takedowns and 2:37 in rid-
ing time advantage, and Apland
clinched his win with a fall.
Coming into the meet, Apland
was ranked 14th and his Chippe-
wa opponent Peter Sturgeon 13th.
Apland gained momentum early in
the first period with a takedown
and accumulation of riding time.
At the sound of the whistle sig-
nifying the end of the second peri-
od, the referee called the fall on
Sturgeon at 5:00 flat. It was a mild
upset, but an upset nonetheless.
Had Apland lost with a deci-
sion, the meet would have ended
in a tie. Luckily for Michigan, that
was not the case.
"I felt just good," Apland said.
"I was getting a lot of attacks in
The team ended the dual on a
highhnote but now looksdahead to
finish the season the same way.
In the upcoming weeks, the
team has four Big Ten duels with
nationally ranked teams.
"Those duels are going to be a
dogfight," said Michigan coach
Joe McFarland. "We just gotta
keep doing what we do."

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