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February 13, 2012 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-13

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The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com I February 13,2012
:2 :3 (OT)
Michigan State: 3 ] Y1 j. J7 P Michigan State: 2

Lynch avoids benching, Wolverines salvage
. stars as overtime hero split with OT thriller

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Editor
DETROIT - The man who
almostgot benched in overtime
shook off missing the goal he
should have scored, collected
the puck that never should have
reached him, and shot it into
the Spartan goal for the game
winner. Michigan 3, Michigan
State 2.
Kevin Lynch might have
played just five seconds of good
hockey on Saturday, but he did
it in the final five seconds, and
that's what matters.
But the junior forward
almost didn't get the chance.
"I can tell you, there were
times in the third period I
thought about not putting
him out in the overtime," said
Michigan coach Red Beren-
son. "That line got caught in
W their own zone and they got in
trouble. And I thought, I don't
know if I can trust them in the
overtime.
"I know that Kevin's had
a good record against Michi-

gan State. I know he's had a
good record at Joe Louis. They
got one shift in overtime, and
bingo. So you never know."
Here's how Lynch's roller-
coaster weekend went:
On Friday, he scored a goal
in Michigan's losing effort in
East Lansing, his first since the
finals of the Great Lakes Invi-
tational in December. Against
Michigan State. Before that,
Lynch hadn't scored since Dec.
9. Against Michigan State.
Notice a pattern? Four of
Lynch's six goals this season
have come against the Spar-
tans. The other two also came
against in-state teams: Western
Michigan and Northern Michi-
gan.
Call it the Kevin Lynch State
Stimulus Package.
"I've been fortunate to get
points when I play (Michigan
State)," said Lynch, a native of
Grosse Pointe, Mich. "It's just
that rivalry thatgets me going."
On Saturday, Lynch slashed
his finger open in warm-ups
while trying to clear snow off

his skates. The night got pro-
gressively worse from there.
Turnovers, poor defense and
an inability to get the puck out
of Michigan's zone plagued
Lynch's line in regulation.
The line, completed by soph-
omore forward Derek DeBlois
and the other Lynch - Travis,
a freshman forward --typically
creates few goal-scoringchanc-
es but plays a scrappy defensive
style. Saturday's game was
uncharacteristically sloppy,
and Berenson nearly sidelined
them for the overtime period.
Only Kevin Lynch's track
record stopped him.
Lynch's history in clutch
situations belies his role on
the team. He was expected to
be a scorer when he arrived at
Michigan, but has struggled to
consistently findthe back of the
net. Berenson said he has kept
his spot in the lineup because
he is a hard worker who,
because of his defensive effort,
remains a plus player.
"He knows it hasn't been the
See LYNCH, Page 3B

By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Writer
DETROIT - There had to be
a sense of deja vu for the No. 4
Michigan hockey team.
Overtime against Michigan
State in Joe Louis Arena? Check.
Goal by a relatively quiet player -
in this case, junior forward Kevin
Lynch - to clinch the game?
Double check.
The Wolverines' 3-2 win over
the Spartans on Saturday was a
mirror image of the Great Lakes
Invitational back in December.
Luckily for the squad, it didn't
replicate too much from past
games against the Spartans -
notably, an abysmal penalty kill
that led Michigan (12-8-4 CCHA,
18-10-4 overall) to drop a 3-2
decision in East Lansing on Fri-
day night.
"I'd say the best thing about
our game was that we didn't
have to kill six penalties," said
Michigan coach Red Berenson.
"The game was well-officiated,
the players played within them-
selves."

Michigan struck first on Sat-
urday, when junior forward A.J.
Treais scored his fifth goal in as
many games. His initial shot on
Spartan netminder Will Yanakeff
rebounded off of the goalie's
pads, but Treais collected the
puck and fired a backhand to find
the back of the net.
After Michigan State (11-10-3,
16-12-4) found the equalizer early
in the second frame, the Wolver-
ines' penalty-kill unit found itself
in trouble again.
When freshman forward Zach
Hyman took a hooking penalty,
the Spartans capitalized on their
man advantage in less than a min-
ute. Working the puck around the
crease, Brett Perlini fired a wris-
ter on fifth-year senior goalten-
der Shawn Hunwick's glove side
and into the goal.
Not the kind of thing Berenson
wanted to see.
"In the games we've lost this
season, penalties have been the
cause of that," said junior for-
ward Kevin Lynch. "(Berenson)
said, 'Limit the penalties tonight,
we'll win the game.'"

Michigan listened. Treais
went on to knot the game with a
wrister from the top of the circle,
and both teams went 30 minutes
without sending a player to the
sin bin.
But with six minutes left in the
final stanza, sophomore forward
Luke Moffatt went to the box for
hooking, giving the Spartans a
critical power play.
Just minutes before, Michigan
struggled to clear the puck from
its zone.
On this penalty, though, the
penalty-kill unit played much
more aggressively - senior for-
ward Luke Glendening cleared
the puck on rebound shots off
of Hunwick and junior forward
Kevin Lynch fought hard around
the point.
Hunwick is at the heart of every
penalty kill, and though he held
his own on Saturday, he was on the
receiving end of some very lucky
breaks. Shots hit the pipes or just
bounced the right way in his favor.
Berenson still sang Hunwick's
praises after the game.
See SPLIT, Page 3B

MEN'S BASKETBALL
* Struggling Smotrycz, Hardaway Jr. come alive at Crisler

By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
Daily Sports Editor
Evan Smotrycz was filling up
the stat sheet, Tim Hardaway Jr.
was in rhythm on offense and the
No. 22 Michigan men's basketball
team won consecutive games.
It's been
weeks since I LLINOIS 61
any of those MICHIGAN 70
things were
the case, but Sunday's matchup
with Illinois switched things
around for the Wolverines.
The sophomore pair emerged

from their prolonged struggles
in the first half to give Michigan
(9-4 Big Ten, 19-7 overall) a 70-61
victory and a winning streak - its
first since early January.
When redshirt sophomore
center Jordan Morgan fled for
the bench after picking up two
early fouls, Smotrycz stepped in
and saw a rare stretch of extend-
ed minutes. Smotrycz made the
most of those first-half minutes,
putting up 12 points on 3-for-4
shooting and converting each of
his four free throw attempts.
"It was good to see some shots

go down finally," Smotrycz said.
"Guys had confidence in me."
With 7-foot-1 Fighting Illini
center Meyers Leonard also on
the bench due to first-half foul
trouble, Smotrycz saw little resis-
tance, caught fire and buried two
3-pointers to help Michigan to a
37-31 halftime lead.
"He's a big guy inside, takes
up a lot of space," Smotrycz said
of Leonard. "We had trouble
reboundingwith him in the game,
so it definitely helped - him get-
ting in foul trouble. At the same
time, I thought we did a fairly

good job when he was on the floor
of limiting his touches."
Hardaway also experienced a
180-degree turnabout from his
recent performances. His ten
first-half points matched his out-
put from the last two games com-
bined. Though he was quiet in
the second half, he wasn't forcing
shots like he had been in recent
weeks. He finished with a team-
high 15 points and was one of four
Wolverines to score in double dig-
its.
"I didn't show emotion, but I
was very happy inside," Hard-

away said about making his first
3-pointer since a Feb. 1 victory
against Indiana. "Just seeing
that one go in, I made sure on the
second one I tried to do the same
thing as I did when I shot the first
one and not rush anything."
Added Illinois coach Bruce
Weber: "When your two worst
3-point shooters go 4-for-4 -
Hardaway and Smotrycz - in the
first half, it's a killer. They have so
many other weapons, they spread
you out, but good teams make
plays."
After Leonard scored four

points out of the gate to give the
Illini an early lead, the Wolver-
ines held the sophomore in check.
They pushed him out of the post
and hounded him with double
teams to force Illinois out on the
perimeter. Leonard was held to a
single point in the last 38 minutes
of play on 0-for-3 shooting.
The Illini (5-7, 16-9) led in the
early minutes and took a brief
20-19 lead midway through the
first half, but a 13-3 run put Mich-
igan in the driver's seat, a position
it would not relinquish the rest
See ILLINOIS, Page 3B

MEETING TEAM ONE
Tim Rohan chronicles the Michigan
* lacrosse team's humble beginning as a
varsity sport. Page 2B

ILLINI ANNIHILATED
Michigan protected home court at
Crisler Center, cruising to a nine-point
win over Illinois. Page 4B

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