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January 09, 2012 - Image 12

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2B - January 9, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

SPORTSMONDAY COLUMN
Contemplating the Winter Classic at the Big House

S ince 2008, the NHL has
been moving outdoors for
an afternoon every January
to play the Winter Classic. There's
been plenty
of winter and
plenty of clas-
sic.
The five
games have
been decided
by just seven
goals, hitting STEPHEN J.
some major NESBITT
venues: Ralph
Wilson Sta-
dium, Wrigley
Field, Fenway Park, Heinz Field
and Citizens Bank Park.
But the magnitude of those
events was upstaged by the Mich-
igan and Michigan State hockey
teams going at it in their backyard
last December. That backyard
held 110,000-plus fans who filled
Michigan Stadium to the brim.
The Wolverines trounced the
Spartans, 5-0, in the Big Chill at
the Big House. Carl Hagelin, the
Sodertalje, Sweden product, was
one of the heroes that day, scor-
ing a pair of goals. He said it was
a game and an environment that
he'll never forget.
"I think we all get goose-

bumps," Hagelin said after the
Big Chill. "The whole crowd was
going crazy. Everyone on the team
- everyone just feltcgreatbeing
a part of history, so that's some-
thing we can take with us. We just
loved being out there today."
A year later, he got to relive
the experience. But it wasn't the
same.
When Hagelin stepped onto
the ice for the Big Chill, he was
in a bowl surrounded by 113,411
rabid fans. When Hagelin, now a
member of the New York Rang-
ers, entered Citizens Bank Park in
Philadelphia for the 2012 Winter
Classic, he was greeted by 46,967
fans. In five years, the Winter
Classic has averaged 53,045 peo-
ple in attendance.
The numbers don't match up.
But now the NHL is putting
together a proposal that makes
sense. It's unorthodox, but it's
proven. It's professional, but it's
college. It's the Winter Classic,
but it's the Big Chill.
It's the Winter Classic at the
Big House.
The event is anything but offi-
cial, but Michigan Athletic Direc-
tor Dave Brandon announced that
the NHL had approached him
about using Michigan Stadium for

the next Winter Classic on Jan.
1, 2013.
(If you're concerned, trust in
TiVo, because it seems that the
Rose Bowl would be played the
same day.)
"We have been approached
by the NHL about utilizing our
facility for the 2013 Winter Clas-
sic," Brandon said ina statement
released this week. "There are
a lot of complex circumstances
that need to be ironed out before
anything moves forward. We will
have more to say if/when some-
thing materializes."
The match-up would likely be
the Detroit Red Wings and Toron-
to Maple Leafs - two Original Six
rivals. The Red Wings have been
in one previous Winter Classic,
drawing 4.4 million television
viewers in 2009.
But that edition of the Winter
Classic, hosted at Wrigley Field
against the Chicago Blackhawks,
held a capacity crowd of just
40,818. This would up the ante.
The hitch - because there
always must be one - is rather
mighty. The Red Wings are
ownedby mighty Mike Ilitch,
who also owns Little Caesar's
Pizza, Detroit Tigers and Com-
erica Park. If the Winter Classic

Then-senior forward Carl Hagelin scored twice in the Big Chill and participated in the Winter Classic last week.

were to be housed at an outside
venue, the profits from ticket
sales, merchandise, television
rights, vending and the like would
be split three ways instead of two.
If Illitch and the NHL struck
a deal to play the 2013 Winter
Classic at Comerica Park - one
of the venues being considered
- it would be easy money, but
the official capacity is 41,255.
The Big House would more than

double the attendance, providing
a stadium that could seat both
the Detroiters and the Canadians
coming across the bridge.
Most importantly, it's been
proven that hockey can pack
Michigan Stadium. And that was
college hockey.
This would be the Big Chill, but
it would be bigger. It would be dif-
ferent. It would be classic.
This Sunday, Michigan and

Ohio State will battle at the
Frozen Diamond Faceoff at Pro-
gressive Field in Cleveland. The
capacity is 43,441.
The Big House looks over and
smiles.
You musn't be afraid to dream a
little bigger, darling.
- Nesbitt just quoted Inception.
It happened. He can be reached
at stnesbit@umich.edu.

0.

Shootout dooms 'M' again

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
Michigan upsets Buckeyes
in bounce-back performance

By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Editor
If the Michigan hockey team
could score a shootout goal, it
would be in sole possession of
fourth place in the CCHA, instead
of seventh.
You know what the difference
between fourth and seventh is? A
bye in the first round of the CCHA
tournament, and an almost-guar-
anteed berth in the NCAA Tour-
nament.
And Michigan might miss out
- all because nobody can score a
one-on-one goal.
The Wolverines failed to con-
vert on their last five shootout
opportunities on Saturday, losing
to Lake Superior State, 2-2.
Michigan has lost its last three
shootount games, after earning the
program's first shootout win in
October at Northern Michigan,
but it's the way those losses are
coming that's concerning.
Michigan has converted just
two out of 15 shootout attempts
this season, not taking advantage
of a rule that would seemiligly
help the Wolverines. .
In 2008, the CCHA becamehthe
first conference in college hockey
to institute a post-overtime shoot-
out, granting the winner two
points in the standings, and the
loser one.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
and the rest of the league thought
Michigan was going to benefit
from this rule change, but after
three years, the Wolverines have
been the opposite of good.
"When they put the rule in,
they thought Michigan would
have the advantage," Berenson
said. "We've been the worst team
in the league on shootouts."
On Saturday, Michigan started
the overtime period looking to
score. With sophomore goalten-
der Adam Janecyk making his
first start of his career, Michigan
didn't want the game to be decid-
ed by ashootout.
The puck spent most of the five

ALDEN REISS/Daily
Sophomore forward Derek DeBlois missed his shootout attempt on Saturday.

overtime minutes in the Lakers'
end of the ice, but the Wolverines'
sense of urgency wasn't reward-
ed.
Sophomore forward Luke
Moffatt made the first shootout
attempt look easy, faking right,
then left before flipping the puck
into the top right corner to give
Michigan the early advantage.
Janecyk made the first two
saves, but then ceded the tying
shot on the third and final
attempt, sending the shootout
into sudden death. After Moffatt,
the next five Wolverines couldn't
convert.
Janecyk finally let in the win-
ning goal on Lake Superior State's
sixth attempt, but he shouldn't
shoulder any of the blame for the
shootout loss.
The Wolverine skaters looked
legitimately lost in the shootout.
Junior forward Chris Brown
missed the top post by about
four feet, and junior forward A.J.
Treais didn't even get a shot off,
losing the puck while he was skat-

ingup the ice.
"It's frustrating when we don't
hit the net on a shootout," Beren-
son said. "You put your top guys
out there and they can'thit the net
or find the puck. That's a big point
on the line."
The weekend wasn't a total
loss because of the shootout, but
getting four out of six points the
rest of the season won't cut it for a
seventh-place team.
For a team with as much tal-
ent as Michigan, the shootout
shouldn't be this perplexing. It
could be a lack of mental confi-
dence, or it could be because of a
lack of experience.
Whatever the reason, it's a part
of the game holding Michigan
back, and a part of the game that
is a concern for the Wolverines.
"I can't say that tonight is a
step forward for us," said senior
forward Luke Glendening. "We
threw that one away.
"We have to have those games
- to give that one away hurts. To
be so close, it's really frustrating."

By COLLEEN THOMAS
Daily Sports Writer
With nine minutes left in the
Michigan women's basketball
game against Ohio State, the
Buckeyes began chipping away
at a 19-point deficit. Fueled by
the perfor-
mance of OHIO STATE 62
their only MICHIGAN 73
senior,
guard Samantha Prahalis, the
Buckeyes went on a 9-0 run.
It seemed like the momentum
was shifting in favor of the 11th-
ranked team in the nation.
The run hushed the crowd, and
fans weren't sure that the Wol-
verines could hold off Ohio State.
But for the Buckeyes, their
late-game push wasn't enough to
knock off their rival.
Michigan regained its com-
posure and finished the game
in stride, knocking off the then-
undefeated Buckeyes (2-1 Big
Ten, 15-1 overall) 73-62 Saturday
night at the Crisler Center.
The Wolverines (2-1, 13-3), who
boast the second-best scoring
defense in the Big Ten, kept Ohio
State's two leading scorers silent
for most of the game, stalling the
conference's best offense.
Prahalis missed 10 straight
shots and finished with 17 points.
Junior guard Tayler Hill, who
averages 22 points per game,
scored just 15. The duo shot a
combined 10-for-34.
Shutting down the two Buck-
eye guards was Michigan's main
priority, and the Wolverine
defense stepped up to the task.
"We were trying to do every-
thing we could to contain Praha-
lis and Hill," said Michigan coach
Kevin Borseth. "They're a hand-
ful. At the end of the game, they
just rammed it to the rim and we
couldn't stop them. They're just

very talented kids and very deter-
mined.
"We did everything we could
to try to keep them at bay."
Not only were Prahalis and
Hill contained, but Michigan was
able to keep up with the Ohio
State post players as well. The
Buckeyes' three physical centers
usually dominate the boards,
but the Wolverines limited Ohio
State's second-chance points and
narrowed the rebounding mar-
gin.
Michigangrabbed more defen-
sive boards than the Buckeyes
while only being outrebounded
by four. Though the Buckeyes
pulled down an unusually high
number of offensive rebounds -
17- the Wolverines' defense held
Ohio State to 13 second-chance
points.
The Wolverines knew defense
would be integral in the game,
so they focused on intensity for a
full 40 minutes.
"They're a great offensive
team," said senior guard Court-
ney Boylan, who was all smiles
after the upset. "I believe they are
averaginglike 80 points per game,
but I think we just really focused
on their main scoringthreats and
we tried to work to stop them. In
any game you play, you want to
come out with a lot of energy and
hustle because oftentimes that's
what wins you the game."
The Wolverines' defense did
more than just shut down Ohio
State's offensive production.
Michigan forced 15 turnovers and
scored 21 points off of them, and
used that momentum to produce
on offense.
Boylan led the team in scor-
ing with 19 points while junior
forwards Sam Arnold and Rachel
Sheffer broke into double digits,
scoring 13 and 11 points, respec-
tively. Seven of the nine Wolver-

ines who saw action scored.
Then there was Arnold off the
bench.
Arnold provided an integral
spark for the offense. She scored
7-straight points midwaythrough
the first half to retake the lead,
and as she hit a layup off of an
Ohio State turnover, the crowd
went wild.
Though the Wolverines con-
sistently look to their starters
for offense, they know the bench
has to be able to produce in order
to pull out a win. And Arnold's
season-high 13 points certainly
helped.
"Coming off the bench, I know
my role is to get in there and give
a spark and make the most out
of every minute I'm in there,"
Arnold said. "If my shots are fall-
ing, that's awesome. But I always
just try to do my best and go in
there with energy, and it means
a lot to be able to (get a season-
high) against such a big school
like Ohio State."
Borseth noted that both Arnold
and junior forward Kate Thomp-
son are consistent contributors to
the offense from the bench.
"That's the difference for us -
(the bench) has got to be able to
come in and contribute," Borseth
said. "That's part of who we are."
Together, the Wolverines were
firing on all cylinders and pulled
off their biggestwin of the season
to date.
With its first ranked opponent
defeated, Michigan looks to take
down No. 19 Penn State on the
road on Thursday.
But the Wolverines will savor
this win for a short while.
The team was joined in cel-
ebration with Michigan women's
basketball alumni, who were hon-
ored at the post-game gala, mak-
ing the third-straightvictory over
the Buckeyes a little bit sweeter.

0I

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