The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, March 23, 2012 - 9
The ichganDail - ichganailyom ridy, arch23,201 -Q
From Page 8
told the six tea
with the news,
and then set ou
tain and senior
Sharples to the
senior honor so
g up the phone. He
ammates he lived
made a few calls,
t with fellow cap-
r Mike Moes and
er Warren "Scott"
ir Michiguama (a
Sharples had been anxiously
awaiting this call. He had been
playing some of the best hockey
of his career by 1990, and the
only question left in his mind was
about which team the Wolverines
would play in the first round of the
NCAA Tournament. The goalten-
der was a late addition to Beren-
son's second recruiting class after
another recruit decommitted.
Still, Sharples earned the job his
firstyear, and byhis senior season,
he become the first in a long string
of four-year goaltenders that
spanned all the way until when Al
Montoya left early in 2005.
But three years before he got
that phone call, Sharples was cry-
ing during a practice late in his
freshman year. Despite winning
the starting job, Sharples went
12-16 between the pipes in his
freshman campaign and allowed
more than five goals per game.
And he couldn't do anything about
"(It) was the hardest season I
ever had in my life," Sharples said.
"There were some people there
when we got there that didn't have
that hatred for losing that the rest
of us did."
And so at practice one day,
Sharples broke down.
"I just could not will theteamto
win like I had been able to at dif-
ferent levels," Sharples said. "And
I remember a couple of seniors
looking at me, incredulous. I knew
they were looking at me (and)
thinking, 'Why are you letting it
bother you this much?'
"(Losing) didn't bother the guys
that were there."
But, as more Berenson recruits
came in, Michigan started win-
ning. Sharples and his teammates
went 14-25-1 in his freshman year
in 1986-87. The following season,
Berenson's team won more games
than it lost for the first time since
he arrived. InSharples'junioryear
- the first team filled completely
with Berenson recruits - the team
finished sevengames over.500.
From the outset of the 1989-90
season, the team set its sights on
one goal: Makingthe NCAA Tour-
nament. By the time the phone
rang, after the tears had stopped,
after the paint on the helmet had
S dried, and even after the weight-
room renovations were com-
pleted, the team was right on the
Sharples didn'tget to the receiv-
er first. He remembers Moes, the
other captain, answering, though
Moes doesn't remember getting
the call at home. Sharples and fel-
low senior Rob Brown leaned in
to listen. After the season, Brown
would get so emotional at the
senior banquet that he would need
several attempts to get through a
tearful goodbye speech. But right
now, he was silent, waiting.
margin of nine goals.
Berenson's penchant for start-
ing freshmen in the first half ofthe
season, before they had matured,
did not help. In 1989, freshmen Pat
Neaton and David Harlock each
went minus-seven in their first
game at Munn Ice Arena.
"I remember getting a call at
the dorm from an assistant coach
(after that game) telling us not to
jump," Neaton said.
The players dreaded when
Michigan State came to Yost. At
that time, the arena would fill up
about halfway for home games.
Except when the Spartans came
"It was 4,000 Spartan fans and
4,000 Wolverine fans," Roberts
recalled. "And you'd have the 'Go
Green, Go White' chant going on
louder than any Michigan things."
But at Joe Louis on Dec. 30,
something happened: Michigan
won, and won convincingly, 5-3 -
and even that was only after two
late goals by the Spartans.
"That sent them a message,"
Neaton said. "We kicked the crap
began screaming at Harlock and
Neaton, who was also recruited by
"You guys are nothing!"
The Wolverines finished with
nothing against the Lakers that
year - winless in four tries - but
they beat up on the rest of the con-
ference. By the time the CCHA
playoffs came around, Michigan
was hot, and it easily dispatched
first-round foe Western Michigan
in a two-game sweep. Roberts
recorded the only hat trick in his
career that series.
For most of the 1989-90 sea-
son, though, a talented sopho-
more class had carried the team's
offensive production. Three of
those sophomores lived together,
including Denny Felsner (who led
the team with 27 goals) and Ted
Kramer (who was tied for second
with David Roberts, with 21). But
Don Stone, a junior, picked up
the ringing phone, as Felsner and
Kramer listened in.
out of them. An
a turning point
was at the GL
game in the G
tional for seven
men in West
heard the ph
goals. Before h
son in 1989, the1
term goals ant
on the board, a
spoke to his pl
through the wa
out on the ice, h
be ready to go th
you go out half-
"And then he
punch the old bi
recalled. "So all
tyquiet. He didn
bust down the w
knock down so
After the Great]
igan State off t
sent a message,
easily. The other
ing: Lake Supe
abrasive coach F
coach from New
ed Harlock ag
he entered scho
rior State was
none of his tear
him that March
Quad, across thi
ence exam. Har
son ofa CPA ant
d I think that was You could say it was partially
, even though that Kramer's fault that the team was
I, that hey, we're even on the bubble anyway, but
really, the sophomore was just
dn't lose another plain unlucky. After the series
reat Lakes Invita- against Western Michigan, the
years. Wolverines drew Michigan State
his fellow fresh- in the semifinals, again at Joe
Quad had grown Louis Arena. Michigan rallied
by the time they back to take a 3-2 lead late in the
one ring. Among third period, but the Spartans
was Chris Tamer, pulled even with just minutes left.
defenseman from The game went into overtime.
1. "For me, I'm 42, and I can still
feel that game," Kramer said.
*** And here's why: In the overtime
period, Moes, the captain, gave
nembers setting Kramer a pass that left him alone
is freshman sea- with the goalie. Kramer deked. He
team wrote short- shot.
d long-term goals Al Roberts threw his hands
nd then Berenson up. Pat Neaton threw his hands
ayers about going up. David Harlock, Chris Tamer,
ll. Anytime you go David Roberts threw their hands
e said, you have to up.
hrough the wall. If And, crashing the opposite
hearted, you'll get post, Mike Moes threw his hands
up. The puck was goingin - Mich-
'd make a fist and igan was goingto the NCAA Tour-
rick wall," Tamer nament.
the guys got pret- Ding.
n'teven flinch, he's Ding.
ick wall." The puck hit two posts. No goal.
as determined to Moes, with his hands trium-
vall into the NCAA phantly in the air, couldn't corral
ut first, it had to the rebound, even though the net
me smaller ones. was wide open. About four min-
Lakes Invitational, utes later, a freshman defender
could check Mich- made abad pinch, and Peter White
he list. They had converted on a two-on-one oppor-
even though the tunity for Michigan State. Game
the season series over. Spartansawin.
rbigname remain- The loss could've hurt more
rior State and its than it did. But for Kramer, the
rank Anzalone. man who hit two posts, there
was no time to dwell on the loss:
*** a consolation game against Bowl-
ing Green loomed the next day.
freshman, knew Since the Falcons finished just one
The fast-talking spot ahead of Michigan, nearly
vYork had recruit- everyone involved described the
gressively before game as essentially a play-in game,
ol. But the reason though Bowling Green did go 3-1
down Lake Supe- against Michigan before meeting
the same reason in the playoffs.
mmates could find Michigan rolled to a 5-4victory.
night to tell him After the game was over, the Fal-
cons players, and their legendary
tn was at South coach, Jerry York, were gracious.
e street from his "Players, we can't really fool
for a political sci- each other," Harlock said. "You
lock was born the know who is worthy and who's
d a nursing profes- a good player and who's a good
ersity of Toronto. team. When we went through, and
ne's pitch to come we shook hands with all the Bowl-
rs centered on the ing Green players after that game,
iperior State was a after we beat them in that conso-
school," Harlock's lation game, they were all saying
Instead, Harlock good luck in the NCAA Tourna-
, and it was the ment. You know, 'Hey, we're going
became the first on Spring Break. We haven't been
ain in over four on Spring Break ever, so go enjoy
ginning, Anzalone And so in South Quad, Harlock,
the last player on the team to get
ock's first series the news, was expecting a bid.
perior State up at Neaton and Tamer, the freshmen
e, Mich. in 1989, in West Quad, expected abid. The
d over the boards sophomores - Kramer and Fel-
of the game - and sner and David Roberts - expect-
Senior co-captain Mike Moes lifts the 1989 Great Lakes Invitaional championship trophy.
ed a bid. The seniors - Mike Moes
and Al Sharples and Rob Brown -
expected a bid. And their leader,
Al Roberts, expected one too.
Berenson hung up the phone.
The committee had gone with
Michigan did not make it.
The news traveled through the
phone wires like a wildfire.
When the blaze reached the
seniors, Moes felt it like a punch
to the gut. Sharples said his heart
broke. Al Roberts was shocked,
more than anything. At the Mich-
iguama meeting high up in the
tower of the Michigan Union, Al
Roberts and Sharples and Moes
demanded justice. They demand-
ed a reason. They demanded -
anything. Any chance to put on
the sweater one more time.
Rob Brown locked himself in
his room and didn't talk to any-
And so the seniors searched
for some explanation that could'
ease the pain. The popular theory
is that Bowling Green's Athletic
Director, who served on the four-
man selection committee, swayed
the other three members.
"(He) clearly homered them,"
said John U. Bacon, a Michigan
hockey historian and author of
"Blue Ice." "It was an inside job, it
was grossly unfair, and Michigan
paid the price."
Of course, Schneider,the Sports
Information Director, points out
that Michigan simply didn't win
enough games against Michigan
State, Lake Superior State and
Bowling Green to get themselves
off the bubble. But then there's
this curiosity: Schneider, curious
as to whether Michigan would get
the bid, secretly listened in on the
committee's conference call. The
board opened the lines to ques-
tions from the media.
The second question, accord-
ing to Schneider, from a reporter
for the Los Angeles Times: "Why
Bowling Green over Michigan?"
Rick Comley, the coach of
Northern Michigan and a mem-
ber of the committee, answered.
"It was Michigan's non-confer-
ence situation," he said.
"And I'm sitting there not able
to talk, and I'm thinking - see,
I don't remember if we were the
only team in the country, at least
in the league, to not lose a non-
conference game," Schneider said.
"We had swept Boston University,
and they were a seeded team."
"I feel devastated," Berenson
told The Michigan Daily. "I just
think we were shafted."
Harlock felt miserable too -
not for himself, but for those who
didn't have a next year.
"(They) don't get the credit
they deserve for turning around
the program," he said. "They were
the ones who probably did a lot
more of the behind-the-scenes
In Kramer's house, someone
said, "We're going to have a great
team next year. Just remember
what this feels like."
"I am convinced, out of the
pain of that experience, the seeds
for their 20 years of success were
sown," Bacon said. "They made a
commitment that from now on,
we were never going to leave it up
to some committee of guys we've
And they didn't. The follow-
ing year, they won 10 more games
than in 1990 and cruised into the
NCAA Tournament for the first
time since 1977.
In the first series, the team
so familiar with agonizing exits
lost to Cornell in overtime in the
opening game. In the locker room
after the game, Bacon said, the
team made a pledge: "We're not
going to let this happen again."
"The sense of intensity, of
importance, of determination
(from 1990) was carried forward
to the next team that (came back
and) beat Cornell.
"And now the modern template
for Michigan hockey has been
Sparked by the snub in 1990
and with the credibility from the
1991 tournament run to grab top
recruits, Berenson brought the
team to the verge of the National
Championship game in 1991 and
1992. Each time, those seniors too
suffered a painful ending to their
For Harlock and Neaton and
Tamer, their ending would come
at the hands of Maine in the 1992
Final Four in a crushing overtime
loss. The freshmen on that team
would be seniors in 1996.
And they would remember.
Now fast forward.
Six years after the call that
ended his career and sparked the
modern Michigan hockey dynas-
ty, Al Roberts gathered with some
former teammates and Michi-
gan hockey alumni at a bar in the
shadow of Wrigley Field in Chi-
cago. For six straight years, the
Wolverines had made the NCAA
Tournament, and for the first five
years, their season ended with a
In that bar in Wrigleyville in
1996, Al Roberts and the rest of
the crew watched as those Michi-
gan seniors, who lost in overtime
to Maine, entered yet another
This time, it was against Colo-
rado College, and this time, it
wasn't for a spot in the National
It was the National Champion-
Three minutes and 35 seconds
later, a junior named Brendan
Morrison clinched Berenson's
first National Championship with
a game-winning goal.
Then, in what Bacon called a
clear reference to that 1990 team
- to the Roberts and to Sharples
and to Moes and Harlock and
Tamer - Morrison uttered his
now-famous impromptu speech.
"This is for all the guys that
never had a chance to win it," he
Guys like David Harlock, who
heard the news of Michigan's vic-
tory during an intermission in a
game with a Washington Captials
affiliate and then played the best
third period of his life.
Guys like Mike Moes, who still
to this day finds himself wonder-
ing how in the world Morrison
had the composure and wisdom
to think of guys like him minutes
after one of the best moments in
And for guys like Al Roberts,
who watched, transfixed, in that
bar in Wrigleyville.
He listened to the speech,
hanging on every word. He felt a
chill run down his spine, a lump
form in his throat, and then the
The man who had sacrificed
championships with Michigan
State to come to Michigan looked
up and saw the rest of his former
teammates and friends.
They were bawling too - a
bunch of grown men sobbing into
their suds over a hockey game
played by kids.
And 22 years after the phone
call that sparked it all, Michigan
hasn't yet missed an NCAA Tour-
30,1989 at Joe L
State in the Gi
won the tour
before on a ga
* by Moes, and
house from Eas
gan State bea
earlier that Dec
sor at the Univ
*** So when Anzalo
play for the Lake
iappened on Dec. fact that Lake Su
Louis Arena. "glorified high:
played Michigan mother balked.
reat Lakes Invita- chose Michigan
the Wolverines right fit - he
nament the year three-year capt
ame-winning goal decades.
despite the steady But in the bei
of the program, made him pay.
y beat the power- During Harl
t Lansing. Michi- against Lake Su
t the Wolverines Sault Ste. Mari
ember in a home- Anzalone leaner
s by a combined - in the middle.
Wolverines host Penn State to open Big Ten softball season
By COLLEEN THOMAS
Daily Sports Writer
After finishing nonconference
play with a bang by defeating
Eastern Michigan, 10-2, in five
innings, the Michigan softball
team is ready for the Big Ten sea-
The 20th-ranked Wolverines
open conference play with three
games against Penn State this
weekend at Alumni Field.
The Nittany Lions are already
a familiar opponent this season
- the two teams faced off on Feb.
12 at the Tiger Classic in Baton
Rouge, La. Michigan (18-9 over-
all) dominated, winning 12-1 in
five innings to wrap up the tour-
After the matchup with the
Wolverines, Penn State (7-15)
proceeded to drop four of its next
five games and is currently suf-
fering through a six-game losing
streak, the latest being a 9-0 loss
to Rutgers on March 11.
Lack of offensive production
has plagued the Nittany Lions
this season - they average 1.7
runs in their losses and barely a
run better in wins, while hitting
.243 as a team. Only one player
hits over .300.
Junior shortstop Alyssa Ren-
wick is the lone leader on offense,
batting .349 while the rest of the
lineup puts up sub-par numbers.
Though Penn State's offense
may be lacking, it does have a
standout in the circle.
Senior pitcher Lisa Akamine
returns to the lead role after an
impressive 2011 campaign. She
was selected Second Team All-
Big Ten with a 135 strikeouts and
a career-low 1.89 ERA. This year,
her numbers are significantly
worse, but Akamine has the con-
fidence and experience to lead the
team through a tough conference
History is on Michigan's side
in the matchup between these
two teams, though. The Wolver-
ines have dominated the series,
winning the last nine games - a
majority coming in shortened
play - and boasting an overall
47-7 record against the Nittany
While Penn State is struggling
to find offensive consistency,
Michigan is finally warming up
after a preseason that may not
have been up to Wolverine stan-
Freshman catcher Lauren
Sweet and senior first baseman
Amanda Chidester lead Michi-
gan's offense with .296 and .289
batting averages, respectively,
and Chidester leads the team in
RBIs with 23.
And the freshman pitching duo
of Haylie Wagner and Sara Dri-
esenga have surprised with their
Wagner is 12-4 in the circle
with a 1.26 ERA and Driesenga
had quality starts against then-
No.22 LSU and then-No. 17 Lou-
Despite a sub-par preseason,
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
is confident in her team's ability
to win a 15th Big Ten title.
"We play a very competitive
preseason schedule so we are
ready to compete with anybody,"
"The key word is compete....
If we want to have a chance to be
a Big Ten champion, we have to
compete and battle."