6B - Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Overtime heroics lift
Michigan over Hokies
Then-senior goalie Shawn Hunwick made an emergency start at the Big Chill, blanking Michigan State in a 5-0 shutout.
Blue dominates BigChill
before world-record crowd
By MARK BURNS pared to play, and you try your
DailySportsEditor best to get ready in practice
but you know it's not the same.
Dec. 11, 2010 - Michigan ice You're not mentally as sharp as
hockey coach Red Berenson you would have been if you knew
calmly sat down at Saturday's you were going to play."
press conference following The Alongside Hunwick - who
Big Chill at the Big House, and stopped 34 shots en route to his
after gathering himself for a few first shutout of the season - the
seconds, he let out a wry smile Wolverines got another surprise
followed by four measly words from freshman defenseman Jon
to the media: "Pretty good show, Merrill, who notched Michi-
eh?" gan's first two goals against the
If a convincing 5-0 win over Spartans.
Michigan State in front of the With Michigan on the power
largest crowd ever to watch a play midway through the first
hockey game or a NCAA sport- period, Merrill received a cross-
ing event, coupled with a pre- ice pass from senior defenseman
game B2 stealth bomber fly over Chad Langlais at the right point.
and post-game fireworks, is any With the Michigan State penalty
indication, then the answer is killers stretched out due to the
yes. With a recorded attendance Olympic-size ice sheet, Merrill
of 113,411 at Michigan Stadium didn't hesitate to one-time the
on hand to watch the Wolverines pass, beating goalie Drew Palm-
and Spartans - the teams that isano on the glove side to give
set the precedent for outdoor Michigan the 1-0 lead.
hockey games when they skated "I blacked out," Merrill joked,
to a 3-3 tie in the Cold War back speaking about the fans' cheers
on Oct. 6, 2001 at Spartan Sta- after scoring the first tally and
dium - hockey fans from across the eventual game-winner later.
the country and some around "I don't even know. It was nuts."
the world witnessed a spectacle Just under three minutes
on Saturday afternoon. later, Merrill noticed that all of
"I was hoping that people the Wolverine forwards were
would fill up the seats. I know it behind the play following a
was a late-arriving crowd, and Hunwick kick save, and jumped
you wouldn't want a record-set- up on the rush with senior for-
ting crowd without the people ward Matt Rust. As Rust crossed
and say, 'Well, we sold the tick- the Spartan blue line, Merrill
ets but nobody came,' " Beren- streaked down the right side of
son said. "That was not the case. the ice, collecting a backhand
People showed up. This was a feed from the alternate captain.
great event. It was exactly as Looking more like Detroit
advertised, and it was the real Red Wings defenseman Nick
deal ... it couldn't be any better." Lidstrom than an 18-year-old
But prior to the opening freshman - a reference senior
faceoff, Berenson's starting co-captain Carl Hagelin made
neminder, senior Bryan Hogan, following the game - he flipped
suffered a groin injury. Unable the puck underneath the bar to
to play, Hogan relinquished the give the Wolverines a 2-0 advan-
starting job to senior goaltender tage heading into the locker
Shawn Hunwick. room for the first intermission.
"To be honest, I was a little "Merrill's been big all year,"
scared," Hunwick said about Berenson said. "He's been as
starting. "I wasn't really pre- consistent a player as we've had
... For him to step up in a game
like this and an event like this
and score the first two goals is
pretty special. He'll never forget
Through the second and third
periods, Michigan doubled its
lead with a pair of power play
tallies from Hagelin - the Wol-
verines were 3-4 with the man-
advantage. At the 8:57 mark of
the third period, Rust corralled
a loose rebound in front of the
Michigan State net, spun away
from a defender and feathered
a pass backdoor to a wide open
Hagelin. The Swedish native
made no mistake about it, bang-
ing home the puck past an out-
Merrill, who generally plays
on the first-power play unit,
cited "keepingthings simple and
getting pucks to the net" as two
contributing factors for the Wol-
verines' success on the power
play against the Spartans.
Berenson added: "We work
on our power play probably as
much or more than most teams,
and we've had minimal results.
And tonight, it clicked. So I cant
tell you if it was any one thing,
but it clicked it. Especially that
first one, that was a good start
And at 8 p.m. on Saturday
night, the lights were finally
turned off inside Michigan Sta-
dium after The Big Chill at the
Big House. The show has now
come and gone, but the memo-
ry of such a historic event will
certainly linger in the minds of
everyone who was apart of the
spectacle. As Berenson said, "at
some point, we'll realize this
was really, really something."
"Whether you see it again, the
NHL continues to do it, we'll see
where it goes with these outdoor
games," he continued. "But you
can see as a participant there's
something special about them,
and this was another one."
By TIM ROHAN
Jan. 3, 2012 - Brady Hoke
leaned in, hugged Junior
Hemingway and gave him a kiss
on the forehead. Hemingway's
Most Outstanding Player Tro-
phy sat on the table in front of
him, and Hoke wore a smile as
he took his seat.
Earlier, Hemingway cried on
his mother's shoulder while cel-
ebrating Michigan's 23-20 over-
time victory in the Sugar Bowl
over No. 13 Virginia Tech. Hoke
always said he'd lead with his
seniors, and a fifth-year senior
had capped the coach's blessed
first season with a win.
"You've got to have guys who
can make those plays, and when
(Denard Robinson and Heming-
way) are the ones doing it, you
feel pretty good about it," said
Hoke, whose team became just
the fifth in modern Michigan
football history to win 11 games.
On a day Michigan amassed
just 184 yards of offense, it
wasn't Denard Robinson or
Fitzgerald Toussaint that
saved the day, it was "Big Play"
Hemingway, as Robinson calls
him. No one will be quick to call
Michigan's win pretty, but the
few plays Michigan did make
came at the most crucial of
times, when the game was in the
The first half had belonged
to Virginia Tech, but Michigan
held the lead. The second half
belonged to the Hokies too, but
Michigan had overtime. When
overtime came, Virginia Tech's
third-string kicker - who had
was a perfect 2-for-2 to that
point - missed a 37-yard field
goal. Michigan's Brendan Gib-
bons made his 37-yarder.
After the game, Hemingway
found his place on the stage at
the 20-yard line, maize and blue
confetti falling, right near where
he initially caught in his first
At that point, right was left.
Up was down. And, still, Junior
Hemingway was celebrating in
the end zone.
Call it magic. Call it luck. But
Robinson and Hemingway rou-
tinely made plays like this all
season. Robinson had thrown
a pick on just his second pass
attempt of the game, when he
lofted a ball toward Hemingway,
who had a one-on-one matchup.
Earlier this week, Robinson said
he wouldn't second-guess him-
self when he looked towards
"We had a lot of confidence in
that combination," Hoke said.
With Virginia Tech romping
and the half winding down, Rob-
inson had Kyle Fuller, Virginia
Tech's best cornerback, reach-
ing for his ankles. But the junior
rback reloaded and fired Relentless, they chased Wilson
back foot as two more as he retreated.
crashed into him. Briefly, Wilson entertained
ball floated. Virginia Tech the thought of running around
Eddie Whitley whiffed on them. But Ryan accelerated,
k, while his teammate, wrapping Wilson and hurling
Exum, was two steps him down 22 yards from where
place. The ball landed the play started.
in Hemingway's hands. Virginia Tech settled for a
th-year senior raced for a field goal.
d touchdown. Then, with a chance to demor-
Robinson, it was anoth- alize Michigan and build on a
ad-scratching decision 6-0 lead, facing a fourth-and-1
ned out OK. Borges has again on the Wolverines' 4-yard
rd himself to the fact that line, Thomas tried to sneak the
arterback doesn't always ball himself. Fifth-year senior
o the advice he gave him defensive tackle Ryan Van Ber-
the season: "Make plays gen stuffed him.
God do the miracles." Virginia Tech came away
netimes he elbows God with no points.
he way and decides he After Hemingway's touch-
to do it anyway," Borges down catch - and right on cue
- senior special teamer J.B.
hat play, Michigan inex- Fitzgerald forced a fumble on
the kickoff and Michigan tacked
on a field goal.
Early in the second half, the
"his defense defense complemented "Big
Play" Hemingway again. Fresh-
de this game man defensive end Frank Clark
snatched a screen pass out of the
happen." air, and four plays later Heming-
way was celebrating.
Robinson threw the ball high
and far, where only Hemingway
y took its first lead, 7-6. could reach it. He tiptoed the
inia Tech quarterback sidelines and came down with
Thomas had put on an the catch. The play was remi-
show, lasering passes in niscent of his missed opportu-
ound a Michigan second- nity at Iowa, when Hemingway
t lived almost exclusively couldn't come down in bounds
motto "bend, but don't with a high pass.
His favorite target was In his head, he thought:
r Danny Coale, who was "Please, Denard, throw this up.
nce for the Michigan sec- Please, I want you to so bad."
all game. The 17-6 lead allowed Michi-
Thomas's running back, gan breathing room, as Thomas
'layer of the Year David led the Hokies back with two
, found room on the consecutive scoring drives -
where so many teams a field goal and a touchdown.
ed Michigan this season. A beautiful pass to the back
efense, the Hokies' front of the end zone converted the
litzed Robinson, contain- two-point conversion, tying the
n to modest gains. Tous- game.
quickness wasn't always But Michigan no longer need-
, either. ed "Big Play" Hemingway's ser-
inia Tech had more yards vices.
first half than Michigan Coale, who kicked in high
e entire game (185), but school, was called upon to punt
kies were held to just six earlier in the game for the Hok-
due to an opportunistic ies. He was no slouch kicking
an defense and timely the ball, but with the game tied0
es. 17-17 midway through the fourth
s defense made this game quarter, Virginia Tech coach
," said redshirt sopho- Frank Beamer elected to call the
tackle Taylor Lewan. fake.
:se God knows our offense The Wolverines had trouble
" covering the Hokie receivers and
Virginia Tech's first drive slowing Thomas's quarterback
game, facing a first- runs, but they snuffed Coale's
and-goal, with the ball on run out. Then Gibbons nailed a
own 4-yard line, Wilson 39-yarder, which was enough to
d outside. But he quickly get Michigan to overtime.
d the original plan, as his His teammates knew
ve line lie obliterated on Hemingway had carried them
mas Gordon, Craig Roh, "Real big impact," Toussaint
Kovacs, Jibreel Black said. "I'm kind of speechless
ke Ryan stared him down about that. He was outstanding
pack of foaming dogs. tonight."
Russell ends career with second-straight NCAA Championship
By LIZ NAGLE Just after Russell's final vic-
Daily Sports Writer tory, ESPN played a video about
the challenges that wrestlers
March 5, 2012 - It was the encounter.
beginning of March Madness "You make yourself very vul-
- the Michigan men's basket- nerable," said Oscar winner and
ball team just fell to Ohio in the former wrestler John Irving. "If
NCAA Tournament, and every- you're tired, everybody knows. If
one donned Irish-green apparel you're not as strong or as fast as
in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day. your opponent, everybody sees it.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Kellen If you quit, everybody sees it."
Russell was wrestling in his last But Russell didn't make him-
moments of glory. self vulnerable, nor did he let any-
On Saturday, the fifth-year one witness signs of weakness or
senior stepped onto the mat for exhaustion. Of the 18,919 in atten-
the last time in a maize and blue dance, not one would say they saw
singlet. When he walked off, he him quit - Russell fought until
was a two-time national cham- the referee raised his arm in vic-
Russell's journey was long "Most of these wrestlers today
and physical. He spent count- are expected to just tell them-
less hours training for a single selves, 'This is just like every
moment. But in the last weeks of other match,' " said Anthony
his college-wrestling career, Rus- Robles before the finals on Sat-
sell made history, sought revenge urday.
and passed on a tradition. Robles, who earned last year's
Russell is an irreplaceable 125-pound national title, despite
puzzle piece. Without him, the being born with only one leg, con-
Michigan wrestling team would tinued, "but really, it's not like
not have been able to complete every other match."
its 11th-place finish at the NCAA "This is what they train for
Championships this weekend. year round, what they dream
But with him, the Wolverines about. So it's all about who can
built upon their legacy and added come out tonight, perform under
Russell's name to the short list of the lights for one more match."
Michigan's multiple-time cham- But it wasn't just Russell's last
pions. match that mattered.
After three early wins, Russell
squared off against Ohio State's
Hunter Stieber in the semifinals.
The Buckeye was Russell's only
loss in 72 matches over the last
Russell reflected on that match
more than once. He knew his
focus wasn't there. But this time,
Stieberstruck first after scram-
bling to keep a hold on Russell's
left leg. But in the second period,
Russell started in the down posi-
tion and scored an early escape.
That's when he started to open up
and rally a 5-2 win. With a lead,
he drove Stieber's head into the
mat, riding him out to advance to
the finals, where he would face
Iowa's Montell Marion.
In a press conference before
the 141-pound final, someone
asked Russell's opponent a telling
"Montell, you've got one more
match tomorrow night. Does it
feel like it could be a fairy-tale
ending for your career if you were
ever able to bring it home?"
But there are no fairy tales in
Russell had a 3-0 record
against Marion, so he was con-
fident before the match. But it
didn't turn out exactly the way he
planned. Though Russell posted
Senior wrestler Kellen Russell is a four-time Big Ten champion and two-time national champion at 141 poands.
the first takedown, Marion retali-
ated and kept the score close.
Russell aggressively drove
Marion into the mat while
the Hawkeye tried to earn an
escape. But Marion tied it up in
the middle of the second period.
And after trading escapes, at the
sound of the whistle, Russell was
a single second away from a win
off of riding time. But 59 seconds
was not enough, and Marion took
Russell into sudden victory.
"He kind of caught me sleeping
a little bit when he got that take-
down," Russell said. "Going into
overtime, I knew I had the upper
Again, Russell came out on
top. He took control and brought
Marion down to the mat with 23
seconds left on the clock.
Though his first national title
was an accomplishment in and
of itself, his second-consecutive
crown was just icing on the cake.
Russell's last match as a Wol-
verine finalized his career record
at 134-12 to share the eighth
place on Michigan's all-time win-
ningest wrestlers list. 1
After the championships
ended, the Scottrade Center emp-
tied and the wrestlers parted
ways. But Russell left a two-time