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January 22, 2013 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-22

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4B - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4B ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ - usaJnay2, 03TeMcia aiy-mciadiy

0

'0' arrives for Blue

PAUL SHtERMAN/Daily
Freshman defender Jacob Trouba continued to fuel Michigan's power play against Lake Superior State.
Yeah we're talking
bo u t play'.offs

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -
The calendar said January,
but the looks on the play-
ers'
faces said
March.
During
a chippy
first period,
freshman
defenseman
Jacob Trouba MATT
smirked at a
particularly SLOVIN
frisky oppos-
ingforward
condescendingly - as if to say,
"You're not worth it." One road
win, the team's first of the season,
wasn't enough. Junior forward
Luke Moffatt's face after Friday's
game said they wanted more,
though they ended up falling
short.
Welcome to the new reality for
the Michigan hockeyteam - a
10-game playoff gauntlet, where
every night's a grind, a must-win
and a punch'in the gut.
And thegrand prize?
A chance to make some noise
in the actual CCHA playoffs.
With their new win-or-die
mentality, the Wolverines weath-
ered the weekend by splitting
with Lake Superior State and
avoiding, at least temporarily, the
league's cellar that as recently as
last weekend seemed to be Michi-
gan's destiny.

"We decided we're going to
start playing some playoff hock-
ey," Moffatt said after Friday's
win. "We really decided to bear
down, not worry about the stand-
ings ... just worry about winning
some games, like we would in the
playoffs."
This wasn't a playoff series but
the team seemed to treat it like
one. It certainly felt like one at
times. And with the exception of
the final 20 minutes or so of the
Saturday night defeat when the
offense went into a shell, Michi-
gan was the better team.
But in the CCHA's swan song,
the league seems more volatile
than ever (Exhibit A: Bowling
Green, which has emerged from
the conference's basement to
win three of its last four games,
beating Michigan, Notre Dame
and Western Michigan). If the
regular season is any indication,
the playoffs willibe a crapshoot,
and this team will need all the
help it can get to make any sort of
run for Joe Louis Arena and the
CCHA final four.
And now, allithat's left for Mich-
igan to do is jockey for positioning.
Accordingto www.PlayoffSta-
tus.com, the Wolverines are the
second-likeliest teamto finish
in last place. If the remainder of
the season were played out 1000
times, the site predicts Michigan
would finish in last 34 percent of
the time, ahead of only Michigan

State (49 percent).
As it stands currently, the
Wolverines would open up the
playoffs at seventh-place Ohio
State - a seemingly winnable
series, though the teams have
yet to meet this season. But if the-
intensity Michigan showed this
weekend is a sign of what isto
come in the postseason, the num-
ber of series that seem winnable
grows.
"That's what we're trying to.
do, is get our team into playoff
hockey," said Michigan coach
Red Berenson. "We only have 10
games left and we need to play
playoff hockey. The season's going
to be a short one if we don't."
Ten games left. They could
be meaningless - a slow crawl
toward the playoffs, where it'll
be put up or an end to the 22-year
NCAA Tournament streak.
Instead, it's time for this team
to adjust to a playoff style of
hockey. Each penalty will hurt
the team a little more, which is
why Trouba showed restraint
when the much-smaller forward
tested him. Each goal can spark a
second or a third.
The only way that Michigan
will be able to catch lightning in a
bottle the rest of the season is if it
plays playoff-caliber hockey.
It showed it can this weekend.
- Matt Slovin can be reached
at mjslovin@umich.edu.

By GREG GARNO
Daily Sports Writer
SAULT STE. MARIE - The
results don't indicate just how
different the Michigan hockey
team looked against Lake Supe-
rior State.
The final box score does
show the difference between
the slumping players of old and
the new refurbished versions,
though.
In both Friday's 6-4 victory
and Saturday's 3-2 defeat, the
Wolverines received offensive
help from a quartet of forwards
- senior A.J. Treais, juniors
Luke Moffatt and Derek DeBoie
and freshman Boo Nieves - who
all scored at least once.
Although they havetstruggled
to contribute lately, the group
finished with an increase in the
number of shots on goal, and
decreased the pressure on the
depleted defensive corps. As
proof of the improved produc-
tion, Michigan recorded 46 shots
against the Lakers on Friday -
its first time tallying more than
40 since a shootout win at Ferris
State on Dec. 1.
Two of the Wolverines' next
three opponents - Western
Michigan and Notre Dame -
rank in the NCAA's top-five
defensive teams in goals against
average. Both teams are hold-
ing opposing teams to two goals
or less this season, which will
mean that the quartet will need
to step up once more in order for
Michigan to continue improv-
ing this season.
Averaging 34.5 shots on goal
per game heading into the Lake
Superior State series, the Wol-
verines exceeded that number
in both games after finishing
with 37on Saturday.
One of Michigan's leading
shooters during the weekend
was DeBlois, who finished with
nine shots on goal - good for
second on the team. DeBlois
also found the back of the net
when he knocked in a rebound
off sophomore Travis Lynch's .
slapshot on Friday. It was his
first goal since a Nov. 9 win over
Michigan State.
Moffatt ultimately highlight-
ed Friday's offensive production
for the Wolverines, exceeding
his total scoring output this year
with his two goals against the
Lakers. Despite scoring against
Bowling Green on Jan. 8, Moffatt
had failed to tally a goal in any of

PAULtSHERMAN/Daily
Freshman forward Boo Nieves rebounded from a scoring slump this weekend.
his prior games. in the offense on Saturday when
The Paradise Valley, Ariz. Moffatt and DeBlois were unable
native first scored after sopho- to produce. Despite leading
more forward Andrew Sinelli the team in scoring and points,
sailed a well-timed pass for the Treais has been held without a
tip in. Moffatt scored again off goal since Dec. 1 against Ferris
an assist from Sinelli when he State.
tapped in a rebound from Sinel- But on Saturday, Treais scored
li's shot in the second period of his 11th goal of the season when
Friday's game. sophomore forward Alex Guptill
"We were all finally click- crossed a perfectly timed pass
ing together," Moffatt said. "We in front of Lake Superior State
got some good chemistry going. goalie. Kevin Kapalka. Treais
We were playing for each other, recorded just four shots over the
the team and for Michigan, so I weekend, though, but is looking
think that's something that real- to use the goal as abuilding block
ly changed." for the remainder of his final col-
legiate season.
"It's a relief for me," Treais
said. "I haven't had much con-
"It's a relief for fidence in my game lately, and
to get that one off your back
m e." - maybe I can get something
going. It's been a while so it feels
good."
Nieves has been on the giv-
Added Michigan coach Red ing end as of late, until Saturday
Berenson: "I think he just when he found himself on the
worked hard and got a break receiving end when he tapped
early in the game. It gives you a in sophomore forward Phil
life when you score a goal. You're Di Giuseppe's rebound for his
supposed to be a goal scorer and fourth goal of the season.
you go all year without scoring a The New York Rangers draft
goal. It's pretty frustrating. He pick also hadn't scored since Dec.
worked hard and he got reward- 1 as well, but has recorded two
ed here tonight." assists in his past four games.
Both Moffatt and DeBlois Nieves' power-play goal in the
were held in check on Saturday, waning seconds of a man advan-
yet their contributions on Friday tage also marked an improve-
came at a valuable time when ment from a unit that ranks 49th
CCHA playoff seeding will be a out of 59 teams in the country.
factor in extending the life of the "We're running out of games,
season. so we have to play like its playoff
After scoring five goals in the hockey, play like we're desper-
season's first four games, Treais ate." Treais said. "Hopefully,
was one of the few bright spots we'll figure something out."

4

0
0

'M' vaults to No. 1 ranking

MEN'S SWIMMING
For the Wolverines, a half
second away from victory

By SIMON KAUFMAN
DailySports Writer
The last time the Michigan
women's gymnastics team put up
a score better than 197.350, senior
captain Katie Zuraleswas a junior
in high school.
On Saturday, Zurales helped
lead the second-ranked Wolver-
ines to a victory over Illinois,
197.350-195.100, at Crisler Cen-
ter, capturing the all-around title
along the way. The team score is
the highest the Wolverines have
posted since a 197.600 against
Georgia on March 7, 2008.
Zurales placed first on the
uneven bars and balance beam
with
scores ILLINOIS 195.100
of 9.925 MICHIGAN 197.350
and
9.875, respectively. She also per-
formed well on the vault, with a
score of 9.900, and tallied 9.875
points on the floor exercise,
bringing her all-around score to
39.575 - a new career high.
"Katiehas just been rock solid,"
said Michigan coach Bev Plocki.
"This is a kid that probably never
thought she'd ever compete the
all around again (because of inju-
ries), and so to see her come back
and not only do the all around, but
do it at this level is pretty fantas-
tic."
Also contributing to the Wol-
verines' success was junior cap-
tain Joanna Sampson. Sampson
- who won the all around in the
team's previous meet against
Nebraska - captured the vault
and the floor titles with scores of
9.925 and 9.950, respectively.
While summarizing the team's
performance afterward, Samp-
son couldn't help but smile as she

RUBY WALLAU/Daily
Senior Shelby Gies and the Wolverines posted their highest score since 2008.

caught herself repeating how suc-
cessful the Wolverines were in
each event. But such was the real-
ity on Saturday.
Michigan was ahead from the
beginning and never looked back
- posting its best mark on the
vault so far this season (49.300)
and sweeping all three podium
spots. Three
Wolverine Queensof the Mat
gymnasts NCAA Rankings
tied for third
place behind 1, Michigan
Sampson and 2. Oklahoma
Zurales in the 3. Florida
vault, proving 4. UCLA
the depth that 5.Alabama
Michigan's 6. Nebraska
lineup has this . Utah
year. 9. Georgia
The Wol- 10. Stanford
verines took Source:GymInfo
the momen-Ja2
tum into their
next rotation,
the uneven bars, where five of
Michigan's six competitors post-
ed scores of 9.800 or better. In
contrast, Illinois' best score from
the vault was 9.775. Going into the
third event, the Wolverines led
98.625-97.550.

Michigan extended its lead
on the balance beam, amass-
ing 49.225 points while Illinois
struggled on the floor exercise,
managing just 48.300 points. The
Wolverines finished the after-
noon strong with their best rota-
tion on the floor exercise with
three Michigan gymnasts receiv-
ing scores of 9.900 or better.
"I'm ecstatic," Plocki said. "To
be able to continue to improve
. from the first (meet) to the sec-
ond, now the second to the third,
is exciting."
The team knows big results are
expected but doesn't seem to be
letting the pressure catch up to it.
"I think (the pressure of being
ranked No. 2) excites us even
more, because for all of us on
this team this is the first time
that we've experienced that, and
we're excited to be there and
we're excited to work each week
to maintain it," said Zurales. "We
put in so much hard work in the
preseason that this is the payoff
and this is the fun part."
Michigan, averaging 196.942
points per meet, is now ranked
No. tin the nation after defeating
Illinois.

Nation's No. 1
team falls short
of Southern
California
By SHANNON LYNCH
Daily Sports Writer
Three more points.
Three points were all that
separated the No. 1 Michigan
men's swimming and diving
team from what would have
been its fifth consecutive SMU
Classic title.
Three points that instead
went to No. 5 Southern Califor-
nia after it beat the Wolverines
in the final heat of the 200-yard
freestyle relay. By half a second.
Three points and half a sec-
ond.
The final race was typical of
the competition all weekend
at the SMU Classic in Dallas,
where the Wolverines raced
some of the top-ranked teams
in the NCAA, including No. 7
Florida and No. 16 Louisville.
The meet brings together
some of the strongest swimmers
in the country in a uniquely
small setting. Six schools com-
pete, but each only travels with
eight swimmers and one diver.
"It's a lot of fun," said Michi-
gan assistant coach Josh White.
"It's definitely a different set
up, but it's pretty neat because
every single swim really has

meaning in the score."
The Wolverines led the pack
at the end of the first day with
166 points after senior Miguel
Ortiz took first place in the
100-yard backstroke and led off
the winning 400-yard medley
team.
But this meet was the defini-
tion of a team effort, and every
swimmer made a big difference
on the scoreboard.
Along with their two first-
place finishes, Michigan's eight
swimmers showed their versa-
tility on Friday, taking second
place in four championship
heats and first and second place
in five consolation heats.
"We were
consider- Kings of the Pool
ably faster
than we've NCAA Rankiogs
swum at that 1. Michigan
mneet in pre- 2.:California
vious years, 3. Arizona
which was 4. Texas
really a great 5. Southern Cal
positive, very 6. Ohio State
encourag- 7. Florida
ing," White 8 Stanford
said. 9. Auburn
The team 10. Indiana
kept up the Sc S
momentumDc,0
in day two,
winning the
200-yard medley relay and
earning second place in every
other event.
Over the course of the meet,
Michigan showed off its excep-
tional speed in many events,

performing better than antici-
pated in a number of heats.
Senior Sean Fletcher record-
ed the fastest time'of any swim-
mer in the 100-yard butterfly
with a time of 47.24.
"On the relays, when we
weren't even expected to get
like top three, we stepped it up
and won a few and got second,
and some we weren't even con-
sidered," Fletcher said.
The Wolverines also succeed-
ed in surprising themselves.
Last year at the SMU Clas-
sic, Michigan, came out on top,
scoring a total of 318 points.
This year, despite finishing sec-
ond, the team scored 327 points
overall, highlighting the major
improvements made in speed
and performance during this
season.
Though the Wolverines were
unable to pick up three more
points and failed to bring home
another title, they collectively
consider the SMU Classic a
major success.
"We still have things we can
do better, as you always do,"
said coach White. "But in terms
of the overall level of perfor-
mance, it was one of the best
meets we had that hasn't been
a conference championship or
NCAA."
Added Fletcher: "I think it
was definitely considered a vic-
tory with times and I think it's
really helped us with motiva-
tion and seeing what we have to
do well at the end of the year."

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