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November 25, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-25

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Spores °('hNovember 25, 2013 - 3B

5 Things We Learned: Niagara

Daily Sports Writer
1. The freshmen are ready for the
Big Ten.
The Michigan hockey team's
freshmen combined for seven
points in the Wolverines' 6-0 win
over Niagara on Friday and have
recorded points in each contest
this season.
It took freshman forward Tyler
Motte just 34 seconds to score the
first of No. 5 Michigan's six goals
on the night.
Motte's goal was his fifth of the
season, and his first in six games.
He finished with a team-leading
three points after tallying two
Motte was one of four fresh-
men, and seven Wolverines in all,
to contribute to the six-goal scor-
ing effort.
"It was good to see him on the
scoring sheet again," said Michi-
gan coach Red Berenson.
Midway through the second
period, forward Alex Kile sent a
rebound from senior forward Luke
Moffatt into the back of the net for
his first career goal. Kile was the
final freshman forward to register
a goal this season, with the excep-
tion of Max Shuart, whose first
career start came Friday.
JT Compher, whose first two
career goals came last weekend
against Nebraska-Omaha, added
two assists while defenseman
Michael Downing had one.
Goaltender Zach Nagelvoort
has already shown he is ready for
big-time, Big Ten hockey, but after
a strong showing Friday, it seems
the rest of Michigan's freshmen
are ready as well.
2. Michigan can do it five-on-five.
In fact, five of the Wolverines'
season-high six goals against
Niagara came on even-man oppor-
Prior to Friday, Michigan's
offense was ranked 31st in the
country - significantlylower than
its top-10 ranking would suggest.

The offense relied heavily on one
of the nation's strongest power
plays. And though Michigan is
7-1-1 when recording power-play
tallies, even-strength goals will be
the difference in close, one-goal
"We've had some success as
a team, but a lot of it has been
our special teams," Berenson
said. "We've had some guys who
haven't scored at all."
The Wolverineswere also aided
by a rule implemented after last
season. After Motte tripped and
fell, dislodging the Niagara net
from its moorings, sophomore
forward Andrew Copp netted his
first of two goals on the night. The
subsequent review reversed the
initial no-goal call. Last year, the
score would have been automati-
cally waved off with the net off its
"Five even-strength goals is
really important for our team
going forward, and I think it gives
us alotof confidence goinginto Big
Ten play next week," Copp said.
3. Nagelvoort gets the nod.
Both goaltenders - Nagelvoort
and sophomore Steve Racine -
made a start onthe road last week-
end against Nebraska-Omaha.
Each gave up three goals, but it
was Nagelvoort who earned a loss
when the offense couldn't bail him
So heading into a one-game
weekend against Niagara - the
first of the season - only one of
Michigan's two starting goalies
would get the nod.
Nagelvoort made the most of
his opportunity, securing 36 saves
en route to his first career shutout.
"We've had really high-intensi-
ty practices and having the com-
petition with a guy like myself
and Racine, two really good goal-
ies who are always battling and
constantly playing against each
other," Nagelvoort said. "Just hav-
ing two guys like that is better."
It was the first shutout at Yost
Ice Arena since December of last

Freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort picked up his first career shutout Friday.

In mud,'M'places
fourth at Nationals
By KELLY HALL for most of the race, junior Brook
For theDaily Handler finished 64th overall
with a time of 21:03.4.
Despite competing in Redshirt sophomore Anna
19-degree weather Saturday on Pasternak scored for the first
a course destroyed by torrential time in her career, placing 105th
rain, Michigan women's cross with a time of 21:20.6. She passed
country coach Mike McGuire nine runners in the final 2,000
knew that his team would perse- meters to help clinch fourth place
vere. forthe Wolverines.
The Wolverines were ulti- The result was a tremendous
mately able to stick it to Mother stride since Michigan's perfor-
Nature on the LaVern Gibson mance in the Big Ten Champion-
Cross Country Course in Terre ships, where it lost to Michigan
Haute, Ind. and raced to a fourth- State.
place finish out of 31 teams at the "We didn't (win the Big Ten),
NCAA championships. but we also didn't put our tail
"Our focus was on not get- between our legs and go pout-
ting consumed by the fact that ing in the corner," McGuire said.
it was going to be cold and that "We came back with out two best
the course conditions were as races of the year after the Big Ten
bad as we've encountered in all meet. I'm really proud of the fact
the years I've been coaching," that we got knocked on our back
McGuire said. "We can't do any- and got up and kept swinging."
thing about what Mother Nature Going into Nationals, Michi-
creates." gan was ranked eighth, but ulti-
On top of Michigan's impres- mately finished ahead of five
sive team accomplishment, higher-ranked teams. A large
freshman Erin Finn became the part of the Wolverines' success
Wolverines' first All-American can be attributed to how the hor-
since 2009. Finn finished in the rendous conditions didn't seem
top 40 to earn the honor. After to have as much of an effect on
falling back multiple times in the them as it did on the other teams.
first 2,000 meters, she was able Three of the top four teams were
to gain some ground between the from cold-weather states.
2,000- and 4,000-meter mark, "We knew that the conditions
taking over 22nd place. Finn lost were going to hurt everyone, but
her position in the final straight- we knew they would hurt us the
away but was still ultimately least," Finn said. "We knew we'd
able to place 30th with a time of be some of the strongest in the
20:40.3. tough, muddy, cold conditions.
"It's definitely crazy," Finn We knew we were one of the best
said of being an All-American teams in the NCAA, and we real-
as a freshman. "It was an honor ly just wanted to improve upon
to be a part of this team and fin- our ranking."
ishing on the podium was one of The Wolverines finished the
the most special things I've ever season in the best way possible:
done." on top of a podium.
Following Finn, sopho- "These guys can get their egos
mores Shannon Osika and through doorways, so they'll stay
Taylor Manett finished only a hungry," McGuire said. "They're
hundredth of a second apart with not going to go around patting
an approximated time of 20:56.6 each other on the backs for the
to place 56th and 57th, respec- next 12 months and not get any-
tively. After running with Osika thing done."

Still, Berenson won't admit to
picking a favorite quite yet.
"(Nagelvoort) got the benefit of
this game, and he took advantage
of it," Berenson said. "But I'm not
calling anyone No.1 at this point."
4. Home-ice advantage exists.
Having scored four goals in a
pair of weekend games against
Boston University and UMass-
Lowell, and five goals in two
contests against Michigan Tech,
Berenson spoke about taking
advantage of Yost Ice Arena.
On Friday, Michigan snapped
its streak of seven straight one-
goal contests - the longest streak
in the nation - and scored more
goals in one night than it had in
any given weekend at home this
The Wolverines also scored
twice in the first period, another
first for an offense that has strug-
gled at home. Michigan has out-
scored opponents 11-2 this season
in the first period.

5. Defense could be Michigan's
Despite the shutout, the defense
allowed 36 shots, several of which
forced Nagelvoort to defend the
Wolverines' leadby himself.
In particular, junior defense-
man Brennan Serville was beaten
several times in the defensive
"Too many turnovers, too many
grade-A chances," Berenson said.
"Some of them weren't defensive
responsibility, but our defense has
to play better."
Though Downing registered an
assist Friday, the defense as a unit
has been largely ineffective on
offense, having failed to register a
goal all season.
The penalty kill finished 2-for-
2 and has killed a respectable 84.6
percent of man-up chances this
season. Still, without freshman
defenseman Evan Allen, who is
out at least three months with a
knee injury, the defense will need
to step up against the conference's
toughest competitors.

From Page 1B
do a lot of things that Toussaint
The now-230-pounder, at the
very least, falls forward when he's
hit. There is no driving him back
behind the line.
And with a struggling offensive
line that earned negative rush-
ing yards in consecutive weeks,
Green's ability to not get driven
behind the line of scrimmage can't
be overlooked.
In a season of miscues and
disappointments, Green's devel-
opment from an out-of-shape

fifth-string running back into a
legitimate option for the future is
one of the few bright spots.
3. Michigan's defense will carry
this team next year.
Really, the only thing keeping it
from carrying this team right now
is an offense that's beyond incom-
petent. If the offense was capable
- just bare-minimum capable -
then this defense could be getting
more attention on a national level.
Next year, it's going to be even
better, because Michigan is only
graduating three starting defend-
ers. On Saturday, redshirt fresh-
man defensive lineman Willie

Henry had perhaps the best game
of his college career. Redshirt
junior linebacker Jake Ryan was
all overthe field and forced a pick-
six. The Wolverines forced three
There wasn't much else the
defense could've done to win this
The unit is only going to get
more experienced, so watch out
in 2014.
4. Michigan is not going to be a
strong bowl draw this year.
In years past, bowl committees
given a chance to take a team with
a better record have chosen the

Wolverines. The reasoning was
that Michigan's fan base would
travel well no matter what - the
Michigan football brand was still
going strong.
This year, that's not so certain.
Three teams with similar records
and bowl aspirations - Iowa,
Minnesota and Nebraska - will
likely be chosen over the Wolver-
ines. Part of that is a credit to the
other programs' fan bases, but
part of that is because Michigan
fans are fed up.
Ticket prices for the Ohio State
game have fallen to less than $100.
Athletic Director Dave Brandon
received a death threat on Twit-
ter. People are calling for the fir-

ing of offensive coordinator Al
So if Michigan makes the Buf-
falo Wild Wings Bowl, or the
Heart of Dallas Bowl, or the Texas
Bowl, the same contingent likely
isn't going to flood those areas
anymore. Why would they? It's a
lost season, clearly.
Brandon has done his damnd-
est to make sure the Michigan
"brand" stays strong, but the real-
ity is that nothing is more impor-
tant than a record and fans who
believe the record has a shot at
improving. In 2013, that isn't the
5. Bold Prediction: Shane Morris

will see at least one snap against
Ohio State.
If Gardner is hurting and
Michigan is taking a beating late
in the game, why wouldn't Mor-
ris see game action? His redshirt
is already burned unless there's
an injury that the team hasn't dis-
closed, which doesn't seem likely.
At some point, it becomes cruel
to let Gardner take the same big
hits over and over again, espe-
cially if the game is already out of
The more experience Mor-
ris gets, the better, especially if it
gives Gardner a chance to rest his

From Page 1B
Two months ago, Gardner was
what his high school coach called
a riverboat gambler. He was a
turnover machine - leading the
country in giveaways for much of
the season - but capable of four
to five plays a game that could
only be made by a handful of col-
lege quarterbacks.
It never looked like he was
really sprinting. It was more
graceful than that. He hadn't yet
figured out how to combine the
athletic ability with the decision
making, but once he did, look out.
We saw a little bit of the old
Gardner in overtime of the
Northwestern game last week,
just a glimpse, and it looked nice.
It won the Wolverines the game.
It was just a glimpse, though, a
Now, with Michigan's funeral
procession of a season spiraling
down into the last game, Gardner
is a shell of himself. There aren't
flashy plays or insane athletic
feats. Instead, there are plays like
one in the fourth quarter on Sat-
urday, when Gardner was drilled
on a failed third-down conver-
sion pass and took more than 10
seconds to get off the turf With-
out any Wolverines around, he
needed a ref to help him off the
turf. He half-jogged, half-limped
off the field with his head down.
This isn't the Devin Gardner
we used to know, the one that
made anything seem possible,
good or bad. Instead of big

scramble attempts throughthe
heart of the defense that ended
with either a big hit or a big
gain, Gardner heads toward the
sidelines whenever a scramble
opportunity presents itself.
Whatever it was thatche used
to have - a swagger, a confi-
dence, an "it" - isn't there any-
And it's not his fault. At all.
Gardner has been playing
with an offensive line that got
him sacked 19 times in the three
games before Saturday. He's
taken an absolute beating, and
even the toughest quarterbacks
can only get hit so manytimes
before the idea of getting bashed
on every pass attempt enters
their consciousness. He's also
playing with an underwhelming
group of wide receivers - he has
two legitimate receiving options,
and one of them, sophomore tight
end Devin Funchess, dropped
three passes on Saturday.
He's also been taking flak
and criticism after almost every
game this year. Early on, he was
too aggressive. Then, he became
too passive. The interceptions
dropped, but so did the big plays.
Maybe the constant chirping got
to him.
On Saturday, he threw for 98
yards and ran for 12 despite only
being sacked once. For the player
he was at the beginning of the
season, that would have been a
good quarter, or maybe a half.
Next week, in The Game,
Ohio State would be tough even
if Michigan had Tom Brady at
quarterback. This is a lost sea-

son, where Michigan's goals
have been whittled from "Big
Ten Championship" to "Playing
for 10 wins" to "Playing for our
But for Michigan to have any
chance, whether it's against
the Buckeyes or in the Heart of
Texas Bowl or even next season,
the Wolverines need to reclaim
their Gardner.
At this point, the player who
led the country in interceptions
would be a welcome sight for a
team that needs playmakers, big
plays and their riverboat gambler
back more than anything.
Cook can be reached at
evcook@umich.edu and on
Twitter @everettcook
Follow us on Twitter

From Page 1B
lotte (5-1) made the second half's
first three baskets to push it to 12.
Michigan found itself trailing
thanks in part to LeVert miss-
ing the final 18 minutes of the
first half after drawing two quick
fouls. Sophomore forward Glenn
Robinson III also missed the final
17 minutes of the game after suf-
fering a hard fall on his back on a
first-half foul. Robinson attempt-
ed to play in the second half, but
Michigan coach John Beilein
pulled him when it was clear he
wasn't comfortable on the court.
"We tried to get him in there as
much as we could," Beilein said.
"The advice from the trainers was
keep him going and after the first
time, we could see even when he
was out there he wasn't moving,
and it was going to be a very, very
physical game. And so it wasn't
worth it to risk further injury."
Without LeVert in the first
half, the offense ran through
Stauskas - the tournament MVP
- and he did his part, scoring 16
of his team-high 20 points, while
playing all 20 minutes. But Michi-
gan trailed from the 16:55 marker
onward due to a field goal drought
until Albrecht converted a layup
with 6:50 left.
In place of LeVert, trying to
fill the offensive void was Irvin.
But he wasn't much help, shoot-
ing 1-for-9 in the half, with his
only make coming on a 3-pointer
with 21 seconds left. Despite his
off night from the field, 3-for-

Sophomore forward Glenn Robinson 111 grabs a reboand against Charlotte.

14 shooting with eight points,
Beilein was happy with what the
6-foot-6 guard brought.
"I liked that Zak Irvin didn't
stop shooting even though he
couldn't make a shot," Beilein
said. "Because he had a huge one
for us late and a huge one in the
first half. So these are all things I
see positives from the loss."
But like Friday's game, the
Wolverines clawed back. Final-
ly scoring its first points of the
half with 15:48 remaining on a
layup from fifth-year senior for-
ward Jordan Morgan, Michigan
hopped on the comeback trail
once again.
LeVert, out of foul trouble,
played the entire second half,
scoring 11 points, including a
3-pointer that brought the Wol-
verines within one with 11:43
remaining. LeVert would eventu-
ally give Michigan its first lead
since the first half with 6:12 left

on a pair of free throws.
But Michigan would relin-
quish the lead with 5:26 left after
McGary, who had six points
and nine rebounds, picked up
his fourth foul. The Wolverines
never regained the lead - they
came back to tie the game after
Charlotte opened a five-point
advantage, but got no further.
Trading baskets from then on
out, the 49ers took advantage of
McGary's fear of drawing a fifth
foul when he reentered the game
with 3:37 remaining.
The fifth foul never came, but
Michigan suffered an even worse
fate as its hopes of bringing home
a trophy in 2013 were quashed.
While the loss stings for the
players, Beilein tried toput a posi-
tive spin on it as best as he could.
"We had adversity tonight like
we haven't had," he said. "And we
just kept plugging away, so it's all



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