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December 06, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-12-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, December 6, 2013 - 7

Late collapse dooms Wolverines For Larkin, a game of stress

Daily Sports Editor
In an exhibition against the
U.S. Under-18 National Team
Development Program, Michigan
hockey coach Red Berenson gave
the starting nod to the trio of for-
players MICHIGAN 4
that helped
upset the
Wolverines last season with a
combined five points.
Freshmen forwards Evan
Allen, JT Compher and Tyler
Motte comprise that standout
trio, and Allen and Motte record-
ed three total points in the first
period. But after a third-period
collapse, Michigan fell 5-4 in
overtime Thursday at Yost Ice
The NTDP scored the first goal
of the game thanks to an odd-man
rush that left forward Jack Eichel
open in the slot, where he buried
a shot past freshman goaltender
Zach Nagelvoort.
There wasn't much Nagelvoort
could do on Eichel's shot, though
he stood strong between the pipes
the rest of the evening, making
22 total sages on 24 shots before
being replaced by redshirt junior
goaltender Luke Dwyer with less
than three minutes to play.
The captains had talked to
Berenson earlier this week about
getting Dwyer, who had never
seen the ice before for Michigan,
in the game if the team had a late
lead. All went according to plan,
except earning the victory. The
Wolverines gave up two goals
in the final minute, and a third
straight Michigan collapse late in
the third period finally came back
to bite the Wolverines.
"Dwyer earned that opportu-
nity," said junior forward Alex
Guptill. "He's been our hardest
worker here for the last two years,
and he has nothing to show for it.
Ihave asickfeelinginmystomach
for us to blow that lead for him."

Freshman foward Evan Allen scored two goals in Thursday's loss.

The late tallies came from for-
ward Shane Gersich at the right
circle with 52 seconds to play and
Ryan Hitchcock with 23 seconds
left on a wrap-around to bring
new life to the NTDP.
Both goals came from defen-
sive miscues, and not specifically
because of Dwyer's lack of game
experience. Gersich was wide
open when he netted his goal, and
thegame-tyingscore happened as
a NTDP player was pushed into
Dwyer in the closing moments.
And with all the momentum,
the NTDP tallied the game-win-
ner with 2:17 to play in overtime.
Forward Alex Tuch was left
unmarked from the point, and
he ripped a shot that beat Dwyer
on his glove side. Just like that, in
four minutes and 35 seconds, the
NTDP had flipped the switch to
complete the upset over Michigan
for the second season ina row.
After the game, sophomore
forward Andrew Copp's chin was
glued to his hand, his face red
and his eyes focused on one spot
downward. He hardly looked up
at all, even to answer questions.
"Anytime you blow a two-goal
lead like that it's kind of sicken-
ing," Copp said.
The word "devastating" was
used by Motte this week in prac-
tice to describe what a loss would
feel like to the NTDP. No one
knew it'd feel like this, though.

The Wolverines led comfort-
ably before the collapse.Allen net-
ted two goals in the initial frame
less than three minutes apart.
The exhibition served as an
opportunity for Berenson to
experiment with some lines. In
doing so, he gave upperclassmen
like senior captain Mac Bennett
and junior forward Derek DeBlois
the night off.
Despite the unfamiliar lineup,
Michigan seemed to click offen-
sively for much of the night,
coasting behind four goals from
freshmen. However, the third
straight, late-game collapse -
dating back to last weekend's
sweep over Ohio State - proved
to be too costly this time.
"For this to keep happen-
ing is unacceptable," Copp said.
"There's no excuse for us to be
blowing leads like this. We're sup-
posed to be a defensively sound
team, and it cannot just keep hap-
pening. We just need to be able to
bear down and finish games."
Guptill and Copp weren't the
only ones feeling the ill effects of
a heartbreaking loss. Allen, Com-
pher and Motte are the ones who
now understand how they left the
Wolverines feeling last season. It
doesn't even matter that it was an
exhibition, because pride was still
on the line.
Copp's body language
screamed as much.

Daily Sports Writer
Dylan Larkin's name echoed
across Yost Ice Arena with the
lights dimmed and the crowd
silent. Unhurried and relaxed,
Larkin coasted up to the blue
line, glancing at himself on the
He surveyed the crowd
ambling in, first right, then left
and then straight ahead at the
No. 3 Michigan hockey team
lined up across the ice.
The video screen went black,
and then the video started. The
pictures of Yost flew across, the
bells toiled in the background as
the voice reminded fans of the
nine national championships
and 24 Frozen Fours in program
Larkin leaned over to his
teammates with a smile and
then watched as the Wolverines
were announced.
The forward from Waterford,
Mich. has been here before. The
U.S. National Team Develop-
ment Program Under-18 team
travels around the country to
play teams, from NCAA Division
I to the United States Hockey
League, throughout the season.
But Thursday in Ann Arbor
was different. Michigan wasn't
just another team. This was
the team that he had signed his
letter of intent with less than a
month earlier and had commit-
ted to over a year ago.
This was a chance to make an
impression in front of his future
coach, Red Berenson.
But in his first action at Yost,
Larkin's nerves got the best of
He couldn't handle the puck
as effectively as some experts
say he is capable of. He looked
winded for someone his coach
called a "great skater." Nor did
he put up any points after tal-
lying 22 - 14 goals and eight
assists - in 23 games prior to

U.S. NTDP forward Dylan Larkin is Michigan's top-rated commit in 2014-15.

"You want to come in here
and make a good first impres-
sion in front of coach Berenson
and the fans and all that," said
NTDP Under-18 coach Danton
Cole. "That's a guy who is nor-
mally pretty calm and cool and
His team won regardless of
his performance, earning a.5-4
overtime victory after trailing
by two with three minutes in the
In one of his early shifts on
the ice, Larkin was sent to the
penalty box for interference,
and nearly one minute later, he
skated out with his head down
to the bench after a Michigan
Afterward, Larkin waited to
return to the ice, then chased
the puck, a chip on his shoul-
der and pressure to produce.
Larkin skates better than any of
his teammates. One minute he's
buried in the corner, the next
he's on the other side of the ice,
looking to gather the loose puck.

"We tried to get him out on
the ice as much as we could,"
Cole said. "And that was easy
because he's a great player."
Larkin never stopped moving
in the game, even if he did move
slower on some shifts. He scuf-
fled with freshman defenseman
Michael Downing, and he was
there to push the puck for the
third goal.
Underneath his helmet, Lar-
kin smiled after the tally. This
was how he envisioned things
When Larkin finished talk-
ing with the media, after he had
shaken the hands of parents and
friends waiting to see him, he
stood near the ice. Freshman
forward JT Compher, a prod-
uct of the NTDP, walked over
to Larkin, both dressed in their
suits. Smiles lit their faces, and
they laughed. Compher talked
while he put his arm around
Larkin for a moment.
"You're going to love him,"
Cole said just moments earlier.
The Wolverines already do.

'M' wins on the road

Wolverines conclude semester

DailySports Writer
Thursday night in Charlottes-
ville, Va., the Michigan women's
basketball team fought for more
than just the block 'M.' Repre-
senting their conference in the
Big Ten/ACC Women's Basket-
ball Challenge, the Wolverines
used effective shooting to up
their record
to 3-0 in MICHIGAN 73
away games VIRGINIA 53
with a 73-53
victory over Virginia at John
Paul Jones Arena.
Making it nearly impossible
to tell that this team returned
just 11.6 percent of its scoring
from last season and was play-
ing without junior guard Shan-
non Smith, its leading scorer,
seven different Michigan players
scored. The Wolverines were led
by junior forward Cyesha Goree,
who recorded a career-high 20
points. Not far behind was soph-
omore guard Madison Ristovski
with 13 points and junior guard
Nicole Elmblad with 12.
"I think that speaks volumes,
especially without Shannon
being here, that other people
are contributing," said Michigan
coach Kim Barnes Arico. "If you
told me that we would be up 16
at half, I would have been in dis-
The win put another notch in
Michigan's belt in the event, as
it has the best record of any Big
Ten team participating in the
Big Ten/ACC Challenge, going
5-2 all-time.
Michigan (6-3) looked solid
in the first 20 minutes of play
and headed to halftime with a
16-point lead over the Cavaliers
(3-5). Goree put the Wolverines
on the board first with a jump
shot, and after Elmblad posted
her own first bucket four min-
utes in, Michigan never relin-
quished its lead.
The Wolverines shot 54 per-
cent from the floor and never
gave Virginia a chance, add-
ing nine more points in the first
three minutes of the second
half. Ristovski led the team in
assists with nine and recorded
13 points, going 6-for-6 on free

For the Daily
As the semester winds down,
the Michigan baseball team's
preparation for the upcoming sea-
son is rampingup.
With the season two months
away, the coaches are placing
extra emphasis on individual fit-
ness and player development.
"Right now, we're in a period
where our time is very precious
and valuable," said Michigan
coach Erik Bakich. "We don't have
much of it with the team, so we're
really focused on individual play-
er development. We're not doing
as many team-specific drills. It's
more working with the players
one-on-one and in small groups."
The team ends the semester
this week with the Omaha Chal-
lenge, its annual week of intense
strength and conditioning, named
after the site of the College World

"This is a period of the year
where there's a huge commit-
ment to strength and conditioning
and getting the players' bodies as
strong and physical as possible,"
Bakich said.
Players are pushed to theirlimit
all week in events like the mile run
or obstacle courses where they
have to do things like push the
John Deere Gator vehicle 50 yards
and army crawl through ice water.
At the end of the week, play-
ers are not only physically stron-
ger, but mentally, too. The whole
team is split up into smaller teams
that compete against one another
throughoutthe week.
"This week, in particular, I feel
is a great way to prepare for our
upcoming season," said fifth-year
senior pitcher Ben Ballantine. "I
think it's symbolic in the sense
that you're never out of it. If your
team has a bad day or even a bad
event, there's another day full of
new challenges right around the

One of the goals of the week is
to simulate the effects of a long
baseball season. Even though the
players are competing against
each other, the idea is that they
will become closer since they all
went through a week that few
other programs put their players
"Guys are going to struggle
physically and mentally at some
point in the week, just like they
will during the course of a baseball
season, and it's imperative that as
a unit we pick them up and keep
pressing forward."
The Omaha Challenge con-
cludes Friday, and after that, play-
ers follow their own individual
workout plans during final exams
and winter break. Practice will
start back up the third week in
January when the team will have
just a month before its season
starts on Valentine's Day in the
Texas State Tournament.

Coming off a huge game
against No. 15 LSU last week,
senior forward Val Driscoll took
Smith's place and impressed
once again. She recorded a
career-high 12 points with five
rebounds and two assists and
didn't miss a shot all night.
"She had a heck of a game
tonight, and she's just getting
more and more confident as
the season progresses," Barnes
Arico said. "She's not just out
there holding time for somebody
else while they are getting their
rest. She is out there being a
major contributor on our team."
The Wolverines out-rebound-
ed the Cavaliers, 41-27, and
forced nine turnovers. Barnes
Arico kept Elmblad on the bench
for the last six minutes. Elmblad
averages 38.6 minutes per game,
so Barnes Arico wanted to give
her the chance to rest as the
clock ran down.

A number of younger players
helped Michigan to its domi-
nant victory, including freshmen
guards Siera Thompson and
Paige Rakers. Though Thomp-
son only recorded three points
in the game, she matched her
career high in assists with eight.
Rakers also gotcontheboard with
five points and four rebounds.
Freshman guard Danielle
Williams, who returned to
action over Thanksgiving in
Brooklyn, N.Y. after suffering a
broken finger in preseason work-
outs, looked confident against
the Cavaliers. She went 2-for-2
from the field, both on 3-point-
ers, and added two free throws,
totaling eight points.
"When people needed a break,
she had to go in and contribute.
So it's kind of learning on the
job," Barnes Arico said. "So we
were so happy for her to be able
to make those shots and really
play big minutes for us."

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