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September 02, 2014 - Image 44

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-02

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4E - Fall 2014

Sports

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

ICE HOCKEY
All that's left is hope

ERIN KIRKLAND/Daily
Zach Nagelvoort saved 63 shots in the BigTen Tournament against Penn State, but his effort wasn't enough.
Hockey falls short
NCAA Touramen

Loss to Penn State
makes 'M' first
team out
By ERIN LENNON
Daily Sports Writer
MARCH 23, 2014 - Sitting at
the podium Thursday evening in
St. Paul, Minn., Michigan hockey
coach Red Berenson answered
questions from the media, his face
illuminated by two spotlights,
eyes glassy.
With your resume as it stands
right now, do you think you get
into the NCAA Tournament?
"Some people look at it right
now and they'll say we've fallen
down to wherever we've fallen,"
he said. "I'm not one of those."
Instead, he said, the Wolver-
ines had been focused on the one
game they could have controlled,
a first-round loss to Penn State in
the Big Ten Tournament.
But on Selection Sunday,
Berenson didn't have to specu-
late about the immediate future.
Michigan finished 15th in the
PairWise rankings, missing out

on the NCAA Tournament for a
second straight year and start-
ing a new streak after snapping a
22-year-long one.
"There was still a glimmer of
hope, but we didn't deserve it,"
Berenson said Sunday. "I feel
worse this year. Last year was the
end of an era - Michigan had had
a lot of momentum getting into
the tournament and maybe being
a regular in the tournament was
taken for granted - but last year
it wasn't even close ... This should
have been a bounce-back year."
Saturday, the Wolverines held
their breath - some monitoring
Twitter, the others streaming the
game online - as Western Michi-
gan took on North Dakota in the
North Central Hockey Confer-
ence consolation game. They
rooted for the Broncos, who had
bested them in the Great Lakes
Invitational nearly four months
prior, even if they didn't check the
score until the bitter end.
"Some guys watched the game,
other guys couldn't watch the
game," said senior defenseman
Mac Bennett. "Eventually every-
one looked on (the website) and
realized what was happening.

When (North Dakota) wins that
game, that's it."
The game was one of three
Michigan needed to end in its
favor in order to secure a spot in
the NCAA Tournament. When
the buzzer sounded and the
scoreboard read 5-0 in favor of
North Dakota, Michigan's season
all but ended. Denver, which won
the NCHC, took the 15th Pair-
Wise slot from the Wolverines
with its automatic bid.
"That game was more impor-
tant to North Dakota than West-
ern Michigan," Berenson said. "I
can't blame them. We're in our
situation because of us."
Michigan became the first
team out.
Sunday, Berenson held a
glass mug of black coffee as he
answered questions about the
official end of the season, his pre-
dictions for the next few weeks
and the next year.
He smiled when reporters asked
if he would be back for another
season. The could've, would've,
should've of the weekend aside, he
was certain of one thing.
"Oh yeah, I'm back," Berenson
said. "One year at a time."

ARCH 21,2014 - ST.
PAUL, Minn. - Zach
Nagelvoort looked up
in search of
an explana-
tion.
Five other
players
remained on
the ice of the
Xcel Energy
Center and GREG
surveyed the GARNO
stands. _______
Three
members
of the Penn State hockey team
looked ahead at the locker room
they were preparing to enter.
Nearly 15 fans leaned over the
railing to congratulate their
team.
Sophomore forward Andrew
Copp looked into the near-
empty stands while freshman
forward Tyler Motte fixed his
gaze on the ice.
But Nagelvoort glanced up,
first to the shot line from 92:47
of hockey that just played out.
Flashed across the board, he
read 65-53 in favor of the Nit-
tany Lions. He looked up just a
bit further, for a brief moment,
to read the losing score: 2-1.
Four minutes ago, Nagelvoort
dropped to his knees and hung
his head. He didn't turn to look
for the puck. He hadn't seen it
get past him anyhow.
Within seconds, Nagelvoort
was swarmed by his teammates
around the net. Sophomore net-
minder Steve Racine tapped him
on the head and the 12th-ranked
Wolverines huddled around
him until he disappeared into a
hypno wheel of maize and blue.
For what could be the last
time this season, Michigan
shook hands before Nagelvoort
went to his spot just five feet
away from the exit to the locker
room. The seats all but cleared,
not even 10 minutes after the
final horn.
He looked up. Then to his

left. He motione
cross and bowed
exited the ice. TI
reset to zero.
his mom
to happe
game -c
- could have alt
But it didn't.
This is a team
its own destinyv
instead left itself
that would eithe
or break every la
against an oppos
conference wins
The team that
goal in the sudde
time couldn't
find it. Not
even when
Andrew Copp
came from
behind the
net to find the
loose puck
and fired a backl
bounced off the1
the red line.
For 1.2 second
tered around the
and it spun with
in one direction(
1.2 seconds, a set
of pressure near
1.2 seconds, a set
inconsistency re
garded.
But in 1.3 seco
worth of pressur
wouldn't fall wa
from Penn State:
Skoff to the boar
"I mean, I gue
gods had our bac
Skoff would say.
The team that
find its identity,f
knew what it wa
mightily once m
thing was preve.
executing.
If it really wer
higher power, th

d the sign of the
his head as he
he scoreboard
ent didn't have
n. Any one
or one moment
ered the course.
that controlled
weeks ago and

have moved two inches and
acrossthe line and the berth into
the NCAA Tournament would
have been all but secured.
Because for 22 years, it was
the case.
Instead a new streak may be
formed. Two years of watching,
not playing, in the postseason.
And the season will reset once
more.

f with a night e xpressionless, Nagel-
r makea season, voort sits at the podium
st part of it. All and looks up at the TV
vent with three in front of him. Sophomore for-
ward Boo Nieves answers ques-
needed one tions while Nagelvoort watches
n-death over- the replay of thefirst goal he
allowed.
He shakes
a mhis head dur-
"That game wasigterpy
1 ~ing the replay
myfault." a nd doesn't
*break his
stare into the
distance. It's
handed shot that another reminder before his
post and onto walk back to the locker room.
The shocksets in now.
s the puck flut- Senior defenseman Mac Ben-
red goal line nett stands outside the locker
out wavering room in the hallway. He has no
or another. In words for how he's feeling.
ason's worth He flashes back to that goal
ly vanished. In that sent Nagelvoortto his knees
ason's worth of - the moment that ended more
ady to be disre- than 92 minutes of hockey.
"That goal was my fault,"
nds, a season's Bennett says. "That game was
e and stress that my fault.And this season might
s kicked away be my fault.
netminder Matt "It's out of our control now.
'ds. We've just got to sit and hope."
ss the hockey Still outside the locker room,
k on that play," senior forward Derek DeBlois
lowers his voice. He doesn't
struggled to stare up at reportersvery often.
even when it "We don't know what the
nted, struggled future holds at this point - it's
ore. As if some- kind of out of our hands," he
sting it from says. "We'll cross our fingers.
Maybe say a couple prayers."
re up to some It's all you can do whenf63
e puck would saves aren't enough.

144

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