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June 07, 2004 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-06-07

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June 7, 2004



Michigan sophomnore goalie Al Montoya is expected to he the first goalie taken in the June 26 NHL Entry Draft. He will then decide whether to stay in Ann Arbor or move on to the NHL

By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
Rated the No. 1 North American
goaltending prospect for the NHL
Entry Draft, Al Montoya may
decide to forego his final two years
of college hockey.
Depending on which team drafts
him and what he is advised to do, the
Michigan hockey team may be forced
to take the ice this fall without its
most valuable player.
But until Montoya is selected on
June 26 - possibly as high as a top
five pick - he's choosing not to
look ahead.
"Right now, I'm coming back,"
Montoya said last week. "I love
school and everything. But I'll take
*it day-by-day. You have to get draft-
ed and then worry about where the
draft leads you."
Montoya named the Phoenix Coy-
otes, Florida Panthers and New York
Rangers as teams he could fit in with
particularly well. He recently returned
from the NHL Combine, where he was
interviewed by 19 different teams and
underwent a dizzying array of tests.
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"(The Combine) was crazy," Montoya
said. "I think it was more to see what the
player is like off the ice, to put a name
with a face. It was about getting to know
you as a person. The teams want to see
who you actually are deep down."
At the same time, Montoya knows
he is not a lock to be one of the first
few names announced in Raleigh.
"Some teams have questions about
taking goalies high," Montoya said.
"It takes longer for goalies to devel-
op. Other teams will take the best
player available. I think it's a bigger
deal which team you fall to (than
where you're drafted). To go in the
first round would be a huge accom-
plishment with all the great goal-
tenders we've had (at Michigan)."
Michigan associate head coach
Mel Pearson wants Montoya back
for his junior season, but he and
head coach Red Berenson are ready

for any situation.
"At this point, nothing would sur-
prise me," Pearson said. "All these
advisors are trying to get to these
kids, and (the players) don't always
hear your side of it. Seventeen of the
19 teams Al talked to at the Combine
thought he should move on (to the
NHL). But they don't care about his
maturity or his education. All they're
looking at is the athletic product.
"Hopefully he knows the situation
with the team and his role on the team.
He is the guy. But we have a Plan B
and a Plan C and a Plan D. We're not
naive enough to say Al's going to come
back because we want him to."
Michigan's backup goalies last year
were sophomore Noah Ruden and
freshman Mike Mayhew. The duo
combined to play in just nine games.
Michigan also could attempt to bring
in a recruit to replace Montoya.

No matter what happens in the draft,
Montoya believes his mindset and
motivation will not be affected.
"I expect a lot of myself," he said.
"I don't accept anything less than
110 percent. When I get drafted, I'm
not just competing against college
goalies anymore. I'm competing to
someday battle (starting NHL
goalies). I can't just sit around."
While his status as Michigan's
goalie is in limbo, Montoya is dedicat-
ed to graduating either in two years as
a collegiate athlete or further down the
road as he embarks on an NHL career.
"School has been great," Montoya
said. "I want to get my education. I
will get my degree. (But) the final
decision comes down to me, my fami-
ly and my coaches."
With Montoya's future up in the air,
Berenson and his team may want to
start thinking about plans B, C and D.

Corrigan edged out
of Olympic Trials
Junior Geoff Corrigan, one of four
Michigan gymnasts competing in the
USA Gymnastics Championships in
Nashville, Tenn., finished in 15th place
overall with a total score of 107.65.
Sophomore Justin Laury finished
22nd overall, sophomore Gerry Sig-
norelli finished in 23rd place and jun-
ior Eddie Umphrey placed 26th.
The top 14 gymnasts advanced to
the U.S. Olympic Team Trials June
24-27 in Anaheim, Calif.
Willis misses 'A'
standard by 0.04
Sophomore Nick Willis finished in
third place in the 1,500-meter race in
the Oregon Track Classic.
Willis's time of 3:36.24 was just
0.04 seconds off the Olympic 'A'
qualifying standard. The time was a
new personal best in the event, 0.17
seconds ahead of his previous mark.
Junior Nate Brannen was also going
to compete in the the 1,500-meter race
but was a late scratch because of a lin-
gering ankle sprain.
Brannen is aiming to qualify for the
Olympics in the 800-meters.
Kevin Sullivan, a former Wolverine
who finished fifth in the 1,500-
meters in the 2000 Olympics, fin-
ished second on Saturday and
achieved the 'A' standard.
Willis and Brannen will return to the
track Friday in the Victoria Interna-
tional Track Classic in Victoria, B.C.



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