The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday- February 11,1991 - Page 5
First-year left winger Mike Stone takes control of a loose puck but is unable to put in in the net during Saturday night's 3-2 victory over Western
Michigan. This weekend's sweep of the Broncos brings the Wolverines winning streak to 14, continuing a school record which was set last weekend.
by Matt Rennie
Daily Hockey Writer
What should have been a night of
celebration turned into an evening of
despair for the Michigan hockey
On the evening that the 1990-91
Wolverine icers cemented their his-
torical place by winning a school-
record thirteenth game in a row,
starters Denny Felsner and David
Roberts went down with injuries.
After Friday's game, there were
rumors that Roberts was lost for the
season with either a separated shoul-
der or a broken collarbone. However,
further examination revealed the in-
jury to be a a mild AC separation,
and the prognosis is much more op-
"Right now, Roberts is day-to-
day," Michigan trainer Kim Hart
said. "It's not as bad as we first an-
ticipated. He could be on the ice as
soon as Monday with some protec-
tion. My goal is to have him ready
for the first round of the (CCHA)
Hart further reported that Felsner
suffered a mild knee sprain. While
Hart conceded that Felsner's injury
was more serious than Roberts', he
said that the return of the CCHA's
leading scorer for the playoffs was "a
very realistic goal."
"He won't be skating for a
while," Hart said. "(The knee) is just
sore. I'm not taking any chances
The injuries were particularly
stinging for the Wolverines, because
they were left without their top two
scorers. Both are potential all-
Americans, and Felsner is a leading
candidate for the Hobey Baker award,
given to the year's top collegiate
Michigan coach Red Berenson
remained cautiously optimistic about
the health of his two stars.
"They're both day-to-day right
now," Berenson said. "We'll have a
better idea in a couple days."
Michigan had entered the Western
Michigan series a little thin up
front, with rookie forwards David
Oliver and David Wright both nurs-
ing injuries. With Felsner and
Roberts both sidelined, the
Wolverines had to scramble to fill
the holes Saturday.
"Injuries are like goals and wins,"
Berenson said, "they come in
bunches. We had been literally in-
jury-free to this point in the year."
Berenson dressed five defensemen,
including Paul Sancimino, who did
not see action. Senior Mark
Sorenson and junior Doug Evans,
who both usually play defense,
skated as forwards for part of the
Meanwhile, sophomore Mark
Ouimet, who usually skates with
Roberts on his left and Felsner on
his right, must have felt like an or-
phan without his usual partners. Ted
Kramer and Mike Helber filled in to
act as Ouimet's foster linemates.
Meanwhile with the top two
scorers out of the lineup, Michigan's
No. 3 player stepped to the forefront.
Rookie Brian Wiseman scored two
goals in each game, including the
"I knew he was capable of that,"
Berenson said. "I said from day one
that he would lead this team in scor-
ing some day."
Given the Wolverines' current
predicament, Wiseman's day may
have already arrived.
Blood is thicker than
ice in brutal CCHA
They say it's lonely at the top, but the Michigan hockey team is
finding a lack of companionship to be the least of its worries.
Since their vault to the elite of the college hockey world, the
Wolverines have found that success often means an elbow in the face. Or
a stick to the gut. Or a slash on the back.
For the last three weeks, Michigan has played middle-of-the-pack
teams from the CCHA, and each week the Wolverines have been abused.
The abuse has not been evident on the scoreboard, where Michigan has
won 14 straight, but rather in the lockerroom, which looks more like an
Michigan's outmatched opponents have made the acute observation
that they cannot skate with the Wolverines. So rather than try, these
teams have attempted to slow the pace of the game by playing what's
known in hockey circles as "chippy" hockey.
Loosely translated, it means dirty. It means cheap shots. It means
fights and penalties. It means games that last as long as most television
And in the end, it means injured players. Michigan certainly has their
share. This weekend, the CCHA's top two scorers, Denny Felsner and
David Roberts, joined teammates David Oliver and David Wright on the
injured list. Mr. Harlock is the only David on the roster who hasn't
visited the X-ray room recently.
This appears to be the price a team pays for being good. Teams feel so
overmatched against the Wolverines that they turn to cheap shots as their
"It's tough," Michigan defenseman Patrick Neaton said. "The elbows
and the sticks get worse every game. We've certainly got guys who can
really fly, but these days, guys like Felsner can't go two strides without
someone putting a stick on him."
Today, Felsner can't go two strides without crutches.
Don't kid yourself. Michigan doesn't back away from any
confrontations. The Wolverines can hold their own and then some
whenever the play gets physical.
The thing to remember is that it's not to their advantage to play at
such a slow tempo, so it is unlikely that Michigan would initiate such
On Saturday, the Wolverines proved they could turn the other cheek
when they had to. Don't be deceived by the lower amount of penalty
minutes. This was a case of unilateral disarmament. Western's style didn't
change; Michigan just didn't retaliate.
"It definitely was not a cleaner-played game," Michigan co-captain Don
Stone said. "If anything, there was more stuff going on. We just knew
with 19 players, we couldn't be sitting in the penalty box all night."
While this shows the confrontations can be avoided, one has to wonder
about a game in which the favored team is expected to take abuse in order
to maintain the peace.
The onus for preventing fights should not lie with either team, but
rather with the officials, who are clearly not doing their job. Often, these
referees appear lost on the ice, perhaps because their leader dogs can't
skate. For the last six games, the Wolverines have opened the contest by
trying to play hockey. By the end, they were just trying to survive.
"Sooner or later, someone's going to have to crack down," Neaton
said. "There's just so much going on out on the ice."
The only way to prevent teams from taking dangerous cheap shots is
by penalizing them swiftly and harshly. Not once in a while. Every time.
Last Saturday against Ohio State, the officials handed out forty minor
penalties, yet not a single major.
A ten-minute major early in the contest could have sent the message
that cheap shots would not be tolerated. Unfortunately, it never came, and
the game turned into a bloodbath.
The CCHA is widely recognized as the premier college hockey league
in the country. The conference confirmed this status by negotiating a
television contract with PASS, which gives the league unsurpassed
Maybe the league should reconsider this contract. If the recent trend is
allowed to continue, the televised games may turn from showcases to
f ifi "
'Angry Berenson takes
action against Kramer
by Jeni Durst
Daily Hockey Writer
Recently, many injured Michigan hockey players have been forced
to watch the games from the sidelines, but it was not an injury that kept
rightwinger Ted Kramer in the lockerroom during the third period of
After already visiting the penalty box earlier in the second stanza for
highsticking and roughing infractions, Kramer was issued another
roughing call and a 10-minute misconduct for an after-the-whistle
altercation with a Western opponent at 19:33.
Though the penalty only called for a 10-minute sentence, rather than
a game misconduct, Kramer was missing from the Wolverine lineup for
the duration of the game. Michigan coach Red Berenson and the rest of
the coaching staff made the decision to keep Kramer out of the rest of
the game, issuing him their own disqualification.
"I didn't like his penalties," Berenson said. "I thought his penalties
were selfish, individual penalties that you can't take in the heat of the
game. He was out of control. A player has to be able to take some heat
and not retaliate at certain times in the best interest of the team."
BACK IN ACTION: First-year goaltender Chris Gordon tallied his first
win since the last time Western Michigan and the Wolverines met and
improved his overall record to 3-2. Gordon started the December 7th
game in Kalamazoo when Michigan overcame the Broncos 6-2.
Saturday night the rookie made 29 saves in the 3-2 Michigan victory.
Steve Shields, the Wolverines' usual netminder, sat out the game
due to a couple slightly aggravated injuries that hindered him in Friday
night's contest. Shields had been riding a 18-game unbeaten streak (16-
STILL STREAKIN': With the sweep of Western, Michigan set a new
school record for consecutive victories (14). The Wolverines have not
lost since a 4-3 defeat at the hands of CCHA leader Lake Superior. The
previous streak had been twelve, set by both the 1976-77 and the 1963-
64 Michigan squads. In those seasons, Michigan went to at least the
NCAA final four, with a National Championship, the Wolverines last
national title, coming in '63-64.
CC M Through Feb. 11, 1991
Men's Hockey Standings
TEAM W I T PTS.
Lake Superior 24 2 4 52
:.;. . 1A h Z A
Continued from page 5
available to fill the void between
"It was an excellent team effort
tonight and it started with Chris
Gordon," Berenson said. "He
hadn't played in awhile and this
was a tough, tough game to put
him in, but he came up big. He
showed the team and he showed us
that he can help this team."
The absence of Shields was not
the only difference out on the ice
Saturday. The shoulder injury to
Roberts and a sprained knee for
Felsner, the CCHA's leading point
holder, made lineup changes
inevitable. The Wolverines played
First-year center Brian Wiseman celebrates his second-period goal during
Michigan's 3-2 victory over Western Michigan Saturday night.
Continued from page 1
may have been off the ice, in
terms of boosting team morale and
getting everyone ready to play."
Wolverine coach Red Berenson
has nothing but praise for the Red-
ford, MI native as well.
"I think the key for him was to
be able to come in and play safe
hockey alongside David Harlock,"
Berenson said. "It's very rare for
two freshmen to play together and
play well. And they did it.
"He's his own worst critic. He
wants to do well, on and off the
ice. If there was a profile of what a
Michigan hockey player should be,
Pat Neaton would fit to a tee."
One would never find any of
this out from talking to Pat,
though. Ask him about his personal
"Pat has this young-kid mental-
ity," Neaton's roommate Chris
Tamer said. "He loves to get out
on the ice and mess around. He
just loves to play hockey."
The more one talks to Neaton,
the more Tamer's assessment rings
"It's always been fun for me,"
Neaton said. "I mean, the highlight
of my day is at three o'clock com-
ing down to the rink and seeing all
the guys. It's great."
But Neaton has not limited his
scope to athletics.
"Hockey has always been my
top priority," he said, "but nothing
lasts forever. There's going to
come a time to hang up the
Using this rationale, Neaton ig-
nored the temptation of jumping to
the Junior A leagues out of high
Although Neaton is still unde-
cided about his major, he is lean-
ing toward economics.
"I'm trying to figure out what I
like and what I don't like," he
said. "I don't want to explore for
four years, but I also don't want to
rush into anything I won't like in
So, all seemed to be right with
the world for Patrick Neaton. He
was a star athlete at a big univer-
sity. He was getting a good educa-
tion, while at the same time mak-
ing quite a name for himself on the
ice. And the best part of all was
that his family lived only a half-
hour away and could attend all his
games. It seemed too good to be
true. It was.
Reality has a harsh way of
making its presence felt. For Pat,
the reality hit just as the Wolver-
with only four defensemen as
Evans and Mark Sorenson moved
up to the wing position, while
juniors Helber and Ted Kramer
manned the frontline spots.
Roberts and Felsner join the
already sidelined David Oliver and
David Wright, leaving center Mark
Ouimet as the sole remainder of
the previously potent Wolverine
front line scoring combination.
"Injuries are like goals, and
wins, or losses, they come in
bunches," Berenson explained.
"We were literally injury-free all
year. It's something I hope we can
recover from by playoff time. But I
like the way our team responded to
the fact that Shields wasn't playing
and Felsner and Roberts were not
in the lineup."
Tamer said. "I give him a lot of
credit for dealing with that."
While Pete spent his days on a
hospital bed, Pat excelled at the
tournament. After Pat returned
from Saskatchewan, Pete under-
went a successful quadruple by-
pass. Just weeks later, he was back
in the Yost Arena bleachers,
cheering the Wolverines to another
Pete's recovery was likely ex-
pedited by not wanting to miss too
many more games. The roles had
reversed. After depending on his
father to nurture him through the
embryonic stage of his career, Pat
was now providing his father with
a reasonto fight back against his
"I really look forward to watch-
ing him play," Pete said. "This is
a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,