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December 04, 1995 - Image 17

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-12-04

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HocKa,-.44

The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, December 4, 1995 - 78

Botterill takes a step forward by staying out of
trouble at Bowling Green - but it's only 1 game

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN - Graduat-
ing from high school in only three
years is no small accomplishment.
It's a sign of superior intelligence as
well as a testament to hard work.
Add that to playing major prep
school hockey, and you've got your-
self one phenomenally talented indi-
vidual.
And that's
why people have
high expecta-
tions for Jason
Botterill.
But if he were
graded for his
decision-making
on the ice, his
mark for this sea- 1
son would have
been poor enough to keep him back in
school an extra year.
Not once, but twice this season,
Botterill has been ejected from a game,
and subsequently suspended, for fight-
ing. All together, he's missed over
four games' worth of action due to his
quick temper and poor decision-mak-
ing.
Opponents know of his history be-
yond these two incidents. They know
of his easily agitated personality. They
know of his tendency to stand up for
his teammates when the play gets more
physical than usual.
And they have tried, and will con-
tinue to try to take advantage of that.
The opposing teams' fans also

know. Midway through the first pe-
riod, with the crowd noise briefly sub-
siding, a fan could be heard yelling,
"Why don't you sit out a couple more
games, Botterill?"
"It's a situation that I know I'm
going to have to deal with throughout
the whole year," Botterill said. "They
know I've lost a couple of games to
suspension and there's a thing out in
the league that I have a reputation for
losing my head."
But if Saturday's game against
Bowling Green is any indication of
what a changed player Botterill is,
then Michigan opponents, as well as
their fans, will be wasting their time
trying to get Botterill to drop his
gloves.
He showed that he has learned from
his mistakes.
Any questions about Botterill pos-
sibly being hesitant to get physical
were thrown out the window almost
immediately.
On that first shift which lasted about
45 seconds, Botterill made four
checks, including a solid shot on
Bowling Green's top scorer Mike Hall,
behind the Falcon net. He followed
that up on his next shift with an equally
powerful blow on Brett Punchard.
But the sequence that preceded
Botterill's goal in the second period
was a prime example of what he needs
to do in'order to blend his extraordi-
nary talent with his tough style of
play.
With the puck deep in the Bowling
Green zone, Botterill and Falcon

defenseman Matt Eldred gave chase
for the puck. After entangling them-
selves in the corner and exchanging a
few pushes, Botterill came out with
control of the puck and sent it along
the boards to Peter Bourke at the point.
As the 6-foot-4 Botterill made his
way toward the low slot, with the
much shorter Eldred continuing to
bear down on him, and now grabbing
a hold of his stick, the 19 year-old
junior did something that was recently
uncharacteristic of him.
He didn't try to hit back at Eldred
and take a stupid penalty, but instead,
tried to break free by just shaking the
Falcon off using his strength.
"I know that I have to keep my feet
going and driving Gothe net," Botteril l
said. "Last year,
if someone was
grabbing my
stick, I would
fight with him
and wouldn't
keep driving to
the net."
He continued
' driving to the net
with Eldred still
on his back. But
Botterill suddenly, he was
able to get loose
and get his stick down on the ice just
in the nick oftime to redirect Bourke's
shot into the Bowling Green net.
Not going back at Eldred showed a
change in Botterill. But the changes
didn't stop there.
Late in the third period, Botterill's

linemate Greg Crozier was hit after
the play by Quinn Fair on a play that
could easily be construed as dirty or
cheap. Botterill didn't want to jeopar-
dize his teammates by getting into a
scuffle that would have implications
on games that follow, but at the same
time, he wasn't going to let his team-
mates get pushed around.
He and Fair each wound up getting
minor penalties, but the key part of
the play was that Botterill didn't make
the incident any bigger than it should
have been. He did his business and
left.
"I thought that was a terrible hit on
Crozier, a real cheap shot," Botterill
said. "I went in there to stick up for
my teammate and that's what I'm
going to do throughout the year. You
have to make your point and get out of
there."
Getting out of there was what
Botterill did not do against Miami
(Ohio) and Wisconsin. The first time
it didn't hurt the Wolverines because
they still won the game for which he
was suspended.
But his run-in last weekend showed
how important he is to Michiganh
which lost both games in his absence.
Both games were against top teams-
the kind of teams the Wolverines will
be facing down the stretch run of the
season and in the NCAA Tournament.
And because Jason Botterill is so
talented, he will continue to play dis-
ciplined, yet tough.
Because people have come to ex-
pect that of him.

WALKER VANDYKE/Daily

-Bowling Green fans wete quite blue after Michigan's 8-i victory.

Third line becoming top priority for 'M' success

CCHA Standings

Sy Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Writer
BOWLING GREEN. - Aren't you
just getting a little tireid of seeing the
same names in the Mi chigan scoring
summaries after each game?
However, this hasn't hurt the Wo'-
verines,. They have gotten out of the
gates with an 11-3 mark..
But let's say that one; or many of,
Michigan's top guns goe s down late in
the season or runs into a serious slump.
The Wolverines have already had to
play without Brendan IMorrison and
Jason Botterill more tharq once.
That's where the teaun's third and
fourth lines come in.
The line of Mike LeggJMatt Herrand
Sean Ritchlin quite possibly was

Michigan-s strongest unit Saturday. The
trio accounted for three goals and four
assists and one-third of the team's scor-
ing against Bowling Green.
"We need that line to get going and
they did tonight," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "I think all three of them
- Legg, Ritchlin and Herr - all had
strong games."
Herr has had to play most of this
season with a wrist injury. That, coupled
with a slow start gave the Wolverines
cause for concern.
But after a three-point performance
Saturday, including two goals, Herr
seems back in groove.
Ritchlin, like Herr, started the season
off slowly. But to make matters worse,
he was still trying to adjust to the col-

lege game.
However, that adjustment period
might have ended.
After just having three assists in his
first nine games, Ritchlin has recorded
two goals and two assists in the lastfour
contests.
Berenson is impressedwith Ritchlin's
somewhat sudden progress.
"I think Sean had his best game to-
night," Berenson said. "We know he
was a better player than he showed in
the early weeks of the season, and now
it's starting to show.
"It takes time for a freshman to gain
more confidence and become more com-
fortable."
Legg had been skating with Warren
Luhning to the third line.

Then, just this past week, Legg suf-
fered a separated shoulder against
Michigan State.
But that didn't prevent Legg from
staying out of action and perhaps fall-
ing even further on the depth chart. His
play as of late has been particularly
stronger. He has two goals and three
assists in his last five games.
Berenson emphasized Michigan's
need to receive production from the
third line following their fine perfor-
mance Saturday.
"A lot ofteams focus on Morrison's
line or Hilton's line," Berenson said,
"but we need that third line to be able
to make the difference and they
haven't been able to until tonight's
game."

Team
Michigan State
Western Michigan
Michigan
Lake Superior
Bowling Green
Notre Dame
Ferris State
Illinois at Chicago
Miami (Ohio)
Alaska Fairbanks
Ohio State'

Won
10
10
8
7
6
4
3
3
2
2
1

Lost
2
2
2
3
2
8
6
7
7
8
9

Tied
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0

points
20
20
14
13
8
7
6
4
4
2

Weekend results
Friday:
Lake Superior 8, Illinois at Chicago 2
Michigan State 5, Ohio State 2
Notre Dame 4, Ferris State 3
Miami (Ohio) 4, Western Michigan 2

Saturday:
Ferris State 5, ilinois at Chicago 1
Michigan 8, Bowling Green 1
Michigan State 5, Ohio State 1
Lake Superior 6, Notre Dame 3
Western Michigan 5, Miami (Ohio) 2

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