Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Michigan Hockey

Without a question, the most consistently successful athletic team for Michigan in the past 20 years has been the hockey team. When I first came to college Red Berenson was very early in his tenure at the U. Michigan was trying to get back to the glory they'd experienced in the late 40s to mid 60s. Outside of a decent run in the mid 70s Michigan had been a hockey also ran for almost 3 decades when he took over.

Ron Mason and his MSU Spartans were dominant in the state. Bowling Green, just down the road in Ohio, won the 1984 championship.

It took him until the 1990-91 season before Red finally got the Wolverines back into the NCAA tournament (the 1989-90 team got robbed of a spot - they won the 3rd place game - but the team they beat got the tournament bid), but they haven't missed the tournament since.

The 90s were really Michigan's decade - with Championships in 96 and 98 and 4 other Frozen Four trips. The 1997 team may have been the best team ever to not win a championship. Essentially the entire 1996 roster was back but they jsut didn't have it in the semi-final match-up.
The 1998 team might not have made the tournament if Yost wasn't hosting a regional. And the team certainly wouldn't have gotten tot he Frozen Four without the crazies at Yost cheering them on.
The Round of 8 opened with OSU facing the hated Spartans in the first game. MSU had beaten Michigan ever game they played that year (Pat Caputo still says M was the National Champ but not the state champ.) But somehow OSU pulled off the upset - Likely, the only time Michigan fans ever cheered for the Buckeyes!

In the nightcap Michigan took on North Dakota. The Sioux were heavily favored and took an early lead. They lead 2-0 and were peppering Marty Turco on a 5-3 power-play, when Matt Herr came out of the penalty box at just the right time. (it is worth mentioning that I now own a game worn #8 Michigan Hockey jersey in Matt's honor!)

ND scored again to make it 3-1, that along with a couple of Michigan goals called back should have been enough to win the game, but it wasn't. Bill Muckalt made it 3-2 midway through the 2nd period.

After Greg Crozier tied it at 3 early in the 3rd, Bobby Hayes completed the comeback with just under 3 minutes left.

That was the last time Michigan has beaten North Dakota, hopefully tomorrow night they'll do it again!

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