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  Let's Do The Time Warp
Michigan Wins a Year Late
by James Clippinger, College Hockey Correspondent

The Michigan Wolverines were supposed to win the NCAA championship last year. Led by the one of the most storied senior classes in the history of the game, they were expected to thrash all comers on their way to their second consecutive championship, which they did...until Boston University knocked them out in the semifinals. Thus, the storied Michigan hockey tradition was carried on this year by ten freshman.

The kids didn't do too badly.

The Wolverines took home their record ninth NCAA championship with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston College Eagles at Boston's FleetCenter. Freshman winger and Ottawa Senators draft pick Josh Langfeld put away the game-winner at 17:51 of the first OT on a soft goal-liner from deep in the corner that eluded BC goalie Scott Clemmensen on the short side. Frosh Mark Kosick had the other two goals for Michigan, while Kevin Caulfield and Mike Lephart came up aces for the Eagles in front of the hometown crowd.

While the Wolverines outshot BC 10-3 in the overtime, the Eagles had the better chances, with one shot hitting the post and another the crossbar. Both goalies had strong games, with Clemmensen making 32 saves and Michigan's Marty Turco cementing his Most Outstanding Player in the Tournament award with a 28-stop effort. Turco was the key for Michigan in the tourny, as injuries forced them to skate only four defensemen. Defensive fatigue lead to numerous odd-man breaks in several tournament contests, but Turco kept the Wolverines in the game with many a showstopper.

All-Tourny defenseman Bubba Berenzweig carried much of the defensive weight for the undermanned Wolverines, and picked up two goals in the 4-0 semifinal victory over local favorite New Hampshire as well as an assist on Kosick's first goal. His performance almost made up for the indignity of ESPN's Steve Levy repeatedly referring to him as "Bubbenzueig" during the finals.

BC got into the final by defeating first-time Frozen Four participant Ohio State 5-2. For those counting, yes, this means that both the WCHA and ECAC were shut out of the semifinals, with the ECAC sides only managing two goals total in three tourny games. At least Princeton kept it close in a 2-1 first-rounder with Michigan...


* On the day before the NCAA finals, the Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy was awarded to Chris Drury of Boston University. Drury, who pitched Trumbull, Connecticut, to the Little League World Series title in 1989 before wising up and concentrating on hockey, had been the favorite to win this year since roughly 1995. Michigan State netminder Chad Alban was the first runner-up. Drury is property of the Colorado Avalanche.

* Wisconsin senior Erik Raygor won the Hockey Humanitarian Award for his combination of on-ice excellence, including two years as captain of the Badgers, combined with his staggering array of off-ice volunteer activities. Raygor has worked with the local DARE, YMCA and Special Olympics chapters as well as "emergency response training," in which he plays a Miami Vice-style bad guy in order to help train local police folk. No word on what experiences qualify him to serve as a criminal...seriously, Raygor is a credit to the game, and well deserves the honor.

North Dakota's 1996-97 team was also honored at the Hockey Humanitarian Award presentation for their extensive work helping the local Grand Forks community recover from the devastating floods of early 1997.

* Boston was a superb host for the Frozen Four festivities. Of course, having Boston College in the mix didn't hurt, but the FleetCenter was sold out long before the teams were set, and the atmosphere in the building was electric. It will be interesting to see if next year's Mickey Four in Anaheim can live up to the high standard, not to mention bringing the game further west. Methinks it's just a matter of time before Division I hockey makes the jump to California.

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