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Notebook: Poor ice quality, TV timeouts hinder Blue's chance at gaining momentum, Berenson says

Max Collins/Daily
Michigan head coach Red Berenson during the 3-2 loss to Wisconsin in the Camp Randall Classic held at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin February 6th, 2010. Buy this photo

BY MARK BURNS
Daily Sports Editor
Published February 8, 2010

Television timeouts at any level of hockey can be a coach’s best friend or his worst nightmare.

They fit the latter category on Saturday night for coach Red Berenson and a Michigan hockey team trying to preserve momentum in the Camp Randall Classic. And problems with the crease occupied by goalie Bryan Hogan for two periods added further sterilzing stoppages.

“The ice started off being great,” Berenson said. “Then we had chunks of ice breaking out in the crease. … It probably did affect the game, because the delays were coming at bad times. It was like having an extra 10 TV timeouts. It didn’t help our team, because we had the momentum.”

That was the case especially late in the third period, with the Wolverines leading the Badgers 2-1, as the outdoor rink's ice problem reared its ugly head. Hogan's crease was significantly worse than the one at the opposite end, with maintenance crews having to repair the ice every few minutes.

This constant stop-and-start play made it very difficult for Michigan to string together any consistency or momentum late in the game.

Berenson and other Wolverine officials who made the trek to Madison took note of the overall gameday atmosphere. Michigan will be hosting The Big Chill at the Big House in early December and Berenson hopes there will be some significant differences, specifically dealing with the nightmarish delays.

Berenson said he made some suggestions to Executive Associate Athletic Director Michael Stevenson after the game.

"One thing I would do is take the TV timeouts right out of an outdoor game," Berenson said. "In fairness to the fans, I would even advertise that there will be no TV timeouts — this game is going to be played the way it should be.”

Nothing is guaranteed: Take no CCHA teams for granted.

That will be the mentality of the Wolverines as they face Bowling Green tonight in a must-win matchup at Yost Ice Arena.

Last weekend, last-place Western Michigan stole two games from visiting Notre Dame while Northern Michigan swept third-place Ferris State in Big Rapids — two tell-tale signs that anyone can beat anybody in this conference.

“We’re in a good hunt now,” Berenson said. “This will come down to the wire. We need to take this one step at a time, and (Bowling Green) is our first step.”

Currently, the Wolverines sit in sixth place. There are six points separating them from Ferris State. If Michigan can win against the Falcons tonight and then sweep the next series or two in the waning weeks of the regular season, it could finish as high as second in the standings.

“I was looking at the stats today, and if we can win these next three games, then we have a chance of being in second place,” junior forward Louie Caporusso said. “We are not out of it at all. … We are going to be fine if we play up to our potential.”

Switching em’ up: In Michigan’s 2-1 win over the Falcons last Thursday, freshman defenseman Lee Moffie landed himself in the penalty box, and consequently, on the bench.

Moffie was whistled for two penalties in the final 10 minutes of regulation, with the second infraction coming with just three minutes left in the game.

So against the Badgers this weekend, junior Tristin Llewellyn replaced Moffie on the blue line, with Berenson hoping to gain some veteran leadership and steady, defensive play from the Ann Arbor native.

“Defensively, he has been a minus player,” Berenson said of Moffie. “And the penalties, don’t help us in the goals against. I’m not afraid to play Tristin. He’s a more experienced player, and he should be able to help our team.”