Jeff Tambellini’s breakout weekend was a bit more
important than his statistics might indicate. Although the junior
forward’s five goals and one assist over the two-game series
against Miami (Ohio) left coaches, players and fans impressed,
Tambellini was more concerned about a few special guests in the
stands.

“I had my mom and two grandmothers (in town),” said
the Port Moody, B.C., native after Saturday’s game. “My
two grandmothers had never seen Yost (Ice Arena) or me play college
hockey. It’s great to see them because I know that this may
be their only chance to see me play at Michigan.”

Friday night was Parents’ Night for the Michigan hockey
team. Pre-game introductions were altered from the normal routine,
as players skated out to meet their parents on a red carpet. Every
player had at least one relative in attendance, and most family
members chose to make the most of their time in the area.

“This weekend is very special,” said Glenview, Ill.,
resident Irene Silva — goalie Al Montoya’s mother
— on Saturday. “One of my twins is rowing on the
Detroit River (Sunday). He got to come to the game with his
friends, and tomorrow we’re going to go see the regatta in
Detroit.”

Forward David Moss’s parents and grandparents drive from
Livonia to attend nearly every game in Ann Arbor, but their
attendance didn’t make the weekend any less special for the
senior.

“It’s pretty much the same for me,” Moss said.
“But (my relatives’) support is great.”

Henry Dymek, Moss’s grandfather, enjoys seeing the other
players’ families each year. Dymek believes that the event is
particularly special because this is the one weekend during the
season when parents come together from such distant locations as
Alaska, New Hampshire, British Columbia and Alberta.

Senior forward Jason Ryznar’s grandfather, Harry Ryznar,
makes the two-to-three hour drive from Muskegon to Ann Arbor for
most games. But his daughter-in-law — Ryznar’s mother
— traveled from Anchorage, AK, for the games this
weekend.

“It just feels so great (for the parents),” Harry
Ryznar said. “They’re so proud. (But) every weekend is
special when I come here. I’m happy (Jason) is playing here.
He’s doing a good job, and I’m proud of him.”

For Silva, it was the first chance to see her son play so far
this season.

“I would love to be here more often,” she said.
“Everybody here is so wonderful. I’ve become friends
with a lot of the parents — even the fans. That shows a lot
of commitment between the families and the players and the fans.
The dedication here is incredible.”

Even if he had been held scoreless over the weekend, it still
would have been a special weekend for Tambellini.

“I think it’s always exciting to have people come
and watch you play,” Tambellini said. “Just to have
(relatives) around and have their support — It’s a
great feeling.”

Penalty Box Overflowing: Toward the end of the third period in
Friday’s game, tempers came to a boiling point on the ice.
Senior captain Eric Nystrom, senior alternate captain Rogers,
sophomore defenseman Matt Hunwick, freshman forward Chad Kolarik
and senior forward Jason Ryznar all received penalties for fighting
after the whistle. In addition, Rogers and freshman forward Kevin
Porter were hit with 10-minute misconduct penalties.

Nystrom was even ejected for storming out of the penalty box in
a fury while the referees were sorting the chaos out. Before he
left, Nystrom roused the crowd by raising his arms and asking the
audience for a little more volume.

“We’ve had the same official for four consecutive
games,” Berenson said. “That makes it difficult for the
official, and maybe he gets rattled. And I can’t say that he
was or wasn’t, but I thought that he jumped the gun a little
bit on a couple of misconducts.”

Nystrom’s penalty was originally scored as a 10-minute
misconduct, but after the game it was changed to a disqualification
that resulted in a suspension for Saturday’s game.

“I was disappointed,” Berenson said. “On the
score sheet they scratched out misconduct and put ‘DQ,’
and I wasn’t told anything. It’s too bad that Eric lost
a game, but our team, I thought, picked up the slack and played
well.”

Earlier on Friday, senior forward Milan Gajic was given a
10-minute misconduct for arguing from the bench, and on Saturday
sophomore defenseman Tim Cook and Montoya were also whistled for
misconduct penalties. Cook’s came after he argued with the
referee over a tripping penalty, while Montoya was cited for
flipping the puck down the ice after a Michigan empty-net goal late
in the third period.

The intensity of the game even spilled out into the crowd. While
the players were fighting on the ice, two fans — one of each
team — almost came to blows and had to be escorted out of the
arena by the event staff.

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