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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Tournament title an attainable goal for IU

Last weekend, the Hoosiers (18-4-2, 6-2-2 GMHL) lost the GMHL regular season championship with a 5-4 loss to Miami University (Ohio). \nBut a 6-1 comeback performance the next night against the Clubhawks had the IU men's hockey team convinced that the title for best team in the division was theirs to lose.\nThey'll get the chance to prove it this weekend, when all six teams head to the Forum at Fishers, Ind., for the 2002 GMHL Championships.\n"We're going in with a lot of confidence," senior Brandon Phillips said. "We've had a great season all year. Last Friday hurt a little bit; we really wanted that one. We know we're a better team than they are. We know we can beat them."\nThe action begins today as No. 5 Oakland meets No. 4 Michigan State and No. 3 Michigan meets No. 6 Ferris State in the tournament's opening round. \nAs the league's No.1 and 2 seeds, Miami and IU will face the winners tomorrow morning, with the Hoosiers taking on the higher-ranked opponent. The championship will be decided tomorrow night at 7:30.\nAlthough vengeance against Miami might be foremost in the Hoosiers' minds, they can't underestimate their first opponent. \nOakland was the one GMHL team other than Miami to beat the Hoosiers this season, but a pair of games against Michigan yielded no clear-cut advantage -- both ended in ties.\n"There's really four teams that could win it, maybe even five," Coach Rich Holdeman said. "If Michigan, Michigan State, Miami or our team is playing their best, any one of them can win."\nMiami coach Jason Szynkowski was ecstatic after his team's victory last Friday and consequent securing of the No. 1 seed. After the game, he was fairly decided on who poses the most threat to take that title away from them.\n"Definitely IU," Szynkowski said. "IU's a tough program. I've been around a long time, and consistently they've always been very disciplined, very skilled and very well-coached."\nNonetheless, Szynkowski is confident enough in his team's chances to win, as evidenced by his detailed prediction for this weekend's finale.\n"I predict Miami/IU in the finals," he said. "Miami winning 5-3 with an empty-net goal in the end."\nHoldeman has slightly different ideas for this weekend and, despite the second seed, does not intend on approaching the tournament as the underdogs.\n"I still think that our team playing well is the best in the league," Holdeman said. "If we get everybody playing hard like we did last Saturday, where we totally dominated them from start to finish, there's no reason we shouldn't win.\n"I'm telling our guys it's their tournament to lose"

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