Ferris State defenseman Jeremy Scherlinck
doesn’t know why the disc in his back started oozing
its jellylike substance a couple of years ago. All
he knows is that it robbed him of his 2004-05 season.
Scherlinck's back bothered him throughout
his sophomore year in 2003-04, but he played through
it. Perhaps because of the pain, his five-point output
paled in comparison to his 18 as a freshman. And his
back only started to get worse.
It would “go out” during sprints or
while scrimmaging during the summer. Each time that
happened, the sharp pain forced him to lie down for
a full day or so.
Hoping to play his junior season, he
got some injections at the hospital in August 2004.
But they didn’t work. So his doctor gave him two options:
1.) Play as much as he’s able, get hurt every once
in awhile and miss a couple of weeks, then repeat
the cycle, or 2.) have surgery, miss the season and
come back as a fourth-year junior in 2005-06.
Scherlinck went under the knife –
on Christmas Eve, no less.
“It could have been earlier, but I would
have missed two weeks of classes,” Scherlinck said.
“And it wasn’t so bad at Christmas – I got waited
on pretty good at home.”
Basically, one of Scherlinck’s spinal
discs was leaking its “jelly” onto his spinal cord,
putting unnatural pressure on it. The surgery simply
shaved away the excess goop. It had him laid up for
about a week, and prevented him from doing any physical
activity other than walking for a couple of months.
He got back on the ice about three months after the
procedure, but couldn’t take slap shots or have any
body contact until long after that. And, certainly,
pulling on his Bulldogs sweater was out of the question
until this season.
“Last year was a pretty tough year,”
Scherlinck said. “I was still hanging out with the
guys, but I couldn’t do anything to contribute to
Scherlinck's health problems didn't
end there. During the second shift of his first regular-season
game in a year and a half, Scherlinck played a puck
in his own zone against New Hampshire on Oct. 14,
then took a check. It separated his shoulder.
“I don’t think he was timid, but there
wasn’t the usual sense of urgency when he was going
after that puck,” Ferris coach Bob Daniels said. “I
don’t think he was up to game speed, and he was vulnerable
because of that.”
So Scherlinck missed the next 10 games
and came back in late November. Only now is he back
to being one of Daniels’ top three defensemen and
a vital member of both of the Bulldogs’ special teams.
He has two goals and two assists in 22 games heading
into a series at Ohio State this weekend. And, most
important, he's feeling close to 100 percent.
“He makes the simple plays that are
effective, and that’s why coaches and his teammates
appreciate him,” Daniels said. “He doesn’t make flashy
plays, so the average fan might not have noticed how
much we missed him last year. His confidence is up,
and so is his ability to log a lot of minutes. It
looks like he’s right back to where he was before
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Expansion? Maybe: With
College Hockey America in limbo, CCHA commissioner
Tom Anastos didn’t rule out expanding his 12-team
league in the next couple of years. But he hopes it
doesn’t come to that.
“We would love to see that league continue
to operate,” Anastos said. “But if the CHA is dissolved,
we would have to figure out our position on moving
Anastos said he hasn’t received any
applications for admittance, although Wayne State
and Niagara have been rumored to be moving along those
lines. He has been in contact with CHA commissioner
Bob Peters and with “some” CHA institutions, but mostly
in a fact-finding capacity. Anastos said such conversations
were occurring before the CHA’s latest enrollment
quandary, which came about when Air Force announced
in the spring that it was going to Atlantic Hockey,
leaving the CHA with only five teams.
The CCHA already is the biggest league
in Divison I, but Anastos indicated that the conference
would at least consider making moves outside of its
best interests (such as adding teams it usually wouldn’t)
if the CHA folded and the measures would benefit college
hockey as a whole. Any expansion proposal ultimately
would be voted upon by the CCHA’s athletic directors.
“We feel comfortable with where we are,”
Anastos said. “(Expansion) is not something we’re
talking about an awful lot, but if you look at our
history, we do what’s best for our membership and
for college hockey overall. So we’re not closing the
door on anything. We should know more after our April
Fan heaven: On paper
at least, this weekend’s slate of games is the best
the CCHA has given us this season. All 12 teams are
in league action, and coincidentally, each series
pits neighboring teams in the standings.
The three highlights are second-place
Michigan at red-hot, fourth-place Nebraska-Omaha,
regular-season champ Miami at third-place Michigan
State and the home-and-home Upper Peninsula rivalry
between Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan,
two teams on the bubble for a bye (and even for home
ice) in the playoffs.
But don’t overlook Ferris State at Ohio
State, as those teams tread water in the home-ice
realm and try to ascend into the bye zone. That set
should be interesting, especially with OSU still,
miraculously, gripping an NCAA bid. At the bottom
of the standings, we find Western Michigan at Alaska
Fairbanks and Notre Dame at Bowling Green. If the
Nanooks and Irish have good weekends, they easily
could sneak into home ice.
Great Weekend Getaway
(Fri.-Sat.) This series will be played in the old
Bullpen (Omaha Civic Auditorium) because the
Qwest Center is booked with the Nebraska state
high school wrestling tournament, so the atmosphere
in the old barn should be electric. UNO is unbeaten
in its last seven games (5-0-2) and features
perhaps the most dangerous duo in college hockey,
Scott Parse and Bill Thomas. Michigan still
has a dogfight on its hands to secure second
place after a mediocre run through the condensed
part of its schedule.
While you’re there:
Omaha will be nuts this weekend, what with the
hated Wolverines in town for hockey and all
of the out-of-towners milling about for the
wrestling tournament. Pick any bar in the Old
Market, and you won't be disappointed.
to go, Miami, clinching its
first CCHA title since 1993. You know, we picked
Miami as our Breakthrough Team in the preseason
(pat, pat), but you could have made some money
off of us by betting that the RedHawks would
clinch the championship on Valentine’s
Day. Not sure anyone (Rico included) saw that
one coming. But they’ve done Oxford proud
not for a late goal Saturday, Western
Michigan could have been 0-5 against
College Hockey America teams this season. As
it is, 1-4 ain’t much to brag about. What
might be most troubling is that four different
CHA teams beat Western: Robert Morris, Wayne
State, Niagara and Bemidji State. At least this
lack of success probably will keep WMU from
abandoning the CCHA to become the CHA’s
sixth team, right?
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Nebraska-Omaha has started a
Web site, www.parseforhobey.com,
to advocate Scott Parse’s candidacy for the
Hobey Baker Award. Coach Mike Kemp believes that the
junior with 54 points in 32 games deserves legitimate
consideration. “It would be a travesty if he
didn’t get some recognition by the Hobey people,”
Kemp said. “He’s amongst the best I’ve
ever seen in college hockey.”
• It was a rather weak CCHA showing
in nonconference play last week, especially to finish
it off for the season (until NCAAs, of course).
Western Michigan had to rally with a late regulation
goal before winning in overtime Saturday to earn a
home split against Bemidji State, while Ohio State
lost the Frozen Tundra Classic to Wisconsin at Lambeau
Field. From this point forward, it’s all league
• Injury report: Alaska Fairbanks
forward Ryan Muspratt (4-1–5) is done for the
season after tearing an ACL and MCL on Friday. Also
out of the equation is Nanook sophomore forward Adam
Powell, who has been suspended for the duration of
the year for a violation of team rules. ...
Nebraska-Omaha forward Tomas Klempa is doubtful for
this weekend as he continues to recover from a busted
wrist. ... Ferris State forward Matt Stefanishion
has been ruled out for the rest of the season with
his broken and dislocated wrist.
• Alaska Fairbanks goalie Wylie
Rogers got a quick hook Friday after allowing two
goals to Bowling Green in the first two minutes of
the game. The move worked, as substitute Chad Johnson
made 38 saves in the Nanooks’ 4-3 comeback win.
• With the mercury reaching a
“balmy” 27 degrees, UAF practiced outside
Monday in Alaska. Assistant coach Wade Klippenstein
explained the location switch to hockey spokeswoman
Jamie Schanback as such: “It’s a nostalgia-type
thing. It was a game that was created outside, so
in part, it’s a getting down to the history
and roots of the game. The other part is many of the
guys have never played on an outside rink before,
so since the weather has warmed up to where we can
practice outside, we thought it would be a lot of
fun for the guys.”
• According to league research,
Ohio State is the heaviest team in the CCHA at an
average of 196.7 pounds per player, and Michigan State
is the lightest at 184. According to INCH research,
Bowling Green is the orangest team in the conference.
• Michigan senior Noah Ruden appears
to be the Wolverines’ No. 1 goalie of the moment,
starting the last four games. Not bad for a guy who
was the backup on this year’s INCH Dream Team
after spending almost all of his first three seasons
watching Al Montoya from the bench.
• Jason Blain has transferred
from Northeastern to Lake Superior State and should
be eligible for the spring 2007 semester. The sophomore
had no goals and three assists in 47 career games
for the Huskies.
• Buckeye notes: Goalie David
Caruso picked up three slashing penalties in 24 seconds
during the second period of Tuesday’s frustrating
6-3 loss to Miami. “He lost it for the first
time I’ve seen,” OSU coach John Markell
told the Columbus Dispatch. Markell added, “Sports
build character, but they also reveal character. We
revealed the wrong kind of character tonight.”
... The Buckeyes borrowed cold-weather undergear (think
Nike’s version of Under Armour) from the OSU
football team for last week’s Frozen Tundra
Classic at Lambeau Field.
A variety of sources were utilized
in the compilation of this report.