DETROIT, Mich. (WLUC) – Michigan Tech fell 6-3 to Lake Superior State in the 54th annual Great Lakes Invitational Championship Game on New Year's Eve at Little Caesars Arena. It was a one-goal game before the Lakers potted a pair of empty-net tallies late in the third.
"The guys certainly are disappointed in the locker room over there, but I think the better team won tonight," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "They won the battles and controlled play early in the game. We had very little sustained offensive zone pressure on them. It felt like we were just kind of hanging on all game."
Tech quickly found itself down 2-0 in the first period and had to battle back. Jake Lucchini picked up the puck on the sidewall, faked a shot and wrapped it around the net and in for his team-leading seventh goal of the season with 3:09 left in the first period.
Justin Misiak was hit in the head early in the second period, resulting in a 5:00 power play for the Huskies. Alex Smith capitalized on a passing play from Gavin Gould and Seamus Donohue to tie it up. Smith's fourth of the season was the first of two points on the night.
LSSU (11-6-1) took its lead back 6:00 later when Max Humitz scored from Anthony Nellis at 9:23.
Bryan Basilico pushed it back to a two-goal game in favor of the Lakers at 16:12 of the second period on the power play. Brayden Gelsinger and Lukas Kaelble assisted.
Misiak drew another penalty on a rush to the net early in the third and again the Huskies responded. Trenton Bliss buried his fifth of the season, and fourth on the power play, to make it a 4-3 game with 17:00 to go. Donohue and Smith had the assists.
LSSU had a goal waved off with 14:30 to go in the third to keep it a one-goal margin.
Coach Shawhan pulled goaltender Robbie Beydoun for the extra attacker with 2:12 remaining and the two teams skating 4-on-4.
Diego Cuglietta buried his fourth goal of the tournament into the empty net for a 5-3 LSSU lead with 70 seconds left.
Steven Ruggiero added another empty-netter with 52 seconds on the clock for the final tally.
LSSU outshot Tech 40-21. Beydoun finished with 34 saves. LSSU goaltender Nick Kossoff had 18 saves.
Cuglietta opened the game's scoring 10:34 into the game with Max Humitz assisting.
Hampus Erikkson made it 2-0 LSSU 62 seconds later. Pete Veillette assisted.
Tech was 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The two teams will meet again on February 15-16 with a WCHA series in the Soo at Taffy Abel Arena.
Tech is 10-8-2 overall and returns to conference play on Friday and Saturday at No. 8 Minnesota State for the first of two meetings between the two teams. The puck drops at 8:07 p.m. Eastern both nights at the Verizon Center.
GLI All-Tournament Team
• Goaltender: Nick Kossoff (Lake Superior State)
• Defenseman: Dennis Cesana (Michigan State)
• Defenseman: Collin Saccoman (Lake Superior State)
• Forward: Luke Morgan (Michigan)
• Forward: Jake Lucchini (Michigan Tech)
• Forward: Diego Cuglietta (Lake Superior State) – MVP