Michigan Tech wins Great Lakes Invitational Hockey title

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DETROIT, Mi. Michigan Tech won the 55th annual Great Lakes Invitational Tuesday (Dec. 31) with a 4-2 victory over the University of Michigan at Little Caesars Arena. Logan Pietila had a hat trick and Matt Jurusik made 35 saves as the Huskies won the MacInnes Cup for the first time since 2012 in the final game of the decade.

It was the first time in GLI history that the Huskies took down both Michigan State and Michigan, winning both games in similar fashion after being down twice in each game and scoring the final three goals for a 4-2 win.

"This means a lot to our fans and alumni," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "There's such a pride for Michigan Tech hockey in our community and anytime we can enhance and grow that is great.

"We had former players in our locker room last night who said they've never won a game here in their four years. It's a tremendous amount of pride for us to give our base what they deserve."

Down 2-1 entering the third period, Pietila tied it up 1:29 after intermission with his second of the night from Trenton Bliss and Tyler Rockwell. The tournament MVP had a give-and-go with Bliss in the neutral zone and fired a quick wrist shot from just inside the blue line. The puck deflected off UM goaltender Strauss Mann and hit the inside of the post before going in.

Tech's dominate third period paid off for the second night in a row as Pietila finished off the hat trick with a quick shot from the faceoff dot after Justin Misiak created a turnover and set up the play. It was Pietila's third of the night, fourth of his freshman year, and Tech's third hat trick this season.

"Logan's got a bundle of talent," Eric Gotz said. "He was just playing within himself tonight and things went his way. He's kept growing all season as coach said, and he put on a show tonight."

Alec Broetzman added an empty-net tally with nine seconds left from Alex Smith to seal the win as the Huskies were playing in their fifth straight GLI Championship Game. The tally was Broetzman's team-leading ninth of the season.

"We got outplayed in this game last year," Gotz said. "We host this tournament. There's a lot of pride in the crowd with all of our alumni in the stands. It's awesome for them to come here and support us, and we want to put on a good show for them."

Jurusik had a season-high 35 saves after stopping 20 shots in the first, eight in the second, and seven in the third. He was the goaltender on the GLI All-Tournament Team and improved to 11-5-1 on the season.

"As a goaltender, you just have to stop the shots that come your way. It doesn't matter how many it is," Jurusik said. "You just have to weather a storm like that and give the boys a chance to win."

Michigan (7-11-2) opened scoring 5:48 into the game when Nick Pastujov had a wraparound that squeaked in. Nick Blankenburg and Griffin Luce had the assists.

Pietila tied it up midway through the first as he finished off a setup feed from Bliss from the side of the net. Bliss was also honored on the GLI All-Tournament Team after scoring a goal against Michigan State and adding pair of assists versus Michigan. Seamus Donohue added the secondary assist.

Michigan ended up outshooting the Huskies 37-31 on the night. Strauss Mann had 27 saves for the visitors, including a big stop on a TJ Polglaze breakaway 5:00 into the game.

Only one penalty was called in the game when Michigan's Pastujov was called for elbowing in the second period. The Huskies buzzed on the man advantage and got a short breakaway from Bliss but couldn't find the back of the net.

Smith was dominant on faceoffs for the second night in a row, winning 18 to move into third in the nation with 239 wins on the season. He won 25 draws against the Spartans in the semifinals.

Gotz was also named to the all-tournament team after he scored the game-winner against Michigan State in the semifinal and added an assist.

Michigan Tech (12-8-1) wraps up nonconference play this weekend at No. 17 Arizona State. The Huskies and Sun Devils meet for the fourth and fifth times ever on Saturday and Sunday at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, Arizona.

GLI ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
F – Logan Pietila – Michigan Tech (MVP)
F – Trenton Bliss – Michigan Tech
F – Jake Slaker – Michigan
D – Eric Gotz – Michigan Tech
D – Dennis Cesana – Michigan State
G – Matt Jurusik – Michigan Tech