DETROIT – The Western Michigan Broncos (No. 7) will take on the unranked Michigan Tech Huskies in the championship game of the 48th Annual Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 30, at Joe Louis Arena. Longtime archrivals Michigan and Michigan State, meanwhile, are set to square off in the tournament’s Third-Place Game beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Appearing in their first GLI since capturing the MacInnes Cup in 1986, Western Michigan defeated the Spartans in today’s opening semifinal, emerging victorious from the first shootout in tournament history to take the decision by a 2-1 final. Dearborn Heights, Mich. native Mike Leone proved to be the game’s hero, netting a skate-off, victory-clinching goal in the fourth round of a dramatic breakaway contest which followed an intense 65-minute-plus goaltending duel between Western Michigan’s Frank Slubowski (22 saves, 4-for-4 in shootout) and Michigan State’s Jake Hildebrand (31 saves, 3-for-4 in shootout).
The Huskies then defeated the Wolverines in the second semifinal matchup of the day, with freshman netminder Pheonix Copley recording the first shutout of his NCAA career in backstopping the tournament hosts to 4-0 win in front of 16, 439 ‘College Hockey in the D’ enthusiasts. Michigan Tech has hosted the GLI every winter since its inception in 1965 and has hoisted the MacInnes Cup on nine occasions, most recently in 1980 when current head coach Mel Pearson was a junior forward on the team.
Tickets to tomorrow’s GLI action are on sale now at the JLA Box Office (313-396-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at OlympiaEntertainment.com. Sunday’s afternoon showdown will air live on FOX Sports Detroit while the evening matchup will appear on FSD-Plus.
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