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MTU goes for back-to-back GLI title

Huskies claim 3-2 shootout win over Michigan State in tournament opener

Friday, 12.27.2013 / 8:46 PM ET / Recap
By Stefan Kubus  - MiHockeyNow.com
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MTU goes for back-to-back GLI title

DETROIT – For the first time since 1979, the Michigan Tech Huskies will have the opportunity to capture back-to-back Great Lakes Invitational championships, and their 11th overall.

In his last eight periods of Great Lakes Invitational hockey, Michigan Tech goaltender Pheonix Copley hadn't allowed a goal. And despite allowing two against Michigan State in Friday's GLI opener, Copley backstopped the Huskies to a 3-2 shootout victory. Senior forward Ryan Furne scored the shootout winner in the fifth round, while sophomore Alex Petan and senior Grand Ledge native Jacob Johnstone scored in regulation for the Huskies.

Coach Mel Pearson said the potential of back-to-back GLI victories would be a huge accomplishment for the program after a difficult stretch of struggling years.

"It'd be huge, not only for ourselves, but just all the people who have supported this program for so long," Pearson said. "We've got a great alumni base, great fan base here in all of Michigan and they support us. I've ben to this tournament 33 years and I always notice the Tech fans. I think it'd be huge for them and huge for everybody back in the Copper Country who have really supported over the lame years."

The Huskies and Spartans began the game in front of a Detroit sunset and finished it under the bright Comerica Park lights.

Petan said the entire experience of playing in such an atmosphere was bone-chilling.

"As soon as we hit that ice for warm-ups, it was definitely the experience of a lifetime. Obviously, we knew the ice conditions weren't that great, but we adapted well and I thought everyone had a great game. It was super exciting for me."

Despite not scoring a power play goal in the game, the Huskies built a wave of momentum from multiple opportunities and found a way to beat MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand at even strength at 13:10 of the second frame.

Senior forward Jacob Johnstone took a nifty spin-o-rama pass from Houghton native Blake Hietala to make it 1-0. For the Grand Ledge native Johnstone, it was his first goal and point of the year.

The Huskies controlled the play in the first period overall, but stepped it up a notch in the second stanza, outshooting the Spartans 20-5 in the second period alone and 27-10 through 40 minutes.

"We really took control of the game in the second period," Pearson said. "Even though we were only up 1-0, I thought we should've been up more."

With 1:42 of power-play time to begin the third period on fresh ice, the Spartans converted, as junior Canton native Matt Berry evened things up at 1-1, just 52 seconds into the period.

Minutes later, John Draeger's point shot found its way past Copley for a 2-1 lead. Sophomore forward and Farmington Hills native Ryan Keller got credit for tipping the goal in.

With 11:47 to play in the third period, sophomore Alex Petan tied it right back up for the Huskies, burying a rebound in front of Hildebrand in the slot.

With no conclusion after 65 minutes, the teams headed to a shootout.

In the shootout, it took five rounds, but Furne capped it off with a slick, patient goal for the win to send his Huskies back to the GLI championship game on Saturday.

"I was really proud of our team tonight," Pearson said. "I thought right from the get-go, we played well, considering the ice conditions. Both teams obviously had to play on them, but I thought we did a lot of good things."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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