As part of the 2014 Winter Classic, Detroit will host the Hockeytown Winter Festival, with the Great Lakes Invitational being played inside Comerica Park.
Michigan Tech blanked both Michigan and Western Michigan by 4-0 scores last year to earn its first GLI title in 32 years. Goaltender Phoenix Copley earned the shutout in both games and was named MVP.
Alex Petan, Steven Seigo and Jujhar Khaira joined Copley on the all-tournament team. Tech has won 10 GLI titles. Five of those involve current head coach Mel Pearson—four as a player and last year’s head coach. He is the only person to accomplish that feat.
Michigan State is making its 40th appearance in the Great Lakes Invitational. The Spartans appeared in every tournament since 1979.
The Spartans have an all-time record of 46-20-3 in the Great Lakes Invitational and have won 12 titles, most recently in 2009. Michigan State is 25-13-1 all time in Great Lakes Invitational semifinal games. All time Michigan State trails Michigan Tech 75-80-2
Friday’s game will be the third meeting this season between the Spartans and Huskies, marking the first time the two programs have met more than twice in a year since 1983-84 season with the Spartans going 5-2 including wins in the GLI (6-2) and a two-game sweep in the CCHA playoffs.
Dating back to 1992, Michigan State is 14-1 against the Huskies in the Great Lakes Invitational. The Spartans have won the last three meetings in the Great Lakes Invitational, most recently in 2011 (3-1).
Michigan leads the all-time series with Western Michigan 71-33-10, but the Broncos are 6-4-0 in their last 10 against the Wolverines. Western Michigan also holds a 3-1-0 edge in neutral site contests.
Michigan enters the Great Lakes Invitational ranked third in the country and tied for the fewest losses in the nation with just two. The Wolverines boast the sixth-ranked defense in the country, giving up just 2.07 goals per game in 14 games this season.
A big reason for the defensive success has been the play of Zach Nagelvoort between the pipes. The freshman net minder has a 6-2-1 record with a .944 save percentage and a 1.67 goals against average through nine starts. Sophomore Steve Racine has also posted solid numbers in five starts with a 4-0-1 record, a .925 save percentage and a 2.77 goals against average.
Offensively the Wolverines have outscored opponents 45-29 so far this season and have been led by a balanced attack with five players posting at least 10 points and five players with at least five goals. Sophomore Andrew Copp is tied for the team lead in scoring with 14 points and also leads the squad in goals with nine. But, he will be away with the United States team for the 2014 World Junior Championships. Freshman JT Compher also has 14 points and was on track to join Copp but had to leave USA’s camp due to an injury.
The Wolverines will need Junior Alex Guptill, who is third in scoring on the squad with 12 points (six goals and six assists) to carry the load as the other players are off trying to help Team USA defend their gold medal.
This is Western Michigan’s fourth trip to the Great Lakes Invitational. The Broncos have made the championship game twice (1986, 2012) and won the whole tournament in 1986. WMU’s all-time GLI record is 2-3-1.