Hockey Huskies Begin Second Half at GLI Dec. 29-30
Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 • 7:06 p.m. • Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Mich.
Michigan Tech (4-10-3) vs. Michigan (6-9-2)
Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 • 3:36/7:06 p.m. • Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Mich.
Michigan Tech vs. Michigan State/Western Michigan
Live TV: Fox Sports Detroit (Third-Place Game)/Fox Sports Detroit Plus (Championship Game)
Live Radio: WKMJ 93.5 FM (Dirk Hembroff)
Michigan Tech Audio Webcast: Pasty.net
Live Stats: collegehockeynews.com
SHORT HISTORY OF THE GREAT LAKES INVITATIONAL
Michigan Tech has hosted the GLI every year since its inception in 1965. The tournament was born out of a conversation between then-general manager of Olympia Stadium Lincoln Cavalieri, Michigan Tech's legendary coach John MacInnes and Detroit Red Wings scout Jack Paterson. The men discussed how a prestigious collegiate tournament could generate interest in hockey among youth in the U.S. The first GLI was played at Olympia Stadium in 1965 and moved to Joe Louis Arena in 1979. Michigan Tech has claimed nine GLI titles, but the last was in 1980, when current head coach Mel Pearson was a player.
Michigan Tech will face Michigan for the first time since Mel Pearson took over as head coach prior to last season. Pearson, who played (1977-81) and coached (assistant from 1982-88) at Michigan Tech, spent 23 seasons (1988-2011) as assistant coach at Michigan under Red Berenson.
Michigan Tech is exactly halfway through its 34-game regular season schedule. First half highlights including a 5-3 win over then No. 1-ranked Minnesota Oct. 19 and back-to-back overtime wins on the road at Bemidji State.
Tech's top five scorers so far this season are all freshmen and sophomores. Rookie Alex Petan and sophomore David Johnstone share the team lead in scoring with 13 points on four goals and nine assists each. Sophomore Blake Pietila (10-2=12), freshman Jujhar Khaira (3-9=12) and freshman Tanner Kero (3-6=9) round out the Huskies' top five.
HUSKIES WITHOUT TOP GOAL SCORER
Sophomore Blake Pietila tallied his team-leading 10th goal of the season with a second period tally vs. North Dakota Dec. 14. The left wing is a 10-goal scorer in just 17 games for a .59 goals per game average—19th highest in the country. Pietila had 10 goals in 39 games during his rookie season a year ago. The former U.S. National Development Team Program member will miss the upcoming Great Lakes Invitational to participate in the IIHF World Junior Championships. Pietila and Team USA had practice in New York and pre-tournament games in Finland before traveling to Ufa, Russia, for the event which runs Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013.
PETAN AND KHAIRA AMONG TOP ROOKIES NATIONALLY
Alex Petan ranks 14th nationally in scoring among rookies at .76 points per game, while his line mate and fellow freshman Jujhar Khaira is 19th at .71. The two players were both top 10 scorers in the BCHL a year ago.
THE GOALIE SITUATION
The Huskies have used three different goaltenders at times during the campaign including a pair of freshmen. None of the three has earned the job outright. Rookie Pheonix Copley has appeared in seven games including six of the team's first eight contests. Fellow freshman Jamie Phillips, a Winnipeg Jets draft pick, has played in three games. Kevin Genoe has seen the majority of minutes since the start of November. The senior started each of Tech's last eight WCHA games and is 3-3-3 in 11 total appearances on the year.
SEIGO SHAKES SLOW START
Senior Steven Seigo shook off a slow start to the season (two points in his first seven games) to put up four goals and four assists at the midway point. The assistant captain has 17-49=66 in 130 career games. He is the Tech player with the most career games played and career points.
Michigan Tech played without the services of five regulars from its lineup at Wisconsin. Two of those five returned for the North Dakota series Dec. 14-15. The Huskies hope to get Justin Fillion (back) and Tanner Kero (appendectomy) back for the GLI. Daniel Sova (wrist) remains doubtful.
CAN DAVID STAY HOT?
David Johnstone had Tech's only goal in a 4-1 loss to No. 8 North Dakota Dec. 15. The sophomore flipped home a rebound for his fourth of the season and first one the power play. Johnstone has 10 points in his last eight games after starting the year with just three in seven contests.
The Huskies, who have already played six games in December, will add two more at the GLI for their busiest month of the year … Tech is 4-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game and 0-9-2 when its opponent scores first … Dennis Rix attempted a penalty shot in the second period of the Dec. 15 game vs. North Dakota. He was stopped on his attempt, which was Tech's first penalty shot since 1997 … Michigan Tech is 8-1-14 in its last 23 overtime games stretching back to 2009.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN
Michigan Tech and Michigan have met 218 times since the series began in 1921. The Wolverines hold a 120-93-5 advantage. Each of the last 22 meetings between the teams has come at the GLI. Tech's last win in the series was a 7-3 victory in 2000.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN STATE
The Huskies own a 78-73-2 lead in the all-time series with Michigan State. The teams' last 21 meetings have come at the GLI. Tech's last win vs. MSU was a 4-1 triumph in 2007.
SERIES HISTORY VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN
Michigan Tech and Western Michigan have played each other 13 times with the Huskies dominating the series to a 10-2-1 record. The squads have not squared off 1990. They met once previously at the GLI—a 6-2 Tech victory in the 1977 GLI semifinal.
NIELSEN CAPTAIN; SEIGO AND STEBNER TO ASSIST
Senior defenseman Carl Nielsen will serve as the Huskies' captain in 2012-13. The Amherst, Ohio, native was an assistant captain for the team a year ago and has played in 107 career games at Tech. Senior Steven Seigo and junior Brad Stebner will be assistant captains, giving the Huskies three defensemen in leadership roles.
The Michigan Tech roster includes lots of family ties. Chad and Blake Pietila are brothers, and Aaron Pietila is their cousin. David and Jacob Johnstone are brothers. Blake Hietala and Tanner Kero are cousins.
THREE NHL DRAFT PICKS
Michigan Tech went three years without an NHL draft pick on the roster until Blake Pietila (New Jersey, fifth round) joined the squad last fall. Now, the Huskies have three draftees in the program. Forward Jujhar Khaira and goaltender Jamie Phillips were both selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round (63rd overall), while Phillips was picked in the seventh round by the Winnipeg Jets (190th overall).