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2011 Great Lakes Invitational Tournament Preview

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The Eagles ice hockey team is back in action today in Detroit, taking on Michigan in the opening round of the 47th annual Great Lakes Invitational. This year's tournament marks Boston College's fourth appearance in the Great Lakes Invitational, and first since 2003-04. BC is 4-2 in six GLI contests, winning the '03 GLI title by knocking off Michigan 4-1 and Michigan State 4-3.

Michigan State and Michigan Tech face off in the tournament's opening round earlier in the day (4 PM).

Let's take a closer look at this year's tournament.

The Field

Thursday, December 29, 2011
Semifinal #1, Michigan State vs. Michigan Tech, 4:06 PM
Semifinal #2, Michigan vs. Boston College, 7:36 PM

Friday, December 30, 2011
Third Place Game, 4:06 PM
Championship Game, 7:36 PM

Location: Joe Louis Arena (cap. 20,066), Detroit, Mich.


Michigan Tech Huskies (9-9-1, 6-7-1 WCHA)
Location: Houghton, Mich.
Head coach: Mel Pearson
Leading scorers: Sr. Brett Olson (6-13-19), Sr. Jordan Baker (4-11-15), Jr. Steven Seigo (3-11-14)
Leading goaltender: Sr. Josh Robinson (8-7-1, 2.72 GAA, .914 SV%)

No. 14 Michigan State Spartans (10-6-2, 6-5-1-1 CCHA)
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Head coach: Tom Anastos
Leading scorers: So. Lee Reimer (8-14-22), So. Greg Wolfe (5-12-17), Sr. Brett Perlini (4-11-15)
Leading goaltender: So. Will Yanakeff (6-3-0, 2.46 GAA, .915 SV%)

No. 20 Michigan Wolverines (9-8-3, 5-6-3-1 CCHA)
Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Head coach: Red Berenson
Leading scorers: Jr. Chris Brown (6-12-18), Fr. Alex Guptill (9-6-15), Sr. David Wohlberg (7-8-15)
Leading goaltender: Sr. Shawn Hunwick (9-7-3, 2.48 GAA, .917 SV%)

No. 3 Boston College Eagles (12-6-0, 9-4-0 Hockey East)
Location: Chestnut Hill, Ma.
Head coach: Jerry York
Leading scorers: Jr. Chris Kreider (12-11-23), So. Bill Arnold (11-9-20), Jr. Pat Mullane (2-14-16)
Leading goaltender: Jr. Parker Milner (9-5-0, 2.49 GAA, .901 SV%)

Michigan Tech has been one of the biggest surprises of the first half, compiling a record of 9-9-1 in the Huskies first season under new coach Mel Pearson. Michigan Tech already has a pair of overtime wins over Wisconsin, three points against Denver and an overtime win over Minnesota. That said, the Huskies have won just three of their last 10 and are coming off a 4-1 loss at Northern Michigan back on December 16.

This is probably Michigan Tech's best chance to take home a Great Lakes Invitational tournament title in quite a few years. The Huskies last won the tournament in 1981.

Michigan Tech will face Michigan State in the opening round, a team that BC dispatched 5-2 in the opening round of this year's Ice Breaker. The Spartans are also playing under a first year coach, former CCHA Commissioner Tom Anastos. The Spartans are currently tied for 6th in the crowded CCHA standings with Northern Michigan with 20 points, and are coming off a home-and-home series with in-state rival Michigan, losing 4-3 in Ann Arbor and managing a 1-0 shootout win in East Lansing.

Finally, BC's first round opponent Michigan has taken a rather sizable tumble down the rankings from the Wolverines' preseason no. 6 ranking. U-M is just 9-8-3 overall and 5-6-3-1 in CCHA play, and has played their way out of the NCAA Tournament picture at this point. At one point this season, Michigan lost six of seven games, with the seventh a 1-0 shootout loss to Miami. That losing streak included losses to Miami, Ohio State, Northeastern, Union and Alaska.

First Round Predictions:

Boston College 4, Michigan 2
Michigan State 5, Michigan Tech 3

Go Eagles!