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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FINAL: Rensselaer 4, Michigan 3

Karl Henkel/At the GLI

DETROIT –- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is making its first Great Lakes Invitational appearance since 1985 and decided to make some noise early on.

The Engineers jumped out to a two-goal first-period lead and notched the winning goal midway through the third in a 4-3 victory over Michigan Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

“We gave up four goals and that’s too many to win a game,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said.

The story of the game was RPI goalie Allen York, who stopped 43 of 46 Michigan shots.

“Tonight we got outplayed in the territorial advantage,” Rensselaer coach Seth Appert said. “But we found a way to come out with the win.”

The Engineers got on the scoreboard with two first-period power-play goals from Chase Polacek, despite Michigan’s enormous edge in shots (14-3).

Michigan broke through in the second when David Wohlberg finally solved York, but the good feeling didn’t last long. Just a few minutes later, RPI’s Paul Kerins beat Hogan for the third Rensselaer goal on just its ninth shot.

It gave RPI (10-9-1, 3-4-0 ECAC) a two-goal lead heading into the final period — a period Hogan did not play. Shawn Hunwick replaced him and stopped all but one shot. The one shot proved to be the winner. Hunwick finished with three saves.

“You’re tying to spark your team,” Berenson said of the switch. “You can’t keep going if your goalie’s having a bad night.”

The Wolverines (9-10-0, 5-7-0-0 CCHA) tied the game with a power-play goal of their own off the stick of Carl Hagelin.

Then, much like the GLI opener, which saw four Michigan State players notch their first goals of the season, Michigan’s Kevin Lynch picked a perfect moment to hit the back of the net for the first time.

His close-range shot with 7:56 remaining tied the game at 3, but the lead was short lived.

After a Rensselaer time out, Marty O’Grady put RPI back on top with a goal from a near-impossible angle along the goal line.

York and RPI withstood a flurry of Michigan shots in the game’s final minute, but it was nothing he hadn’t seen during the first 59.

“I was just trying to do my job,” York said of his performance. “I try not to look at the score clock because if I see a two, three, four-goal lead I kind of get lazy.”

RPI plays Michigan State tomorrow night in the championship game. Michigan plays Michigan Tech in the third-place game. Stay tuned to for the latest on the GLI.

BELOW: Red Berenson's comments on the game.

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