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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wolverines take third place at GLI

By Matt Mackinder/At The GLI

DETROIT - Michigan, coming off a heartbreaker yesterday, came back to take third place at the Great Lakes Invitational this afternoon with a 5-3 win over a game Michigan Tech squad.

Lindsay Sparks' first two collegiate goals led the way for Michigan and Bryan Hogan made 20 saves for the win in goal.

Some wondered if Hogan would sit after getting pulled at the start of the third period last night for Shawn Hunwick, but according to Michigan head coach Red Berenson, "Hogie's our goalie."

Brian Lebler also added a pair of goals for the Wolverines, with his second being an empty-netter with Sparks wide-open to the side of the net for what could have been a hat trick. Lebler knew it right away and threw his arms up in disbelief.

Still, Michigan will take the win, even if they much rather would have played the second game of the night.

"Any time you come down to this tournament, your goal is to play in the championship game, so it's a tough game for the players and even the coaches, but we got through the game," said Berenson. "I thought we did some good things in the game and some not-so-good things. Penalties in the second period kind of changed the momentum of the game, but nevertheless we got through it."

Matt Rust added a goal for Michigan and said after the game that holding on for the win showed character.

"Obviously you want to play in the [championship] game," said Rust. "It's tough waking up knowing you're playing in the third-place game. It's important at the end of the year trying to get invited to the NCAA Tournament. I think it shows something about our character on this team. The ability to come back after a heartbreaking loss like that is not easy. When you're spirits are down, it's tough."

Brett Olson, Jordan Baker and Eric Kattelus scored for MTU and goalie Josh Robinson finished with 39 saves.

"Facing a lot of shots keeps you in the game," said Robinson. "I'd much rather face a lot of shots and be in the game."

“Tonight we battled hard, we competed and worked hard,” said MTU head coach Jamie Russell. “Michigan is a good team. We obviously play in a very good conference in the WCHA, but Michigan’s got good size, they play with pace, protect the puck well, good skill level, but I thought we went toe-to-toe with them with a roster that’s got 18 freshmen and sophomores.”

The Wolverines (10-10-0, 5-7-0-0 CCHA) has a home-and-home set with Western Michigan starting next Friday in Kalamazoo. Michigan Tech (3-16-0, 2-13-0 WCHA) plays at St. Cloud State next weekend.

Photo by Matt Mackinder/MiCHO

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