December 28, 2006
Great Lakes Invitational

Joe Louis Arena • Detroit

Holiday Tournament Preview


Friday, December 29
Michigan State vs. Harvard, 4:35 p.m.
Michigan vs. Michigan Tech, 8:05 p.m.

Saturday, December 30
Consolation game, 4:05 p.m.
Championship game, 7:35 p.m.

On TV: All games shown live on Fox Sports Detroit, except Michigan vs. Michigan Tech, which will be tape delayed until 11 p.m.


Colorado College coasted to its first GLI title, jumping to a 6-0 lead in beating Michigan State 6-3 in the championship game. The Tigers thrashed Michigan 6-1 on the first day, and Joey Crabb won tourney MVP honors with his seven-point effort.

The Spartans beat Michigan Tech 3-2 in overtime in the first round, then the Wolverines bettered their tournament co-hosts 5-3 in the consolation match.


Michigan has lost its last eight GLI games to teams other than Michigan Tech, dating to a 1999 win over Lake Superior State. The Wolverines are 5-1 against Tech during that span. ... History suggests that the winner of the MSU-Harvard game will take the tournament crown. Since 1997, the GLI has been won by either the Spartans or the “guest” participant. ... Harvard captain Dylan Reese and MSU captain Chris Lawrence were teammates on the Pittsburgh Forge’s 2003 NAHL championship squad. ... This is Harvard’s fifth GLI appearance, and first since 1991.


The best bet for thrill-a-minute hockey would be keeping an eye on the Michigan tandem of T.J. Hensick and Kevin Porter. Hensick might be the best playmaker in the college game, and Porter has made a living (figuratively, of course) by being the marksman at the other end of Hensick’s passes.

Speaking of slick playmakers, MSU’s Tim Kennedy has emerged as a highlight generator this season, showing quick feet and even quicker hands as he has jumped to the top of the Spartans’ scoring chart.

Up in Houghton, the Huskies’ sophomore goaltending tandem of Michael-Lee Teslak and Rob Nolan has stolen the show. (Given recent MTU history, who saw that coming?) But also keep an eye on offensively gifted defensemen Lars Helminen and Eli Vlaisavljevich.

The Crimson, who have played just one game in the last month, are led by senior center Kevin Du and senior defenseman Dylan Reese. Neither is spectacular in the jaw-dropping sense, but both are spectacular in terms of playing hockey the right way.


This might be the toughest GLI to call in years, with all four entrants seeming capable of winning the thing. Michigan and Michigan State are far from invincible, Harvard is supposed to be better than it is, and Michigan Tech is better than it has been. The Huskies, who haven’t won their event since 1980, are the only team not short-handed because of the world junior tournament. U-M is missing defenseman Jack Johnson and forward Andrew Cogliano. MSU is short forward Justin Abdelkader. Harvard is without forward Jimmy Fraser. Might that open the door to Tech?

First, the Huskies will have to get past the mighty Wolverines ... and we’ll say they do. Tech’s defense has tightened significantly this season, and U-M has not played well with Johnson out of the lineup. In the other semi, we’ll take MSU over rusty Harvard and former Spartan goalie Justin Tobe. That sets up an intriguing final between Michigan Tech and Michigan State — one that could go either way. Though we’d love to see the Huskies end their quarter-century-plus GLI drought, we’ll take MSU on the condition that goalie Jeff Lerg continues his improved play. (And for the other guys, we’ll go with Michigan over Harvard in overtime in the
consolation game.)

— James Jahnke