DETROIT – Michigan Tech advanced to the GLI Championship Game for the fifth straight season with a 4-2 victory over No. 18 Michigan State Monday (Dec. 30) at Little Caesars Arena. The Huskies scored even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and into the empty net and came back from a pair of one-goal deficits.
Tech improved to 11-8-1 overall and will play Michigan at 2:30 p.m. for the GLI Title. The Wolverines defeated Ferris State in the second semifinal 4-1.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys played," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "They played with a lot of heart and determination and competed hard against a really good Michigan State team. We certainly have areas to improve upon, but it was a good win."
Down 2-1 entering the third period, the Huskies buried three straight goals to advance to the 55th GLI Championship. Tommy Parrottino tied the game with a shorthanded tally 64 seconds into the third. It was his sixth goal of the season and the third shorthanded tally for the Huskies this year.
The clock was ticking down and overtime was looming before a penalty was called on the Spartans with 6:50 remaining. Five seconds after the power play expired, Eric Gotz sniped a shot into the corner over the goaltender's blocker for the game-winner from Logan Ganie and Seamus Donohue. It was the fourth goal of the season for Gotz, and he has 11 points in the last 11 games.
MSU (9-9-1) pulled its goaltender with 1:20 left and burned its timeout looking for the equalizer. Matt Jurusik had to make one save and got helped with blocks out front by Brian Halonen and Alec Broetzman.
Alex Smith then scored a long empty-net goal from the top of the circle in his own defensive end to seal the win. It was Smith's third of the season with Gotz adding his second assist of the night.
"It was a big third period," Smith said. "Down 2-1 and coming out with the victory shows the character we have in the locker room."
The Spartans scored early in each of the first two periods. Sam Saliba made it 1-0 2:21 into the game with a power-play goal from Josh Nodler and Tommy Miller.
Trenton Bliss tied it up for the Huskies late in the first with his eighth goal of the season and fifth on the power play at 18:15. The Huskies worked the puck around before a shot by Bliss trickled under the goalie and in. Gotz and Halonen assisted.
"It was a big goal after they got that early lead on the power play," Bliss said. "It somehow got back to me and I was lucky enough for it to go in."
Logan Lambdin made it 2-1 Spartans with an even-strength goal on a breakaway 1:14 into the second. Jagger Joshua and Cole Krygier assisted on the play.
Tech had a number of chances in the second, looking to tie the game. Colin Swoyer hit the post with 8:30 on the clock, and Halonen and Parrottino also had great individual efforts on rushes to the slot but both chances were saved.
The Huskies outshot MSU 33-29. Matt Jurusik made 27 saves in his first GLI start and 11th straight start this season. John Lethemon had 29 saves for the visitors.
"We think Jurusik is one of the tops in the nation," added Smith. "He's been good all year and he shows up night to night. We came out slow in a couple of periods and he came up big. We feel confident when he's in net."
Tech was 1-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill after both teams were whistled on five minor penalties.
Tuesday's GLI Championship Game will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit and streamed on FloHocky.tv. Mix 93 WKMJ will also broadcast the game with Dirk Hembroff and Dave Ellis.
"Tomorrow gives us another great environment to perform on a stage and grow," added Shawhan. "We'd love to win a championship and it would be big for our program."
The puck drops at 2:30 p.m. at Little Caesars Arena.
Michigan State and Ferris State will meet in the GLI Third Place Game at 11:30 a.m.