Michigan State hockey competed in the Great Lakes Invitational this weekend, falling to Michigan Tech in the title game

Print More

Emily Martin

Emily Martin

After a short break for the holidays, the Michigan State hockey team came back to training Tuesday to prepare for the 57th annual Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. There, they defeated Ferris State 4-1 before falling to Michigan Tech in a shootout in the championship game. 

The first matchup of the double-header tournament went down on Dec. 28, with MTU dominating Alaska Fairbanks, scoring three goals in the final minutes of the game. The matchup between Ferris State and Michigan State followed shortly after, to decide the matchups on day two. 

MSU was buzzing, anxiously awaiting their first competition back after the break. 

“I was super excited that the guys were jacked about being at the rink [after Christmas,]” Coach Adam Nightingale said. “I think that says a lot about our environment and the group of guys we have, they want to practice and you could tell right off the bat that they had done the work they needed to do.”

Thursday evening the puck dropped between the Spartans and the Bulldogs, with MSU claiming the first mark on the board, just a little over seven minutes into the first period. The first goal of the night went to senior forward Jeremy Davidson, with assists from sophomore forward Tiernan Shoudy and freshman forward Griffin Jurecki. 

For his fourth goal of the season so far, junior forward Tanner Kelly banked the puck into the net with just over five minutes left in the first period. 

Junior defenceman David Gucciardi prioritized speed for the Spartans, assisting in keeping the puck in the opposing end, resulting in the period finishing at 2-0 for MSU. 

Never losing any momentum or spunk, MSU came out into the second period with their eyes on the prize. Keeping with a recent pattern of high amounts of shots on goal, freshman defenceman Artyom Levshunov and freshman forward Gavin O’Connell were making moves on Ferris State’s net. 

Five minutes into the second period, sophomore forward Karsen Dorwart netted yet another goal for MSU, bringing the score to 3-0. With the possibility of a hat trick in sight, Davidson secured his second goal of the game after some pushback from FSU. 

In the remaining three minutes of the second period following Davidson’s goal, Ferris State finally put their first goal on the board. Shortly after, the Spartans secured another point thanks to freshman defenseman Travis Shoudy, finishing the period at 4-1.

Freshman goaltender Luca Di Pasquo was a player to note during the game, having a near shutout against Ferris State. Out of the Bulldogs’ 24 total shots on goal, 21 of them were saved by Di Pasquo and only one of them made it past and into the net. 

The final period was a slow end for both teams as it remained scoreless. Despite four Spartans competing in the World Juniors Hockey Championship during this time, MSU put up an incredible fight and was able to finish with a 4-1 victory against Ferris State. 

For the first time in over a decade, MSU had the opportunity to win the GLI tournament, and it created a confidence boost for the team following night one. 

“It’s huge, I have family here and obviously being from Kalamazoo is pretty cool,” Davidson said. “I’m just happy we could get the win and hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”

After going out on a high the previous day, the Spartans were even more energetic to prove their growth in the GLI tournament against MTU. MSU worked together to set up some perfect plays that fell just short of the net. 

Freshman goaltender Luca Di Pasquo continued his impressive weekend, saving 22 of the Huskies shots on the night. 

Around the halfway point of the first period, MTU claimed the first goal of the night thanks to junior forward Jack Works, but the Spartans never lost any determination. With four Spartans out at the World Juniors, Michigan State channeled a bit of a “next-man-up” mentality. 

Jurecki, sophomore forward Gavin Best, and freshman defenceman Patrick Geary stepped up to the rearranged lineups for MSU. Best brought the speed and aggression against Michigan Tech, assisting the Spartans with some powerful setups. 

Five minutes into the second period, MTU received a hooking call, and the Spartans took advantage of the power play. Sophomore forward Joey Larson put one past MTU goaltender Blake Pietila for a power-play goal, tying the score at 1-1. There was commotion in front of the net, but junior forward Red Savage and senior forward Jeremy Davidson assisted Larson in the point. 

The two teams clashed for the remainder of the second period, until Larson banked his second goal of the night with just 41 seconds left, assisted by fifth-year forward Nicolas Müller. MSU took the 2-1 lead going into the third period. 

MTU tied the board two minutes into the period and secured a 3-2 lead shortly after. Both goals came from Works, completing the hat trick. The Spartans refused to trail behind, as Savage tied it up with a breakaway shot at the 12-minute mark, assisted by junior defenceman David Gucciardi. 

The Spartans displayed major stickhandling skills in the final period, communication was strong and shone when it was needed. Neither team let up in the final minutes of the game, keeping the score tied at 3-3 in regulation. MSU and MTU were sent to five minutes of overtime. 

Overtime remained scoreless with both teams giving it their all for the GLI title. In a three-round shootout, Michigan Tech took the point and the trophy. 

MSU now has a 13-4-3 record and remains at 7-1-2 in the Big Ten Conference. The Spartans will return home to play against the US National Team Development Program at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing on Jan. 5. The following week goes into Big Ten competition away against Penn State, whom the Spartans have tied and won a game against earlier this season.

Comments are closed.