From The Mining Gazette
Michigan Tech hockey coach Mel Pearson doesn't want anything to distract from what takes place on the ice at this weekend's Great Lakes Invitational, but attention will inevitably be directed behind the benches Saturday when his Huskies face the Michigan Wolverines.
Pearson served as an assistant coach at Michigan for 23 years, all under current 28th-year head coach Red Berenson, before accepting the job at Tech, his alma mater, going into the 2011-12 season. Saturday will be his first meeting against the Wolverines since then.
"It's not me versus Red, it's Tech versus Michigan, and that's how we're looking at it," Pearson said, "but I guess it's a little different, obviously, being there so long. It's weird, but very exciting at the same time.
"I can't say that I'm looking forward to it. I want Michigan to do well, except when we play them. It's a unique situation. I have a lot of friendships over there and I respect their team and the way they play."
While he doesn't want the attention on the coaches, he knows his time at Michigan could serve as an advantage in terms of preparation.
Pearson estimates he played a role in recruiting about 80 percent of the current Michigan roster.
"There won't be many surprises, not that there is in college hockey anyways with all the film, but I have a little insight to their better players, and that's an advantage for sure," Pearson said.
He has plenty of understanding about the GLI, too, having been involved in every one since 1977, when he started his four-year playing career at Tech.
He won the tournament every year as a player, including scoring the tournament-winning goal in triple overtime against Michigan in 1979.
He was an assistant coach at Tech from 1982 to 88, a period in which Tech never won the championship. He then became an assistant coach at Michigan in '88 and helped the Wolverines to nine straight GLI championships, but the Maize and Blue followed that with a 10-year championship drought.
"It goes in cycles, and every year is different," Pearson said.
Altogether, he has been involved in 16 GLI championship-winning teams.
The Wolverines are the defending champions and Tech has not won since 1980, Pearson's last year as a player.
Campus Location: Houghton, Michigan
48th GLI Tournament Appearance, all as either host or co-host
GLI Championships Won: 9, last won in 1980
Coach: Mel Pearson
|3||Bradley Stebner (A)||Forward||Junior|
|16||Steven Seigo (A)||Defense||Senior|
|19||Blake Pietila||Forward||Sophomore (participating in World Juniors)|
|20||Blake Hietala||Forward||Sophomore (Redshirted)|
|25||Carl Nielsen ©||Defense||Senior|
|28||Milos Gordic||Forward||Junior (Redshirted)|
Michigan Tech (4-10-3, 3-8-3 WCHA) is coached by former UM associate head coach, Mel Pearson. The Huskies enter the GLI looking for their first win since Nov. 17, a 2-1 overtime victory that capped a weekend sweep of Bemidji State. Since that win, MTU is 0-4-3. The Huskies have played in every GLI since the tournament’s inception in 1965, but they last captured a GLI title in 1980. They last played for a title in 2007.
Campus Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
43rd GLI Tournament Appearance, has been co-host since 1976
GLI Championships Won: 15, last won in 2011
Coach: Red Berenson
|8||Jacob Trouba||Defense||Freshman (participating at World Juniors)|
|13||Lee Moffie (A)||Forward||Senior|
|14||Kevin Lynch (A)||Forward||Senior|
|23||A.J. Treais ©||Forward||Senior|
|29||Luke Dwyer||Goalie||Sophomore (Redshirted)|
|37||Mac Bennett (A)||Defense||Junior|
Also from USCHO
The Wolverines are the defending GLI champs for two years running and have captured four of the last five tournament titles. Michigan (6-9-2, 4-7-2-2 CCHA) is tied with Alaska for seventh in the CCHA, each team having 16 points. The Wolverines struggled in the first half in front of two freshmen goaltenders who lack confidence, largely because they’re not getting much help from the defense in front of them; UM’s defense is 52nd in the country, allowing 3.35 goals per game. At this point last year, the Wolverines had netted 71 goals in 20 games; this season, they’ve scored 50 through 17. Michigan halted a four-game winless streak with that 2-0 win over Western Dec. 15, the weekend salvaged by the play of junior goaltender Adam Janecyk, who made 25 saves in his first game of the season, his first collegiate shutout decision. That UM defense will be without its best player for this tournament, freshman Jacob Trouba, who is playing with Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championship. The Wolverines have 15 GLI titles.