If there’s one thing that the GLI has taught this year, it’s that the momentum that comes with quick goals is fleeting.
After Colorado College (12-9-1) gained the lead on two markers scored 55 seconds apart early in the third period, the Wolverines (12-5-4) battled back to score two quick goals of their own 10 minutes later, the second one a quirky bounce that held up to be the game-winner in this 6-5 championship decision.
“We got lucky or we stayed with,” said Michigan head coach Red Berenson. “We did get chances. We continued to play hard and play well and we needed a break and Luke Glendening’s goal…I thought was a big goal.
“Then getting pucks to the net—we got lucky on A.J.’s goal. He ripped it at the net from the corner and it goes in. Another night that doesn’t go in.”
Glendening scored twice in this game and once in Michigan’s 4-2 semifinal win over Michigan Tech. A.J. Treais’ game-winning goal was a centering pass aimed at Lindsay Sparks, but Treais hit Tiger defenseman Eamonn McDermott’s skate and the puck ricocheted back into the net between goaltender Joe Howe’s left skate and the right post to put the Wolverines ahead for the last time in the game.
“We battled hard at the start of the game to get the lead,” said Berenson, “they came back, and then it was a great game. I don’t know how the fans saw it, but that third period was a pretty exciting period.”
The game was a race from nearly the opening drop of the puck through the end.
Ben Winnett scored 39 seconds in on his first shift of the game to give Michigan a 1-0 lead, and Glendening’s first goal of the night at 10:43, shorthanded, gave the Wolverines a 2-0 lead, one that was short lived, as McDermott scored 34 seconds later on the power play to cut the lead to one again—and Matt Rust was in the penalty box for Michigan on both of those goals.
Then at 14:53 in the first, CC’s Stephen Schultz scored his first of the night, another power-play goal, to bring the score to 2-2 after one.
“It was an exciting college game to watch,” said CC head coach Scott Owens. “It was great theater, great entertainment. It was two pretty good offensive teams going toe to toe.”
The Tigers ended the game with four power-play goals, including Nick Dineen’s goal at 12:34 in the second, sandwiched between two Wolverine markers, Louie Caporusso’s highlight-reel goal from the left circle at 10:16—skating backwards, he took the puck, spun and fired, and beat Howe clean to make it 3-2—and Glendening’s second of the evening.
Schultz and Tyler Johnson found the net 55 seconds apart early in the third, Schultz even strength and Johnson on the power play—walking through the right circle and deking UM defenders Brandon Burlon and Lee Moffie in the process—but the Tigers couldn’t maintain the momentum from their only lead of the game.
At 12:06 in the third, Johnson was called for goaltender interference and Moffie scored to tie the game with six seconds remaining on that Wolverine power play. At 15:56, Treais got a little lucky.
Treais on his game-winning goal:
“I was especially proud of our guys’ compete level and our battle level considering how young we are with three seniors in the lineup and no NHL draft picks,” said Owens. “I thought we held our own and we just got a little bit unlucky—a little bit unlucky in the end. It was a very lucky goal that ricocheted in and a power-play goal to tie it, but I thought we competed and I thought we represented ourselves very well in this tournament.”
Berenson called the Wolverines’ 13th GLI title a confidence builder.
“It’s a home rink. It’s good for your confidence to get back to the Joe, which our goal is to get back to the Joe in the CCHA playoffs. To play in a venue like this and have success, it’s good for our young players to get a feel for what it’s like to play in these games and a little history.
“Then you look at our senior class and I think that’s three GLI championships in four years, so good for them—because it wasn’t always like this.”
Both Colorado College and Michigan will begin their second halves with league play. The Tigers will travel to Anchorage for two games Jan. 14-15, while the Wolverines play a home-and-home series against Michigan State Jan. 7-8, hosting the second night.
Michigan raises banner:
GLI all-tournament team: