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College Hockey:
Clare plays OT hero, sends Michigan to Great Lakes Invitational title

— An overtime goal by Kevin Clare wrapped up Michigan’s 15th Great Lakes Invitational title after a furious 12 minutes of overtime play Friday night against Michigan State.

“We had opportunities to win the game and didn’t,” said Michigan State coach Tom Anastos. “Obviously, a disappointing result for our seniors and our team and this will be an experience we want to learn from and grow on.”

With a full 20-minute overtime on tap, it was clear that the two long-time CCHA rivals had saved the best hockey for the end of the night. After a fast-paced frame that saw both goalies make some spectacular saves, Clare found the back of the net with 8:16 remaining to earn the win and the championship for the Wolverines.

“It’s not always your top scorers that score and that’s what happened with us,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “We get a goal from Kevin Lynch and we get one from a defenseman [Clare]. It’s his second of the season, maybe his career.”

Lee Moffie made a great move to hold the puck in the Michigan State zone while the Spartans worked to clear space in front of MSU goalie Drew Palmisano. Rather than take a shot into traffic, Moffie held onto the puck while Clare pinched in. Then, Moffie found him with a pass that avoided all of the traffic in front of the net before Clare buried the shot and the Spartans.

“Moffie made a great play to hold the puck in,” said Clare. “Thank God that pass made it to me. If they get a stick on the puck, it’s an odd-man rush the other way.”

A player making an infrequent appearance in the box score also scored the Wolverines’ first goal: Derek DeBlois.

However, it was the Wolverines’ ailing power play that got them into overtime. With Michigan trailing by a goal late in the third period, Brent Darnell got sent off for a tripping call in the offensive zone.

That set the table for Michigan to pull Shawn Hunwick for a 6-on-4 power play. Luke Moffatt’s bullet of a pass from the far corner was redirected past Palmisano by Lynch to tie the game with just 50 seconds left in the third period.

It was just the second power-play goal for the Wolverines in the month of December.

At the same time, Michigan State got another huge game from Palmisano, who set a GLI record with 90 saves over the course of the tournament.

Palmisano was outstanding in the second period and had 23 saves in the third stanza.

In the second period, Palmisano denied both Michigan captain Luke Glendening and David Wohlberg with incredible side-to-side stretches before Michigan State could take the lead with six minutes remaining in the period.

Michigan and Michigan State both make a return to CCHA play next weekend with series against Lake Superior State and Miami, respectively.

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