Notes from the first game of the GLI

It’s the middle of the first period of the Boston College-Michigan game as I post this, and I have to say that I’m shocked that the Wolverines scored two minutes into the game. I’ve called BC to win it all. As longtime readers know, however, that could be good news for anyone the Eagles play.

First things first

The first game of the tournament, Michigan State’s 3-1 win over Michigan Tech, featured two gents who were coaching their first GLI games after years of familiarity with the tournament via other roles.
MTU’s Mel Pearson won the GLI as a player all four years he played for the Huskies (1977-81), and then served on the Michigan coaching staff for 23 years, earning a dozen GLI titles along the way.
MSU’s Tom Anastos, a Michigan State alum (1981-85) was commissioner of the CCHA from 1998 until the end of last season. The Spartans won the GLI tournament three times (1982-84) when Anastos was with the team.
Understandably, Pearson is rooting for the Wolverines in the tournament — unless the Huskies face them on Saturday.
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Familiar foes

Even though it was the first time that Anastos and Pearson had met as head coaches, the Spartans and Huskies are no strangers. This was the 156th meeting between the teams. MSU has now won 13 of the last 14 meetings.
This one — being the first game back from the break by both teams — was a little on the gritty side. Post-game, junior captain Torey Krug talked about how Anastos told the team that winning ugly was still winning, and Anastos elaborated.
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The really important stuff

They haven’t announced attendance yet for the games — they announce at the end for the day’s total — but the place had a very respectable crowd for the MSU-MTU game, with the lower bowl of Joe Louis Arena nearly full and many fans in the upper bowl as well. As a veteran of the GLI, I can tell you that I’ve attended first games with barely 5,000 people in the rink, including everyone participating. Given that the tickets are $5.00, I think the place should be full.
I’m happy to report that the Michigan Tech pep band still rocks. MTU’s mascot, Blizzard the Husky, is charming everyone he meets.
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