Detroit — Winning once is good, twice is nice. Seventeen times — that takes some talent.
Michigan’s hockey team won its 17th Great Lakes Invitational, and second in a row, with a 4-2 victory over Michigan Tech on Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
“I’m not keeping score,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “But I can tell you it’s great to win.”
Tony Calderone, Tyler Motte, Alex Kile and Sam Piazza scored for Michigan (11-3-3).
Jake Jackson and Brent Baltus scored for Michigan Tech (11-6-3).
Michigan Tech had a quick 2-0 lead in the first period on the goals from Jackson (2:55) and Baltus (14:21, power play). Jackson’s was the first of his collegiate career.
“I never felt comfortable in the game,” Berenson said. “I like the way we played, particularly in the second period.
“Tech was the better team in the first period, and they got the goals they needed. But I really liked our response in the second period. After that, it was anyone’s game.”
Tech coach Mel Pearson had a similar outlook.
“I thought it was basically three games in one tonight,” he said. “We never felt comfortable. We never feel comfortable playing a team that can score like that.”
Malcom Gould picked up a minor penalty for hooking at 9:09. The Huskies killed the penalty.
Baltus scored on the power play with 26 seconds left in the first period to give the Huskies the 2-0 lead.
“Brett Baltus is one of those players we’ve been waiting for to come into his own,” Pearson said of the all-tournament forward. “He works so hard and now he’s getting rewarded for all that hard work.”
Calderone took a pass from Brendan Warren at 1:48 of the second and put it behind goalie Jamie Phillips, cutting Tech’s lead to 2-1.
With 16:11 remaining in the second period, it looked as though Jackson might have scored for Tech, on a shot off the inside of the crossbar. It was reviewed, and the original no goal call stood.
Michigan capitalized on the power play when Kyle Connor took a slap shot from the right point, which went off Motte and in to tie the game. Kile gave Michigan a 3-2 lead at 19:06, with a second-chance wrist shot. Piazza’s empty-netter sealed the win for Michigan at 19:28.
Berenson said Racine, who played his first two games this week after missing a month with a lower body injury, did well settling in after allowing the two early goals.
Al Willman is a freelance writer
Forwards — Brent Baltus, Michigan Tech; Kyle Connor, Michigan; Dominik Shine, Northern Michigan; Defensemen — Mark Auk, Michigan Tech, Sam Piazza, Michigan; Goalie — Steve Racine, Michigan. Tournament MVP: Kyle Connor, Michigan