Michigan hockey advances in GLI with win over No. 3 Boston College, will face MSU in final
Updated at 11:44 p.m..
DETROIT -- A fight broke out in front of the Boston College bench as Michigan hockey team captain Luke Glendening scored on an empty net in the waning seconds of the opening round of the Great Lakes Invitational at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday.
No amount of punches could make up the two-goal deficit the No. 3 ranked Eagles faced as Michigan started off the second half of its season on a high note with a 4-2 win, setting up a Friday night final against arch rival Michigan State.
The Spartans beat Michigan Tech, 3-1, in the early semifinal.
The boiled over passion of the Eagles players was exactly what Boston College coach Jerry York thought his team lacked in the opening period, in which Michigan was able to build a 2-0 lead.
"The first period was just summer hockey. We showed the effects of a 15-, 16-day layoff. We just stood around and watched Michigan," York said.
In contrast, it was exactly the type of period Michigan coach Red Berenson said his team needed against the fourth-best scoring offense in the nation.
Inside the first minute, a golden opportunity fell into the lap of Michigan's Alex Guptill as the puck bounced behind the Boston College net and right onto his stick just outside of the Eagles' crease, but Brian Billett was able to make a glove save.
Billett wouldn’t be so fortunate on Michigan’s next trip down the ice. Guptill found David Wohlberg near center ice as the two rushed the Boston College net on a two-on-one. Rather than feed Guptill on the backdoor, Wolberg put a shot inside the near post to put Michigan ahead 1-0 just one minute, 32 seconds into the first period.
It was the first of many odd-man rushes for Michigan on the night.
"We’ve been working on (fast breaks) a lot in practice, pushing the pace and just getting guys up the ice," Wohlberg said. "It just makes for easier passes and I think we did that tonight."
Michigan struggled on its first power play of the night, but the Eagles afforded ample opportunity for the Wolverines to correct its special teams with three penalties within three minutes of the first period.
Michigan scored on a 5-on-3 when Luke Moffat knocked in a rebound off of a Lee Moffie shot from the point to give Michigan 2-0 lead with 3:10 left in the first period.
After Michigan oushot Boston College 11-7 in the first period, the Eagles came back with an 11-5 advantage in the second to get back into the game.
Tommy Cross put the Eagles on the board with a wrist shot from left faceoff circle to upper right corner of Michigan net, beating Shawn Hunwick glove-side 6:50 into the second.
Cross wasn’t done for the period, carrying the puck deep into the Michigan zone on a BC power play later in the period, drawing multiple defenders before letting a shot off. Hunwick made the initial save, but Paul Carey was able to bury a rebound at the 11:42 point to tie the score 2-2.
Hunwick finished with 23 saves.
Despite being outshot and outplayed in the second period, Michigan still led at the intermission 3-2 after an opportunistic fast break goal from A.J. Treias on another odd-man rush off of a counter attack.
"It wasn’t deflating," said Cross of Treias' goal. "It’s part of the game, you give up goals, you get goals. We just tried to stick with it."
Treias was nearly able to put the game away in the third with a kneeling shot inside the crease, but Billett came up with the save. He finished with 25 saves on the night.
"Michigan had an awful lot of offensive chances on us, two (on) ones, three (on) ones. That’s a major concern of ours," York said.
Michigan will go for its second straight GLI tournament title and 15th overall as Michigan State goes for its 13th on Friday (7:36 p.m., FSD) in the teams' third meeting this month.
"This was important for us. We have confidence here," Berenson said. "We won this tournament here last year, that doesn’t give you anything, but our upperclassmen have had a lot of success here and I think that helps our team."