For at least another year, Michigan's school name and colors will hang in the rafters of Joe Louis Arena along with the Great Lakes Invitational banner. This is because Michigan came back from a 2-1 deficit late in Friday night's GLI championship game to beat rival Michigan State in overtime by a score of 3-2. Kevin Clare scored the game-winner on a tremendous feed from Lee Moffie to give the Wolverines their fourth GLI title in the last five years.
This was a close game for all 60 minutes, so it's no surprise overtime was necessary to determine the 2011 GLI champion. Neither team managed to score in the first period, and although the Spartans led for nearly 25 minutes of game action after Tanner Sorenson broke the scoreless tie in the second, it remained a one-goal game. This allowed Michigan to tie things up when Derek DeBlois netted a goal halfway through the third period.
It didn't take long for the Spartans to answer the DeBlois goal with another of their own. Slightly more than two minutes after Michigan tied things up, Brett Perlini put a shot past Shawn Hunwick, making it a 2-1 game for MSU. Michigan put the pressure on in an attempt to tie things up, but Drew Palmisano was playing well and kept MSU ahead. As time was ticking down, Michigan pulled Hunwick on a power play to make it 6-on-4. The move worked, as Kevin Lynch redirected a pass from Luke Moffatt into the goal, tying things up with only 50 seconds left in regulation.
With the score remaining tied at 2-2 after the final 50 seconds, the game headed to overtime. There were some close calls during the first half of the first overtime, but neither team was able to get the golden goal. Well, not until Clare scored 11:44 into the overtime on an open net. Moffie made a couple of nice moves to get past a Spartan in front of him and made a perfect feed to Clare, who fired the puck into the net for the game-winning and tournament-clinching goal.
The 3-2 victory gave Michigan its 15th all-time Great Lakes Invitational title. As mentioned, it is Michigan's fourth in the last five years. Michigan had gone without a single GLI title from 1997-2006 after winning nine straight from 1988-1996. Now the Wolverines are once again on a roll in the GLI with back-to-back titles.