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14 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 13, 1994
Blue goes for seventh-straight GLI
Short-handed unit gears up for State, Tech, Cornell at Joe Louis
By TOM SEELEY
Daily Hockey Writer
For the last 30 years, the Great
Lakes Invitational has given teams a
chance to work off those holiday meals
and get back on the ice after taking a
few weeks off for exams.
But when Michigan, Michigan
State, Michigan Tech, and Cornell
face off Dec. 29-30 at Detroit's Joe
Louis Arena, it won't be treated like
some midseason gift exchange.
For Michigan, who has won the
last six Great Lakes titles, this is seri-
"We'd rather go down in a plane
crash than lose at the GLI," Michigan
captain Rick Willis said. "That's how
serious the guys here take it."
The tournament traditionally
marks the team's return to the ice
after the semester break for exams,
but not all of the Wolverines will be
returning at once.
Michigan's top three scorers are all
expected to be out of the lineup while
they participate in the World Junior
Championships in Red Deer, Alberta.
Junior Kevin Hilton has already been
named to the United States squad, while
sophomores Brendan Morrison and Ja-
son Botterill left yesterday morning to
try out for the Canadian team.
Their absence will push a couple
of defensemen up to forward slots,
but the depth of the Wolverine
blueliners should prevent this from
becoming a problem.
"We don't feel it's going to hinder
us," Willis said. "We feel that we're
deep enough where if we're missing
one or two key guys, we can over-
come something like that.
"We take this tournament seri-
ously enough so that it's not going to
be a problem for us."
Michigan has always fared well at
Joe Louis Arena and since the 1979-
80 season has a 30-18-1 overall record
there. The four college teams should
also breathe life into a building that
has been conspicuously empty this
year due to the NHL lockout.
"I love the Joe personally," Michi-
gan right wing Mike Knuble said.
"It's got an atmosphere and a smell
when you walk into the building. It's
got that popcorn, hot dogs and spilled
beer stench to it. It's a great hockey
For some Wolverines, the tourna-
ment will be the first taste of the venue.
"You hear a lot of talk about it,
especially when there's so many fans
coming," freshman Robb Gordon said.
"We usually play State in the final,
and I hear that when we play them,
one side of the arena is Michigan and
the other is Michigan State."
Michigan enters the break in the I
schedule holding onto the top spot in
the CCHA for the first time all sea-
son. Wins over Ohio State and West-
ern Michigan propelled the team to a
first-place tie with Bowling Green.
"We wanted to go home for Christ-
mas in first place," Knuble said. "We
haven't played our best hockey so far,
but things are on the right track."
While prospects for the rest of the
season are starting to look up, the
senior's focus does not extend past this
tournament. No currentMichigan player
has ever lost in the GLI, and the seniors
do not want to be remembered for being
the first team in seven years to come
home without the trophy.
"Youjust don't want to be the first
class to screw it up," Knuble said.
"Ever since our class came in, we've
been winning it, and you just don't
want to be the class to go out losing it
and ruin the streak."
Freshman Bill Muckalt and his classmates will play in their first GLI Dec. 29-30. The Wolverines take on Michigan
State, Michigan Tech, and Cornell at Joe Louis Arena. Michigan is going for its seventh-straight GLI championship.
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