Close calls ruled the first day of the 49th Great Lakes Invitational played Friday at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Western Michigan beat Michigan 3-2 in overtime to win the second semifinal, a few hours after Michigan Tech knocked off Michigan State by the same score in a shootout.
Western Michigan and Michigan Tech will meet in the championship game Saturday night, after Michigan and Michigan State play in the third-place game in the afternoon. It is the second straight year that the Big Ten rivals will meet in the consolation game.
The Broncos won the game in the last minute of overtime when Josh Pitt took a pass from Jordan Oestrele and outraced a pair of Michigan defenders on the power play. Pitt converted when he roofed a shot past goalie Zach Nagelvoort (27 saves) while Phil Di Giuseppe was serving a boarding penalty.
This season, the Great Lakes Invitational is part of the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival, a five-day celebration of the sport leading up to the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1.
Michigan forward J.T. Compher opened the scoring in the second period when he gambled while the Wolverines were shorthanded, flying the zone early and putting himself in perfect position to receive a nice head-man pass from Kevin Clare at 6:35 of the second period. Compher got a step on the defender and used a forehand move to beat goalie Lukas Hafner to the far post. Hafner finished with 30 saves.
Western Michigan answered less than four minutes later, taking advantage of a Michigan own-zone breakdown. Shane Berschbach was left unattended in the slot and made no mistake when a pass from Oestrele found him with time to spare. Berschbach calmly slotted the puck past Nagelvoort. Will Kessel put the Broncos in the lead 4:37 later, converting a David Kilip pass.
Travis Lynch knotted things at two early in the third period when he scored at 5:38.
Michigan Tech 3, Michigan State 2 (SO)
Ryan Furne scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give Michigan Tech its win.
Furne beat Jake Hildebrand for the win after Michigan State's Villiam Haag and Michigan Tech's Tanner Kero each scored in the third round of the tiebreaker.
Hildebrand made 41 saves in regulation and overtime. Michigan Tech's Pheonix Copley made 24.
Michigan Tech's Alex Petan tied the game 2-2 with 11:47 remaining in the third period, converting a pass from behind the net from Mike Neville.
Michigan Tech took a 1-0 lead at 13:10 of the second period on a goal by Jacob Johnstone. Tech held a 27-11 advantage in shots after two periods and took a 1-0 lead into the third.
But Michigan State tied the game on a power-play goal by Matt Berry 52 seconds into the third period, then went ahead on a deflection by Ryan Keller at 4:02.
Michigan Tech hit the crossbar near the five-minute mark, had two breakaways in the final 2:05, and had a review uphold a no-goal call.