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Aiming at GLI title

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Alex Petan scored the game-winning goal for the Michigan Tech Huskies in the GLI championship game against Michigan in 2012. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Athletics)

DETROIT -- If everything goes well, Alex Petan's final Great Lakes Invitational could be as great as his first.

As a freshman in 2012, Petan scored the game-winner in Michigan Tech's 4-0 shutout of Michigan to win the GLI.

"Probably that last buzzer, not really knowing much about the history but learning that it had been 31 years since we had won the GLI, it was definitely surreal being a part of the team that broke that deadlock," Petan said in a phone interview from Houghton, Mich. "Seeing the alums and fans and their excitement, it was a neat feeling and I hope we have that feeling again this year."

Petan is now the captain of the Huskies and ranks in the top five nationally in career points among active players.

"Being a senior now, I have more experience in how the season goes," Petan said. "It goes really quickly and every year has gone by so fast. Because you don't play that many games in college, you have to take advantage of each and every game, both individually and as a team. In the past if there were games you should have won, it comes back to but you. Now I know that you have to treat every game like it's your last."

This will be Petan's last GLI and having played in several, he's excited about participating again.

"Every year it's definitely the tournament to look forward to for us," Petan said. "As a freshman, I didn't know what to expect, it was my first time playing in a National Hockey League rink. Then winning the tournament, it's a great way to start of your college career."

The Huskies have played in the GLI every year and although they haven't won since 2012, it's always been a cool experience.

"The outdoor game, that was the first time for a lot of guys," Petan said. "Although it didn't go as well as the first year, we had fun and we competed well. Last year it was back at Joe Louis Arena. This year we have a more veteran team, everyone except for the three freshmen have played in the GLI."

It's been an exciting year for the Petan family as Alex's younger brother, Nic, made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets against the Boston Bruins Oct. 8.

"I was able to fly out to Boston," Petan said. "It was a pretty surreal experience for him, myself and my mom and dad. It was a fun time. He scored his first goal in his first game."

Petan scored in his first GLI and hopes to continue scoring for the Huskies in the tournament this year.

The four-team tournament starts with a doubleheader matchup on Tuesday, Dec. 29 between Michigan State (Big Ten) and Michigan Tech (WCHA) at 3:30 p.m., and Northern Michigan (WCHA) and Michigan (Big Ten) at 7 p.m. The winners of those contests will advance to the championship game on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m., while the other two teams will meet in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. on the same day. All four games of the GLI will be televised live on FOX Sports Detroit.

Michigan enters the tournament as the defending champion, having defeated Michigan State, 2-1, to capture their record 16th MacInnes Cup in the 300th all-time meeting between the interstate rivals. The Wolverines’ lineup also features the most NHL draft picks (12) in the field.

Individual tickets for the 51st annual Great Lakes Invitational are on sale Monday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. Little Caesars Family 4-Packs are also available for the GLI. The offer features four tickets, four slices of pizza or hot dogs and four soft drinks, starting at $49 per day.

Individual tickets, along with the Little Caesars Family 4-Packs, can be purchased at the JLA Box Office (313-471-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at DetroitRedWings.com.

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