DETROIT, Mich. - Justin Kovacs scored 2:01 into overtime to break a scoreless tie and give Western Michigan the 1-0 victory over Michigan Tech in the Great Lakes Invitational Championship game tonight at Comerica Park. The Broncos' Lukas Hafner stopped all 33 shots he faced, and Tech's Pheonix Copley made 30 saves before the game winner trickled across the goal line.
"It's a tough loss," said head coach Mel Pearson. "There's a fine line between winning and losing, and we didn't get the bounce tonight."
Both teams had scoring chances in an evenly-played game. The shots were 33-31 in favor of the Huskies, and each team killed three penalties.
Daniel Holmberg hit the cross bar in the second period, and Tech had at least one other sail just over the net.
Blake Pietila missed on a breakaway in the third period. Copley kept the Huskies in the game with 10 big saves in the third, and the Black and Gold had a timely power play with 2:38 left in regulation.
Hafner stopped several point-blank chances to send the game to overtime.
After a full intermission, the teams returned to the ice. Just two minutes into the first 20-minute extra session, Copley paddled away a shot, but it went straight to Kovacs who shot it back on net. He didn't get much on the shot, but it snuck through Copley's right pad and just across the goal line.
"Pheonix played great," said Pearson. "He made it look easy for most of the night, and he gave us a chance to win.
"We created chances, but they're just not going in right now. The goaltending and defense were really good in this game."
Forward Alex Petan, who had the game-tying goal in last night's semifinal, and defenseman Riley Sweeney were named to the GLI All-Tournament Team.
Michigan Tech will be back in action next weekend with a WCHA series at Lake Superior State. Games are Friday and Saturday (Jan. 3-4) at 7:37 and 7:07 p.m., respectively.
Notes: Tech made back-to-back appearances in the GLI Championship game for the first time since 1983-84 ... Copley has turned in 11 full periods of shutout hockey in four career GLI games with a .976 save percentage (124 saves on 127 shots).