51st Great Lakes Invitational begins today

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Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

Tuesday’s schedule: Michigan State (5-11-2) vs. Michigan Tech (10-6-2), 3:30 p.m. EST; Northern Michigan (6-6-6) vs. No. 10 Michigan (9-3-3), 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s schedule: Third-place game, 3:30 p.m. EST; Championship game, 7 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

The 51st annual Great Lakes Invitational gets underway today at Joe Louis Arena. The 2-day holiday tournament features the usual suspects of Michigan Tech (host), Michigan State, and Michigan. This year and for the 1st time since 1998, the Northern Michigan Wildcats make an appearance as the 4th team.

Michigan State and Michigan Tech get things started on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, with Michigan and Northern Michigan battling in the nightcap (7pm). The winners face-off for the MacInnes Cup on Wednesday evening, with the losers meeting in the 3rd place game at 3:30 Wednesday.

Michigan (9-3-3) enters the tournament as not only defending champions, but the only ranked team of the 4 participants. The Wolverines are currently ranked #13 in the latest Pairwise rankings. The host Michigan Tech Huskies are coming off a fantastic season last year, and are just outside the rankings with a 10-6-2 record overall. Northern Michigan has been a very average team this year, with a 6-6-6 record. The Spartans, who finished in 2nd place in the GLI last year, have struggled mightily lately, posting a 5-11-2 record and are 1-8-1 in their last 10.

Michigan will be without star sophomore defenseman Zach Werenski, who is playing for Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championships.

Predictions:

1st Place: Michigan Tech

2nd Place: Michigan

3rd Place: Michigan State

4th Place: Northern Michigan