DETROIT — Somebody should probably get Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland on the phone.
The senior captain of the Michigan hockey team looks so comfortable in the confines of Joe Louis Arena, he might as well just call it home. Luke Glendening led the Wolverines with a goal and an assist in their upset victory over No. 3 Boston College in the semifinals of the Great Lakes Invitational.
Glendening’s empty-net tally in the waning seconds sealed the 4-2 win. It wasn’t the game winner — that belonged to junior forward A.J. Treais, who rifled one in from the circle in the second period — but it was just the most recent in a string of stellar performances from Glendening at the GLI in Detroit.
For him, it’s just a matter of maintaining focus over the holiday break.
“I think it’s just coming back in shape,” Glendening said Thursday. “That’s a key part of my game, conditioning. I think maybe I just have an edge over people who don’t stay in shape over break.”
Glendening and senior forward David Wohlberg — another Wolverine with a knack for playing extremely well at the annual holiday tournament — kept No. 20 Michigan from falling apart when the two-goal advantage it built in the first period vanished in the second.
“We got away from our system,” Glendening said. “Once we got back into it, we were fine.”
Even though “fine” might be putting it a tad lightly — while the game was tied 2-2, senior netminder Shawn Hunwick fought off several Eagle shots that seemed destined for twine — he is right. The Wolverines never lost their composure and never once appeared overwhelmed by what was supposed to be their hardest opponent to date.
“This was a challenge for our team,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson, coaching in his 28th-career GLI. “We found a way.”
Friday, the Wolverines have a unique opportunity. They’re accustomed to winning this event — they’ve done so 14 times, more than any other school — but if they beat Michigan State Friday night, they’ll have done it as tournament underdogs.
With leaders like Glendening hitting their stride, Michigan shed that title pretty quickly after the puck dropped against Boston College.
“We’ve got a real history (at Joe Louis Arena) and a lot of confidence,” Berenson said. “This was important for us. We won this tournament last year. That doesn’t give you anything but at least it helps our upperclassmen.”