Michigan Tech may have beaten the Michigan hockey team in the semifinals of the Great Lakes Invitational last winter, but there won’t be much animosity toward the Huskies when the two teams meet this weekend at Yost Ice Arena.

In fact, many of Michigan’s players and coaches share a special connection with Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson, who was a member of the Wolverine program for 23 years.

Pearson spent over two decades in Ann Arbor as an assistant and associate coach and was an integral part of Michigan’s recruiting efforts. After the 1999-2000 season, in which the Wolverines won the CCHA regular-season championship, Pearson earned the Terry Flanagan Award, which recognizes a coach for his career accomplishments.

Senior forward Luke Moffatt and junior forward Alex Guptill were both recruited by Pearson, and he was later the forwards coach when the high-powered Wolverines reached the NCAA Tournament final in 2011.

“He was like a player’s coach,” said senior forward Derek DeBlois. “He was a guy that messed around with you a little bit, always had a smile on and was always making jokes. He was fun to have around.”

Now in his 30th season, Michigan coach Red Berenson was around for the entirety of Pearson’s tenure. And though the former assistant will be coming to Ann Arbor this weekend with an opposing team, Berenson will welcome him warmly.

“He’s still a good friend,” Berenson said, adding that the two stay in touch.

Pearson’s duties at Michigan included scheduling, and he never once organized a game between his alma mater, Michigan Tech, and the Wolverines. The two schools have faced each other more than 200 times — with Michigan holding a 120-91-4 series lead — but haven’t met at either school’s home arena since 1984, playing almost solely at the GLI.

“I’m sure they’ll be excited to play here,” Berenson said.

Still, there have been plenty of memorable matchups between the two rivals. In 2007, Michigan survived the Huskies in double overtime to win the GLI, the fourth time that the Wolverines clinched the championship over Michigan Tech. But the Huskies had the last laugh when they met in Detroit last year. Goaltender Pheonix Copley stopped all 38 of the Wolverines’ shots for a shutout, and he then blanked Western Michigan the following night to earn the Most Valuable Player award and give his team the title.

Copley is still around, and it might be just as hard to put a puck past him. He was recently crowned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, ranks second in his conference in goals-against average and comes in at seventh nationally in save percentage.

That could pose an issue for the Wolverines. Disregarding a seven-goal outburst against Rochester Institute of Technology, Michigan is averaging just two goals per contest.

But by far the biggest battle of the weekend could be on special teams. The Wolverines rank fourth in the nation with the man advantage, converting on 30.4 percent of their opportunities. Meanwhile, Michigan Tech has had to kill off 33 penalties — more than any other team in the nation — but does so at a solid 83.7 percent, good for 21st in the NCAA. The Huskies have also scored two short-handed goals.

With Pearson at the helm of Michigan Tech, the Huskies have compiled the program’s second-best two-year stretch in nearly two decades. And as Michigan experienced harshly last season, a history of success over their rivals from the Upper Peninsula matters little when the puck drops.

“Every game in college hockey, as we learned last year, is a difficult one,” DeBlois said.

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