CHH Relevant Rewind Header

The Michigan Wolverines and Denver Pioneers have a long history against one another on the ice. The first meeting between these storied programs took place in 1951. The teams were long-time division rivals in the WCHA until Michigan left for the CCHA in 1981. The two teams met four times throughout the 1961-62 regular season with each team sweeping at home. All four games took place in February 1962. The tiebreaker would take place in the WCHA playoffs at the beginning of the following month.

The 1962 WCHA tournament included the top four teams in the conference and took place at the Weinberg Coliseum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Third seed Denver faced second seed Michigan in a battle of familiar foes in the second semifinal game March 2, 1962. The other semifinal game took place between Michigan Tech and Michigan State the previous night. The Wolverines proved to be too much for the Pioneers and won 8-4 in front of the home crowd. The legendary Red Berenson scored a hat trick in the game. As in the previous season, Berenson was selected to the All-WCHA First Team during the 1961-62 season. He was honored as a West All-American in those two seasons as well.

Both teams lost their next WCHA playoff game. Denver lost the consolation game to Michigan State 4-3 and Michigan lost the WCHA title game later that night to Michigan Tech 6-4. This marked the end of the Pioneers season while the Wolverines were invited to the 1962 NCAA tournament as the West’s at-large bid. Michigan lost the opening semifinal game to Clarkson but defeated St. Lawrence to earn the Third Place trophy. Michigan Tech defeated Clarkson in the championship game 7-1 to earn the program’s first national title.

Red Berenson added another honor to his name when he was voted to the NCAA All-Tournament First Team in 1962. He would later play in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. Berenson coached the Blues before heading back to his alma mater to coach the Michigan hockey team. He was the long-time head coach of the Wolverines from 1984 through 2017 and won two NCAA championships.

Denver and Michigan will meet Thursday, April 7, in the 2022 Frozen Four semifinal in Boston. This will be the 84th meeting in the series. The teams have only played each other twice since a 1981 WCHA playoff series and both games took place within the NCAA tournament. The winner on Thursday will play either Minnesota or Minnesota State in the NCAA Division I men’s championship game on Saturday.

In the featured image Red Berenson is shown scoring one of his three goals against Denver in the 1962 WCHA playoff game March 2, 1962.

Photo Credit: U-M Library Digital Collections. Bentley Image Bank, Bentley Historical Library.

CHH Relevant Rewind Header

The first game in program history for the Wisconsin Badgers occurred January 14, 1922, against the Milwaukee Athletic Club. The game took place outdoors where the Library Mall currently sits on the Madison campus. The team played eight games that season and went winless. In fact, Wisconsin’s first collegiate hockey win took place in that rink January 20, 1923, against Michigan. Three years later, the Badgers played fifteen games, winning eight and tying four, and still played home contests in the same rink.

Scheduling was unpredictable at the time because games were at the mercy of the local weather. In the 1925-26 season, Wisconsin was able to play three exhibition games with two taking place before the new year. Playing three games at Eveleth (2) and Virginia (1) across the western border proved to be valuable practice. The Badgers opened the regular season with two shutouts the following weekend at Marquette and scored 14 goals in two shutouts. The team didn’t lose a game until the back-half of a two-game series at Michigan on February 13, 1926. This set the stage for a big Michigan series at home at the beginning of March. Wisconsin entered the series with a 6-1-4 record.

On the opposite side of the puck, Michigan didn’t play the first game of the season until January 23. Wisconsin had already played five games and three exhibition contests by that date. The Wolverines hosted rivals Michigan State that day and defeated the Spartans 4-0. Michigan travelled to Michigan State on February 5 for the second game of the season and won again; this time 4-1. By the time the series at Wisconsin showed up on the schedule in the spring of 1926, the team was looking to right the ship after having just been swept by Minnesota. The Wolverines had played eight games at that point with a record of 3-3-2 going into the series.

Both games in March 1926 between Michigan and host Wisconsin were close affairs. The Badgers eked out a 2-1 victory in game one on Thursday, March 4. Wisconsin shut out the Wolverines the next day 2-0. The losses ended Michigan’s season with a final record of 3-5-2. Wisconsin was able to play yet another series the following week at Minnesota. Wisconsin was swept yet the Badgers ended with an impressive 8-3-4 record.

This series in 1926 was the fifteenth and sixteenth games played between these two programs. This weekend will see games 160 and 161 take place in the all-time series. Both games will be played on campus in Madison. However, the setting will be a little different inside the Kohl Center.

In the featured photo, three Wisconsin players and a Michigan player chase the puck across the rink. Games regularly took place in the daytime at this point in hockey history. A string of lights can be seen in the photo that stretches across the width of the rink. These lights likely didn’t provide an appropriate amount of light in order to safely play a collegiate game. This photo was date stamped October 27, 1926. However, no Wisconsin game occurred on that date and there likely wasn’t outdoor ice at that time. Trees in the background also appear to have no leaves which would be very uncommon at that point in the fall. Details on the opponent aren’t included with the photo but the opposing player appears to be wearing a sweater that Michigan players wore at that time. The last time Michigan visited Wisconsin prior to October 27, 1926, was the March 1926 series. We at College Hockey History estimate that is when this photo was taken.

Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives: Meuer Albums Vol 10. Photo by William Meuer.

Embed from Getty Images

The Great Lakes Invitational tournament began in 1965 with Michigan Tech as the host team. The Huskies were the only Michigan-based team that participated that year. At least three of the four teams that have participated each year since the 1979 tournament have been Michigan-based Division I men’s teams. The champion is awarded the MacInnes Cup.

The 2013 edition of the tournament was unique in that it took place outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit. It was held the final weekend in December and included four Michigan teams: Michigan Tech, Western Michigan, Michigan and Michigan State. This was the third time this grouping of teams had faced off against one another in the tournament. However, it was the first time this tournament was played outdoors.

This 49th edition of the tournament was included as part of the festivities around the 2014 NHL Winter Classic that took place on New Year’s Day. In that game, the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout at Michigan Stadium. The NHL game at Michigan Stadium was originally scheduled to occur the previous year – along with an outdoor Great Lakes Invitational tournament – but everything was pushed back due to the 2012 NHL lockout that season.

The first game of the 2013 Great Lakes Invitational was between Michigan State and Michigan Tech. The announced crowd was more than 25,000 on December 27. The Spartans came into the game with a 5-9-1 record in the first year of Big Ten Hockey. Michigan Tech had already swept the Spartans in Houghton, Michigan, the previous month. The Huskies also had a losing record of 6-9-5 in the new-look WCHA. Michigan State scored two early goals in the third period to go up 2-1. But Alex Petan of Michigan Tech scored the equalizer 8:13 into the period and that’s how it remained until the end of regulation. A shootout was needed to determine which team would advance to the tournament championship the following day. Michigan Tech’s Ryan Furne scored the shootout winner in the fifth round to send the team to the championship.

Embed from Getty Images

The second game of the Day 1 was between Michigan and Western Michigan. Sitting at a 10-2-2 record, the Wolverines were the favorite to win the tournament. Western Michigan sported a 7-8-3 record and represented the brand-new NCHC conference. The Broncos were the runner-up in the previous year’s Great Lakes Invitational. The two teams had yet to face one another that season prior to the tournament. The Wolverines got on the board first with a shorthanded goal by JT Compher in the second period. But the Broncos bounced back and scored two of their own before the second frame was over. The Wolverines tied the score in the third and that’s how it remained at the end of regulation. With just nineteen seconds left in overtime, Josh Pitt scored the game winner for Western Michigan to send the Broncos to the title game.

Embed from Getty Images

The MacInnes Cup would be awarded to either Michigan Tech or Western Michigan on December 28. But first the consolation game would be played between Michigan and Michigan State. The two rivals had yet to play that season. The Spartans surprised the college hockey world by shutting out Michigan 3-0. With many people picking Michigan to win the tournament, the team ended up in 4th place out of four teams.

More than 26,000 fans were in attendance to see which team would be the first to hoist the MacInnes Cup outdoors. It was a rematch of the previous year’s Great Lakes Invitational championship game that saw the Huskies blank the Broncos 4-0. In this rematch, the teams were evenly matched and both had great scoring chances. At one point in the second period Daniel Holmberg of Michigan Tech hit the cross bar for no goal. By the end of the game, shots were 33-31 in favor of Michigan Tech yet no goals had been scored. The game would be decided in overtime. It only took two minutes and one second for Justin Kovacs to score the game-winning goal. It was the second time the Broncos won the Great Lakes Invitational and first time since 1986.

Embed from Getty Images

The same four teams will participate in this year’s Great Lakes Invitational. It will be the fifth time this grouping of teams will participate in the tournament (with the fourth being in 2016.) However, it will be a showcase tournament with games being held at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing and Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. The first two games will be held December 29 when Michigan State will host Western Michigan and Michigan will host Michigan Tech. The two visiting teams are scheduled to swap ice arenas the following night with Michigan State hosting Michigan Tech on Saturday and Michigan hosting Western Michigan. Unfortunately, Michigan announced December 27 that the team is cancelling the game on Saturday against Western Michigan. The official release stated health and welfare protocols but it sounds like it is not due to COVID but instead to prevent wear and tear on a roster that is missing five players to the IIHF World Junior Championship in Canada. This tournament will look different than previous iterations and no champion will be crowned for the second year in a row since last year’s tournament was canceled due to COVID. But the bright spot is that college hockey will be showcased again this holiday season in the state of Michigan.

CHH Relevant Rewind Header

As the de facto home team in the 2011 Frozen Four, Minnesota Duluth made itself at home in St. Paul. In what is currently the most recent championship game decided in overtime, UMD won its first national title when Kyle Schmidt scored 3:22 into overtime. The Bulldogs had been less than three minutes away from winning it in regulation but Jeff Rohrkemper tied the game at 2 for Michigan. The only #1 seed that made to the Frozen Four that year was North Dakota. Both UMD and Notre Dame were 3 seeds and Michigan a 2 seed. The Wolverines shocked the crowd in the semifinals when they blanked North Dakota 2-0. UMD defeated the Fighting Irish 4-3 to stamp their ticket to the championship game. This was the first of three trophies UMD won in the 2010s. The Bulldogs’ second championship also took place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul seven years later in 2018. For the first time since this overtime thriller in 2011, Minnesota Duluth and Michigan will meet Friday afternoon in Fargo. The winner of this 2021 opening round game will face the winner of North Dakota and American International.

Michigan defeats Minnesota in Minneapolis on Jan. 6, 1951, by a score of 6-4. Photo courtesy of the Star Tribune via the Minnesota Historical Society.
CHH Relevant Rewind Header

Minnesota hosted Michigan at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on January 6, 1951. In the second game of the series, the Wolverines completed the sweep by defeating the Golden Gophers 6-4. Michigan was victorious the night before when they won 5-4 in overtime. These two teams face off against each other this weekend in Minneapolis during the final weekend of the regular season. Minnesota has a chance to claim the Big Ten regular season championship for the first time since 2017. The regular season banner would also give the team a first round bye in the conference tournament. The Gophers currently lead the season series 2-0 after they swept the Wolverines in Ann Arbor in December.

Embed from Getty Images

Michigan and Ohio State met in Cleveland on Jan. 15, 2012, during the Frozen Diamond Faceoff at Progressive Field. An attendance of 25,864 saw the #13 Wolverines defeat the #2 Buckeyes by a score of 4-1. The rivals were a part of the CCHA when this game was held; prior to the creation of the Big Ten hockey conference in 2013. This game would be the last time the teams met during the season. In the accompanying photo, Michigan players celebrate a first period goal from Chris Brown. The two teams will meet for the last time this regular season when they begin a two-game series this Friday in Columbus.