Michelle McMahon, January 1, 2015

Welcome back, and Happy New Year! The 50th annual Great Lakes Invitational commenced earlier this week and did not disappoint with four great hockey teams showcased.

Two Big Ten teams, Michigan and Michigan State, advanced to the finals, and the Wolverines captured their 16th GLI title.

Penn State faced adversity in Pittsburgh this week during the Three Rivers Classic, losing to Robert Morris and Western Michigan.

Before we jump ahead to what?s in store this weekend, here?s a recap of the scores from earlier this week.

Michigan def. No. 5 Michigan Tech, 2-1
Michigan State def. Ferris State, 2-0

Michigan def. Michigan State, 2-1
No. 19 Robert Morris def. No. 20 Penn State, 4-2

Western Michigan def. No. 20 Penn State, 4-1

Now that college hockey is back in full swings after the holiday, let?s have a look at the upcoming matchups.

When: 8 p.m. ET Friday
How to watch: The Mariucci Classic will air live Friday and Saturday on BTN2Go (Friday's link); Saturday's BTN Plus link).
Players to watch: Defenseman Mike Reilly has 17 points on the season, tied for the team lead with Kyle Rau. Reilly leads all Big Ten defensemen in points and ranks tied for third among all NCAA defensemen. After missing seven games with an injury, Travis Boyd has returned to the Gopher lineup.
The latest on the Gophers: After a three-week break, Minnesota will be shorthanded this weekend with three players competing at the 2015 World Junior Championship. Last time they were on the ice, the Gophers took down MSU, 5-0, on Friday Dec. 5 and fell short in a shootout the following day.
Scouting the Warriors: Merrimack is 10-5-2 on the season and has notable wins against Notre Dame and Northeastern. Last Merrimack was on the ice, it tied and lost in a home-and-home series against Boston U. Hampus Gustafsson leads the team in points with 15, and Brian Christie is it leading goal scorer (7).
In Summary: The 24th annual Mariucci Classic showcases some of the most talented teams in the nation. Minnesota will take on UMass-lowell or RIT on Saturday depending upon Friday?s results.

8 p.m. ET, Friday; 8 p.m. ET, Saturday
How to watch: Saturday?s game airs live on BTN (watch on BTN Plus)
Players to watch: Goaltender Joel Rumpel has been a bright spot for the Badgers, with an .897 save percentage. Grant Besse leads the Badgers with seven points and four goals.
The latest on the Badgers: Wisconsin will be without freshman defenseman Keegan Ford, who decided to leave the team mid-December. Much like Minnesota, the Badgers are also coming off of a three-week break. Last time it played, Wisconsin fell 4-1 to the US U-18 team in an exhibition game on Dec. 12.
The latest on the Huskies: Michigan Tech is 13-3-0 on the season. Last time they hit the ice, they fell to Michigan in the first round of the GLI and beat Ferris State in the second round. Tanner Kero is the playmaker for this team, with a team-high 21 points.
In Summary: This has been a young, struggling Wisconsin team, but Michigan Tech has shown some vulnerability as of late. Although a long shot, this could be the break Wisconsin has been looking for all season.