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The 2012-13 season saw several highlights including Michigan Tech's first Great Lakes Invitational Championship in 32 years as the Huskies shutout both Michigan and No. 7 Western Michigan at the holiday tournament. The Huskies's last GLI title was in 1981, when Pearson was a player.
Tech also knocked off No. 1-ranked Minnesota, No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha and No. 7 St. Cloud State during the regular season before pushing its WCHA playoff series at No. 4 North Dakota to a decisive third game. The Huskies possessed the nation's 11th-best power play in 2012-13 at 21.0 percent.
The previous season, Pearson led the Huskies to a 16-19-4 record and a WCHA Final Five appearance just one year after the team went 4-30-4. Tech was picked to finish last in the 12-team WCHA according to the 2011-12 preseason poll, but settled in eighth after having a chance to finish as high as fifth in the final weekend of the regular season. Michigan Tech won 11 WCHA games (after winning just eight the previous three years combined) and posted marquee wins over then No. 3 Denver (Oct. 28), No. 2 Minnesota (Dec. 9) and No. 1 Minnesota Duluth (Jan. 28) during the year.
Michigan Tech's offense has surged in two years under Pearson, averaging 2.86 goals per game compared to 1.88 the three years prior to his arrival. The Huskies have also allowed 1.4 fewer goals per game.
For the 23 years prior to coming to Houghton, Pearson was assistant coach at Michigan helping the Wolverines to a 667-243-71 record, 11 Frozen Fours and two national championships. He earned the Terry Flanagan Award, which honors an assistant coach's career, and was credited for landing the bulk of the players on Michigan's 1996 and 1998 NCAA championship teams. He also recruited dozens of All-Americans and several Hobey Baker finalists during his time in Ann Arbor.
Pearson, who was born in Vancouver, B.C., moved to Minnesota as a youth and played hockey at Edina High School. He was recruited by John MacInnes and played for the legendary coach at Michigan Tech from 1977-81. A forward, Pearson put up 56 points (21-35--56) in 97 career games in a Black and Gold sweater and also earned a degree in business administration while in Houghton. One of his playing highlights included scoring the game-winning goal in the championship game of the 1979 GLI. The tally broke a 4-all deadlock to beat Michigan in the longest game in the history of the 46-year-old tournament.
In 1982, Pearson was hired as an assistant coach at Michigan Tech. He worked under Jim Nahrgang and Herb Boxer during his six-year stay in Houghton. He was responsible for recruiting many high profile players to Tech including Randy McKay, Scott White, Damian Rhodes and Shawn Harrison.
Outside of the collegiate world, Pearson served as a coach with the 1996 United States World Junior Championship team, which earned a silver medal, the country's best finish at the event at the time. He has also worked numerous USA Select festivals and Michigan Select festivals as head coach, evaluator and assistant coach.
Pearson and his wife, Susie, have three children-Kim (27), Sarah (24) and Paul (21).
Muckalt works with the forwards and was instrumental in the Huskies improving their offensive output from 1.97 goals per game in 2010-11 to 2.83 in 2011-12 and 2.89 in 2012-13. Tech also had a nation-leading nine players who scored at least eight goals in 2011-12 and nine with at least six goals in 2012-13.
Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Muckalt spent the 2010-11 season as the head coach of the New Mexico Mustangs, an expansion franchise in the North American Hockey League. He started the team from scratch, developing all aspects of the operation including coaching, recruiting and scouting. The Mustangs, which were made up of 21 rookies, compiled a 19-35-4 record with 15 wins in their last 27 games.
Before his stint in New Mexico, Muckalt served as head coach of the Valencia (California) Flyers of the Western States Hockey League, where his squad went 20-16-3. He also worked as head instructor of Summer Hockey School at Ice Station Valencia.
Muckalt gained coaching experience with Eastern Michigan University's club hockey team as assistant coach in 2006-07 and head coach in 2007-08.
Current Michigan Tech head coach and former Michigan assistant Mel Pearson recruited Muckalt to play at Michigan starting in 1994-95, and the two won 130 games and two national championships over the next four years. The winger posted 105 career goals and 226 total points. He earned All-America First Team honors and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist while leading the Wolverines to the 1998 NCAA title.
The Surrey, B.C., native graduated from Michigan with a degree in sports management and communications in 1998, then made the jump straight into the NHL where he played five seasons. His most productive season came as a rookie with the Vancouver Canucks, where he posted 16 goals and 20 assists in 73 games.
Whitten was a big factor in the Huskies' defensive success the last two seasons. Tech allowed 1.4 fewer goals per game than the previous two seasons. He has also helped the Tech penalty kill make big strides including a stretch in 2012-13 when it was nearly 90 percent effective.
Prior to arriving at Tech, Whitten served two years as the director of hockey operations at Michigan State where he was in charge of the team's travel, video and budget.
From 2006-08, he served a two-year stint as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Alaska Anchorage. From 2004-06, Whitten was an assistant coach at Wayne State. Whitten was a four-year hockey letterwinner at Michigan State from 1997-2001. He recorded 35 goals and 40 assists for 75 points in 166 career games.
The Brighton, Mich., native was a two-time nominee for the NCAA Hockey Humanitarian Award and was awarded the Blue Line President's Award as the Spartans' top senior scholar-athlete at Michigan State. The holder of a bachelor's degree in communication and master's in sports administration from MSU, Whitten earned the Amo Bessone Award (athletic, scholastic and community service) and was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Team selection.
Following his collegiate career, Whitten spent two seasons playing professionally in the East Coast Hockey League. He won a Kelly Cup title with the Greenville Grrrowl in 2001-02.
Whitten and his wife, Angie, have a son, Joseph Michael.
Shields played at Michigan from 1990-94, compiling a 111-25 record and an NCAA record for career victories. The Wolverines won two Central Collegiate Hockey Association titles and made two NCAA Frozen Four appearances during his four years. Shields was named All-CCHA First Team and All-America Second Team as both a junior and senior.
Shields, who earned a bachelor's degree in education from Michigan in 1994, went on to a 12-year professional career that included stops at six different NHL teams (Buffalo, San Jose, Anaheim, Boston, Florida and Atlanta). The North Bay, Ontario, native was a Buffalo Sabres draft choice in 1991 but played most of his games with the San Jose Sharks. His overall NHL career included a 2.67 GAA and .911 save percentage in 246 games played. Shields won the Calder Cup as a member of the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans in 1996.
During his time as a player, Shields was taught by four of the hockey world's most respected goaltending coaches: Mitch Korn (Buffalo), Warren Strelow (San Jose), Wayne Thomas (San Jose) and Francois Allaire (Anaheim).
Following the end of his playing career, Shields founded iCoach.com, an online coaching solution and video synchronization software. He has been involved in the development of young goaltenders through that initiative since 2008.