NEGAUNEE - Goaltender Tyler Riutta did his best, but he couldn't keep the Negaunee High School hockey team from opening the home portion of its schedule with a loss Monday night.
Riutta made 63 saves - 31 in the third period - in the Miners' 5-1 loss to Houghton at the Negaunee Ice Arena.
"He was unbelievable," NHS first-year head coach Darrell Sleeman said. "He kept us in the game."
Raymond Brice scored three goals and Connor Hannon two for the Gremlins (3-0), who led 4-1 after the first period. Jonathan Bostwick added three assists.
Michael Farley notched the lone goal for Negaunee (1-2), a power play marker that tied the score 1-1.
"We played hard, but struggled in the defensive zone due mainly to Houghton's skating and puck movement," Sleeman said.
Houghton4 1 0 - 5
Negaunee1 0 0 - 1
First period - 1. HOU, Raymond Brice (Bostwick, Casey Markham), 1:37; 2. NEG, Michael Farley (Vilona, Ely) ppg., 2:34; 3. HOU, 5:51, Connor Hannon (Pietila), 4. HOU, Brice (Casey Markham), 9:15; 5. HOU, Brice (Bostwick, Verran), 15:20.
Second period - 6. HOU, Hannon (Bostwick), 1:53
Third period - No scoring
Power-play opportunities: Houghton, 0-5; Negaunee, 1-4
Penalties: Houghton, 4-8; Negaunee, 5-10
Goalie saves: Houghton, 14 (Marcus Gloss, 7-6-1); Negaunee, Tyler Riutta 63 (15-17-31)
"But we didn't quit. We kept battling. We just have to work on puck control and getting shots on net."