HOUGHTON - On a night when their offense was a little bit off, the Jeffers Jets used solid defense and clutch goaltending to score a a 4-1 hockey victory over the Negaunee Miners Tuesday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
And a couple of peculiar goals didn't hurt, either.
The first goal of that variety came early in the first period when David Pollard put up a knuckleball shot that fluttered past NHS goalie Anthony Moyle.
Jeffers players celebrate a goal during Tuesday’s game against Negaunee at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Jets beat the Miners, 4-1. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
Then Nick Harris banged a shot that glanced off Moyle's pads into the net to give the Green and White a 2-1 lead after one period.
Negaunee freshman forward Trevor Borlace had tied the game a couple of minutes earlier with the lone goal his team could muster on the night.
"We were having trouble finishing off our chances, but then we got a couple ... of fortunate ones," JHS coach David Bekkala said. "And they (Miners) rang four posts. Coming out of the period, I thought our intensity was not where it needed to be. But we played pretty solid defense after that."
Negaunee 1 0 0 - 1
Jeffers 2 1 1 - 4
First period - 1, J - David Pollard (unassisted) 5:23; 2, N - Trevor Borlace (Chad Larson); 3, J - Nick Harris (Pollard) 10:28.
Second period - 4, J - Drew Morris (Tyler Bailey).
Third period - 5, J - Stephen Butina (Morris, Lance Kangas) 15:51 (PP)
Goalie saves - Moyle, N, 41 (16-14-11); Durocher, J, 20 (5-10-5).
The Jets defense was called on to kill a 5-on-3 disadvantage late in the second period.
Led by senior defenseman Anthony Harris and goalie Dax Durocher, the Range crew held off the Marquette County team.
"I thought our defense did a nice job of clearing the puck from in front of Dax," Bekkala said. "And it was nice to see our senior goalie come up with some big saves at that point of the game, he played well."
Negaunee coach Darrel Sleeman felt his team made too many mistakes.
"We turned the puck over (30 passing miscues) way too many times, you can't have that and expect to win," he said. "But Jeffers played a good hockey game, I don't want to take anything away from them."
Just the night before, Houghton forced Miners netminder Tyler Riutta to block 61 shots in a 5-1 loss.
Moyle was called on to block 41 shots last night, while Durocher made 20 saves.
The only scoring in the second period came late when Drew Morris whistled in a shot from the top of the faceoff circle.
Stephen Butina put the game on ice when he poked in a power-play marker at the 15:51 mark.
Sleeman said his team, which has five football players, is still finding its legs.
"I think we've had just five practices (because of the football playoffs). Hopefully, we can correct some of those mistakes as the season progresses."
Pollard and Morris collected a goal and and an assist for the winners.
The Jets, now 2-1, will go to Kingsford on Thursday in its next test.
Negaunee goes to L'Anse the same evening.