Jeffers cruises past L’Anse 9-3
HOUGHTON — Much is made in the game of hockey by coaches of starting a game on time.
The Jeffers Jets appeared to start their game at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Monday night on schedule, scoring a goal just 75 seconds into the contest.
From there, they failed to build off the momentum generated by the tally and found themselves tied with the visiting L’Anse Purple Hornets three times before finally taking advantage of two power plays en route to a 9-3 victory.
For the Jets, the effort — once they focused on taking advantage of their opportunities — was needed after dropping three straight games.
“Today, I made them make sure, until that that third period buzzer, we did not stop,” said Jets coach Justin Scott. “That is just something that we have to learn. We have to play a full  minutes to finish it out all the way.”
For the Hornets, head coach Nathan Turpeinen was pleased with the way his team battled back from three different one-goal deficits, but then equally disappointed with his team’s poorly-timed penalties.
“Penalties do not help,” said Turpeinen. “We had some stupid penalties, and they cost us in the long run.”
The Jets struck shortly after the opening faceoff when assistant captain Brendan Middleton took a pass from co-captain Darren Nordstrom, skated the puck to the left faceoff dot, and fired a wrist shot that beat Hornets goaltender Craig Mantila.
Less than a minute later, the Jets found themselves stuck in their own end and Hornets winger Ethan Pattison had two good looks by first shooting and getting his own rebound. Jets goaltender Eli Norman was equal to the task.
Two minutes later, the Hornets did even things up when assistant captain Tyler Fish skated the puck into the right circle before feeding the puck out into the slot where junior Foster Miller was able to sneak a quick deke to his backhand past Norman at 4:47.
It took a little time for the Jets to answer the Hornets’ goal, but they did at 8:28 when assistant captain Dominick Nettell floated near the Hornets’ goal and tipped a shot from sophomore Evan Larson, who was at the left point, past Mantila.
In the late stages of the opening frame, Miller had a chance to even the game when he had the puck in the right circle. He beat Norman with a wrist shot, but not the post.
The Hornets would even things up a minute later when the Jets’ defensive zone coverage broke down, allowing Pattison to get to the puck and beat Norman at 12:27.
Looking for a stronger start to the middle frame, the Jets pressured the Hornets all over the ice. Mantila stood up to the challenge, keeping Jeffers at bay until the midpoint of the period when Middleton got loose shorthanded, skated in alone and beat Mantila over the blocker at 8:02.
L’Anse, who had blown their first two power plays, finally found a man advantage goal just 25 seconds after the Jets took the lead when Miller found the net for the second time in the game by knocking a rebound home.
“He plays with a lot of energy,” said Turpeinen. “But he pretty much just ran out of gas.”
Less than two minutes later, the Jets found themselves on their first power play of the night. Co-captain Steven Suhonen got the puck along the left boards and fired a long shot that Mantila stopped. The rebound kicked right out front where Nordstrom was able to knock it past Mantila on the backhand at 10:12.
Just over three minutes later, Nordstrom struck on the Jets’ second power play of the night. The goal, which came at 13:16, was assisted by Middleton, who picked up his third point of the night.
“Our power play has been struggling for at least 70 percent of the season,” said Scott. “Just recently, I adjusted things to have all five seniors on the power play and they are finishing great.”
Senior Tyler Lowney extended the Jets’ lead to three at 15:25 when he took a pass in the high slot from freshman Matthew Halonen and blasted a shot past Mantila, who was in the process of falling after making an earlier save.
In the third, Middleton struck twice in a matter of 27 seconds to put the game out of reach. From there, the Jets continued to pressure Mantila until Suhonen managed to strike from the high slot at 12:13 to cap the scoring.
L’Anse 2 1 0 – 3
Jeffers 2 4 3 – 9
1, JHS, Brendan Middleton (Darren Nordstrom), 1:15
2, LHS, Foster Miller (Tyler Fish), 4:47
3, JHS, Dominick Nettell (Evan Larson), 8:28
4, LHS, Ethan Pattison (Logan Lloyd), 12:27
5, JHS, Middleton (Steven Dudenas), SH, 8:02
6, LHS, Miller (Pattison, Fish), PP, 8:27
7, JHS, Nordstrom (Steven Suhonen, Dudenas), PP, 10:12
8, JHS, Nordstrom (Middleton), PP, 13:16
9, JHS, Tyler Lowney (Matthew Halonen, Clay Larson), 15:25
10, JHS, Middleton (Suhonen), :47
11, JHS, Middleton (Nordstrom, E. Larson), 1:14
12, JHS, Suhonen (Middleton), 12:13
LHS, Mantila 7 25 20 – 52
JHS, Norman 14 3 2 – 19
LHS: 5/18; JHS: 6/12
LHS: 1/5; JHS: 2/3