Orchard Lake St. Mary’s stymies Houghton 3-0
HOUGHTON — Located 526 miles from Houghton, it took the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Eaglets a moment to work off their bus legs Friday against the Houghton Gremlins. But after a few minutes of ice time, they regained their form and looked every bit deserving of the No. 10 Super Ranking in the MIHSA.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s began to dominate possession midway through the first period and limited the Gremlins’ scoring opportunities en route to a 3-0 win at Dee Stadium.
“We took a long bus trip, so I just think it just took us a little bit to get going,” Orchard Lake head coach Brian Klanow said. “I don’t think we played a good first period, but I think after that we settled down a little bit.”
The shot totals were telling of the dominant performance Orchard Lake put forth; the Eaglets outshot the Gremlins 39-16, and Orchard Lake junior goalie Tanner Beals handled the majority of his 16 saves with relative ease.
“We just kind of had a lull where we weren’t competing at the same level and making quick enough reads,” Houghton head coach Corey Markham said. “We weren’t playing with the same intensity level as Orchard Lake.”
Orchard Lake struck first on a power play goal from junior Dane Pelkey, who finished the one-timer just left of the crease on a pass from sophomore Bryce Kallen for a 1-0 lead 11:40 into the first period.
Just 1:44 into the second, Orchard Lake made it 2-0 when senior Jack Clark skated in off a pass from junior Hunter Baudino and beat Houghton junior goalie Will Stier for the goal.
“That was a beautiful goal,” Klanow said about Clark’s score. “Everybody had a touch, and it’s one of those goals that you look to draw up, but far and few between do they happen like that.”
Houghton never seriously threatened to trim the deficit in the second period, recording just four shots as Orchard Lake continued to dominate possession. Even on any of the six power plays Houghton was on, the Gremlins weren’t able to manufacture a strong offensive attack.
“(Orchard Lake) had puck possession and didn’t turn it over,” Markham said. “They did a great job of holding onto the puck. They back-checked hard, so when we had rushes, they had guys back in to pick up our weak-side forwards.
“They’re a good all-around team. They’re one of the top Division 1 teams in the state, and that’s a level that we have to get to.”
Baudino recorded his second assist of the night after deking a defender before delivering a perfect pass to junior Ryan Kerchoff, who finished the rush with the third goal of the game 1:29 into the third.
Stier finished with 36 saves on a night when he was constantly being bombarded with shots.
“I thought Stier played extremely well. If it wasn’t for him playing well, that (score) could have been a lot more than what it was,” Markham said. “He played well, and we just didn’t answer the bell, really.”
Next, Houghton hosts Novi at 1 p.m. today, while Orchard Lake faces Hancock at the same time.
Orchard Lake 1 1 1 – 3
Houghton 0 0 0 – 0
1. OL, Dane Pelkey (Bryce Kallen, Ryan Kerchoff), 11:40
2. OL, Jack Clark (Hunter Baudino, Cole Gibbs), 1:44
3. OL, Ryan Kerchoff (Hunter Baudino, Jack Clark), 1:29
OL, Beals 7 4 5 — 16
HHS, Stier 14 12 10 — 36
OL: 8/16; HHS: 7/14