Hancock takes advantage of penalties, defeats Houghton 7-4

Paul Peterson photo Hancocks’ Brody Budweg brings the puck forward as Houghton’s Brendan Erickson defends Friday at Houghton County Arena.

HANCOCK — Power play hockey proved to be right recipe for the Hancock Bulldogs in Friday’s Wing Ding game against Houghton.

The Crimson and Gold took full advantage of two five-minute penalties to score a 7-4 victory at a jam-packed Houghton County Arena.

“There’s no doubt the penalties gave us a boost,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said. “They (Gremlins) came out and got the first goal, then we got the five-minute major.”

“We’ve been working on our power play and it really came through tonight.”

A five-minute major on the Gremlins erased a 1-0 Houghton lead and boosted the Bulldogs into a 4-1 lead by the end of the period.

Jacob Kruse scored an early goal for the Orange and Black for a 1-0 reading.

Houghton coach Corey Markham said the big first period major penalty was a major difference.

“They scored four goals on it and we lost our two top defensemen in that situation,” Markham. “We didn’t kill very well in that position. It was a huge part of the game.”

The Bulldogs, the defending Division 3 state champion, had struggled in the past couple of weeks.

But Rouleau said the game was the kind that could help his team down the road.

“We’re still working through our injury situation,” he said. “But this is the kind of game that could help us a lot. We needed other kids to step up in this game …. and they did.”

Houghton goaltender William Stier had to face the intense pressure in the opening frame.

Two goals by sophomore Alex Nordstrom and one apiece from Colton Salani and Ted Randell had the HCHS fans raising the roof.

“Our fans were great and so were Houghton’s,” Rouleau noted. “It created a great atmosphere here tonight.”

Markham said his team gave a good effort.

“Every time we would get close, we’d give up a goal,” he said.

Lance Kangas scored in the middle period for the winners. Houghton put two goals on the board to make it 5-3 and had a power play to begin the third stanza.

But Kangas got one back, while Randell his second goal of the night gave the Bulldogs some breathing room after the Gremlins received two markers from Clayton Sayen.

Hancock netminder Dawson Kero made 26 stops, while Stier blocked 29, many of the difficult nature.

The Bulldogs will meet Escanaba in its next test.

Houghton will tackle Calumet and Marquette next week.