Houghton scores 4 unanswered goals to stun Hancock 4-3 in OT

Dawson McKay of Houghton tries to fire a shot past Hancock goaltender Dawson Kero late in Friday's game at Dee Stadium as a group of Bulldogs converge on him. The Gremlins rallied for a 4-3 overtime win. (Paul Peterson photo)

HOUGHTON — No athletic contest between Hancock and Houghton is ever just a game.

Take Friday night’s Wing-Ding hockey game between the two rivals at Dee Stadium.

Both the Bulldogs and Gremlins — ranked in the latest prep polls — mixed it up for three-plus periods before the Gremlins emerged with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory.

Houghton coach Corey Markham said his team had to reach deep after falling behind 3-0 after two periods.

“The kids just dug in and started playing hockey,” Markham said. “That was one of the greatest regular season wins I can recall in a long time.”

The win gives Markham 299 coaching victories.

Hancock coach Dan Rouleau gave credit to the Gremlins.

“Anytime you have a three-goal lead, you should end up on top,” Rouleau said. “Houghton wanted it more than we did tonight. We took some silly penalties, and they took advantage of us. Good teams will do that.”

After a goal by a Brendan Erickson of the Gremlins knotted it at 3-3 with just 1:14 left in regulation, the momentum seemed to be firmly on the side of the Orange and Black.

A penalty on Hancock five minutes into the extra session set up the scoring chance. That was realized when Dawson McKay got control of a loose puck and skated in alone on Hancock goalie Dawson Kero before scoring.

McKay’s goal sparked a Gremlins’ celebration that eventually poured out on the ice after the Wing Ding trophy was awarded to them.

Markham said the emotional win shouldn’t play too big of a role when the rivals meet in a regional tournament opener on Feb. 26.

“It will be a brand new game in a couple of weeks, so I don’t think it will make a big difference,” he said. “The atmosphere here tonight was so electric. To be down three goals and to have the third period we had was absolutely phenomenal.”

Hancock grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Bryce Randell.

The Crimson and Gold dominated in a rough-and-tumble second period, getting goals from Alex Nordstrom and Petr Anderson for the three-goal lead.

Kero was also called on to make a couple of big stops in the frame.

Justin Norkol’s goal early in the third period sliced the deficit to 3-1. McKay scored just 45 seconds later to make it 3-2, sending the big crowd into a frenzy.

It stood that way until late in the period when Erickson blistered in a shot from the faceoff circle.

Houghton goaltender Will Stier made several key saves in the middle part of the contest to keep things close. He counted 17 stops.

Kero faced heavy pressure in the third period when he had to block 20 shots. He made 40 saves in all.

“They (Gremlins) put a lot of pressure on Dawson,” Rouleau said. “We’ll have to make some adjustments before we play them again.”

That next meeting is bound to create a lot of fan interest in the regionals.

– – –

Hancock 1 2 0 0 — 3

Houghton 0 0 3 1 — 4

First period

Hancock – Bryce Randell (C. Salani) 4:58

Second period

Hancock – Alex Nordstrom (Tchida, Brunet) 1:58

Hancock – Anderson (A. Salani) 9:28

Third period

Houghton – Norkol (Choi, Erva) 4:15

Houghton – McKay unassisted) 4:55

Houghton – Erickson (Bostwick, Donnelly) 15:52

Overtime

HO – McKay PPG ( 3:56

Goalie saves

Hancock: Kero 40; Houghton: Stier 17

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