Another level

Nordstrom records 5 points, Hancock throttles Houghton 5-0

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette The Bulldogs’ Tyler Turcotte fires a shot from the point that the Gremlins' Jacob Kruse attempts to block during the first period of a game at Dee Stadium Tuesday. Hancock won 5-0.

HOUGHTON After three games, if there was any remaining doubt as to whether or not the Hancock Bulldogs are the team to beat in the state in Division 3, those concerns were squashed Tuesday night. The Bulldogs used a five-point night from sophomore Alex Nordstrom to post a 5-0 victory over the Houghton Gremlins at Dee Stadium.

While the Bulldogs were without captain Tommy Randell and junior goaltender Dawson Kero, who was injured Saturday against Calumet, they also had a strong effort from senior Cam Murray, who stopped all 25 shots Houghton threw his way.

“Cam has been good in practice,” said Bulldogs coach Dan Rouleau. “He busted his butt. He wants playing time and he’s earned it. I thought Cam played a great game.

“When we had a little letup there, Cam kept us in it.”

For the Gremlins, two plays involving Murray acted as a microcosm of their night.

First was a late second-period penalty shot awarded to captain Jacob Kruse; the second was a post hit by junior Dawson McKay. Kruse’s attempt ended when Murray knocked his shot with away with his blocker. The second came in the latter stages of the third when McKay put a rebound past Murray, but not the post.

“Obviously, scoring a goal would have helped us a lot,” said Gremlins coach Corey Markham. “I think a lot of times, we competed very well.”

The Bulldogs (3-1 overall, 2-0 GLHSC) came out flying, but the tide of the game quickly turned in Houghton’s favor as their second and third lines did a great job of pinning the Bulldogs back in their own end whenever the “Black” line of Nordstrom, assistant captain Teddy Randell and senior Lance Kangas was not on the ice.

When Hancock’s top trio was on the ice, it was a different story. On about their fourth shift of the night, they hemmed the Gremlins (0-3 overall, 0-2 GLHSC) deep in their own end for over a minute. The pressure they put on led to Nordstrom feeding the puck to senior Reid Hamar, whose shot from the right point found its way through traffic and past Gremlins goaltender Will Stier at 13:34.

The Bulldogs struck again just 57 seconds into the second period on a goal from Nordstrom on the power play when he took a pass from Givens and drove around a Houghton defender before deking past Stier.

“Tanner gave me a great pass past the defenseman,” said Nordstrom. “I had to beat just one guy and then it was me and the goalie.”

Nordstrom and Teddy Randell hooked up twice more in the middle frame. The first time came on a power play at 7:42 when Nordstrom and Randell skated in on a 2-on-1 and Nordstrom fed the puck to Randell on his right for the goal. The second came at 16:30 when Nordstrom got the puck to Stier’s left and fed it over to Randell for a one-timer.

“We are just getting to the open areas and calling for the puck from each other,” said Nordstrom. “[Teddy] finds open areas, so it is easy to find him.”

Nordstrom and Randell were at it again in the third period when Randell got the puck to Nordstrom deep behind the Gremlins goal line. Nordstrom connected with Kangas on a no-look pass and Kangas batted the puck home at 8:14 to cap the game’s scoring.

“Their top guys are so talented and they make a strong rush,” said Markham. “They are smart and creative and very tough to defend against.

“They are at another level right now. They do things you love to see. They are special players right now.”

Prior to the Bulldogs’ fifth goal, the Gremlins’ line of sophomore Brendan Erickson, junior Clayton Sayen and junior Darrian Raffaeli each had shots from the slot in front of Murray, but none of them could find the back of the net.

After the fifth goal, the Gremlins continued to battle. Sophomore P.J. Donnelly had a shot from just outside the crease that Murray stopped.

McKay’s scoring chance came three minutes later, followed two minutes later by a 5-on-3 advantage for Houghton. Murray stopped everything thrown his way.

Houghton returns to action Friday when they take on Traverse City Central at 7 p.m. at Dee Stadium. Hancock will face Traverse City on Saturday at 1 p.m.


Hancock  1  3  1 – 5

Houghton  0  0  0 – 0

First period

1, HCH, Reid Hamar (Alex Nordstrom, Lance Kangas), 13:34

Second period

2, HCH, Nordstrom (Tanner Givens), PP, :57

3, HCH, Teddy Randell (Nordstrom), SH, 7:42

4, HCH, Randell (Nordstrom, Givens), 16:30

Third period

5, HCH, Kangas (Nordstrom, Randell), 8:14


HCH, Murray  10  5  10 – 25

HHS, Stier  13  9  2 – 24


HCH: 10/20; HHS: 8/16

Power plays

HCH: 1/4; HHS: 0/6


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