Jets battle back to tie Kingsford
HOUGHTON — In previous seasons, if the Jeffers Jets found themselves down by as many as three goals at any point in a hockey game, they would collapse and find themselves incapable of fighting back.
Thursday night in their home opener, that trend changed.
In just their sixth game under first-year head coach Justin Scott, the Jets fought back from a 3-0 deficit just five minutes into the contest to earn a 5-5 tie with the visiting Kingsford Flivvers at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“We are learning not to crumble after we get scored on one or two times,” said Scott. “Instead we get up, we come together and be a team. That’s what we are trying to do and we are doing it.”
Starting at the high school level, hockey coaches talk about starting games “on-time.” Jets goaltender Eli Norman had to learn that lesson the hard way as he surrendered three goals on the Flivvers’ first five shots.
“It is a learning experience,” said Scott. “It could happen. We deal with it. We bounce back.”
Joe Murvich struck first less than a minute in. Alek Shanks and Austin VanPembroo struck 38 seconds apart.
With so many goals in the opening 4 minutes, 55 seconds, the Flivvers quickly became complacent, much to the chagrin of coach Jim Peterson.
“We learned a lesson there,” said Peterson. “We thought the game was over with and they took it to us. We are lucky we didn’t lose.”
The Jets (2-3-1 overall, 1-1-1 LSC) recollected themselves after the third goal and settled down. A minute later, they had a good scoring chance when junior Brady Therrian cut through the slot and fired a shot from in close. Four minutes later, Jeffers broke through on a strong shift from their “Green” line that included juniors Jake Marcotte and Aaron Hainault.
After a shot from sophomore Evan Larson at the right point, Hainault and Marcotte fought for the rebound in the slot. Marcotte moved the puck over to co-captain Steven Suhonen, who knocked the puck home at 1057.
Therrian cut the lead to one, 3-2, just 6:54 into the second when he skated through the left circle and beat Flivvers goalie Trevor Anderson with a shot over his glove.
Kingsford regained the two-goal lead at 9:08 when Brennan Phillips’ shot bounced off of a Jets defender and past Norman.
The Jets killed off 25 seconds of 5-on-3 early in the third period and nearly killed off the ensuing 5-on-4 before Murvich got loose in the left circle and fired a shot that hit the post to Norman’s left, bounced back off of the senior, and into the net for a power play goal.
Jeffers would not quit, and at 7:16 sophomore Elias Rajala managed to knock a rebound off a shot from junior Dominick Nettell.
Nettell, who was just recently awarded an “A” for assistant captain, would figure in the game-tying goal a little later.
“Every single day, he becomes a better character, a better person,” said Scott. “He’s learning to be a leader. He’s learning to do the little things. He’s learning to help out.”
Jets senior Brendan Middleton, who had struggled for much of the game, finally broke through at 8:26 with an innocent-looking wrister from below the right hashmarks that found a hole in Anderson.
Middleton then tied the game at 10:58 when his backhand shot sailed over Anderson’s blocker. The play was made possible because Nettell came up with a very timely blocked shot on the other end of the rink, and Middleton was able to pounce on the puck shortly after.
The Flivvers had the better chances in the overtime than the Jets did and again Nettell figured into the Jeffers’ defense as he blocked two shots in quick succession late in the extra frame.
The Jets are off until next Thursday, when they travel to face Cheboygan.
Kingsford 3 1 1 0 – 5
Jeffers 1 1 3 0 – 5
1, KHS, Joe Murvich (Austin VanPembroo, Trent Juul), :58
2, KHS, Alek Shanks, 4:17
3, KHS, VanPembroo (Sawyer Perpich), 4:55
4, JHS, Steven Suhonen (Jake Marcotte, Aaron Hainault), 10:57
5, JHS, Brady Therrian (Hainault, Marcotte), 6:54
6, KHS, Brennan Phillips, 9:08
7, KHS, Murvich (Perpich), PP, 5:45
8, JHS, Elias Rajala (Dominic Nettell), 7:16
9, JHS, Brendan Middleton, 8:26
10, JHS, Middleton (Rajala), 10:58
KHS, Anderson 7 15 10 4 – 36
JHS, Norman 18 9 12 5 – 44
KHS: 4/8, JHS: 5/10
KHS: 1/4, JHS: 0/3