Houghton scores touchdown in beating Novi Saturday, 7-3
HOUGHTON — In hockey, coaches love scoring, and never want to surrender, goals in the first and last minutes of periods. On Saturday, the Houghton Gremlins scored two goals in the first minute of a period and added a third shortly after the first minute as they racked up a 7-3 win over the Novi Wildcats at Dee Stadium.
The Gremlins scored just over a minute into the first and twice in the first minute of the second en route to the win, much to the pleasure of coach Corey Markham.
“I thought we had some good strong stretches of hockey,” he said. “We had some lax stretches where we weren’t playing to out full pentental.
“All in all, I’m happy with the win and I’m happy with how we played. It was a really good win for us.”
Junior defenseman Ty Halonen and senior defenseman Justin Norkol get things started as Norkol took a quick pass and scored from the right side of the ice at 1:15.
Captain Kevin Bostwick, and sophomore Jiseung Choi swarmed the net to help set up a chance by senior forward Seth Francois, giving the Gremlins a two-goal lead at 9:12.
The Wildcats would cut their deficit in half late in the first thanks to a power play goal from the blueline by Jon Changes at 14:32.
Houghton went back to work right away in the second as Francois set up senior Brendan Erickson for a goal just 34 seconds in. Then, sophomore forward Nathan Erva struck just 20 seconds later as the Gremlins jumped to a 4-1 lead.
“A huge point in the game was when we got two quick goals in the second period to make it a 4-1 game,” said Markham. “I felt petty comfortable once it got to that stage.
“The game’s always much easier when you’re not chasing a lead… Everyone’s able to relax a little bit a play with a little more confidence.”
Novi got one back at 12:18 from Jay Naidu. The Wildcats struggled to build any momentum as they spent eight eight minutes in the penalty box in the period.
Still, Novi coach Mark Vellucchi liked much of what he saw from his team.
“I saw a good effort by our guys (against) a really good Houghton team,” he said. “We knew going in that they were really good. We kept it close in the second and ran into a couple penalties by our goalie and ran into 5-on-3. If you don’t score on (a) 5-on-3 you’re in trouble. They did. It hurt us.
“We need to be a little more disciplined. (In) both games this weekend we showed a lot of class.”
“We played a strong first (and) third,” Vellucci said. “That second period kind of hurt us and I think that was the story of the game. I couldn’t be prouder for the seniors; sorry that we lost this game but we showed a lot of heart and that’s nice to see as a coach.”
Senior forward P.J. Donnelly and Bostwick each picked up their second assists of the day as they helped set up Francois for his second of the game at 14:57, pushing the Gremlins back into a three-goal lead, 5-2, heading into the third.
Houghton potted two more goals 1:37 apart in the third as Norkol and Erva both scored their second of the night
“I think our orange line really set the tone for our team usually,” said Markham. “They have extreme work ethic and their legs continue to move and they create a lot of chances for us because of their effort.
“Nathan (and) Seth (both) had two goals, so I thought they were really strong. Justin Norkol scored two of the prettiest goals we’ve had this year.”
Novi 1 1 1 – 3
Houghton 2 3 2 – 7
1, HHS, Justin Norkol (Ty Halonen), 1:15
2. HHS, Seth Francois (Kevin Bostwick, Jiseung Choi), 9:12
3, NHS, Jon Changes, PP, 14:32
4, HHS, Brendan Erickson (Francois, P.J. Donnelly), 0:34
5, HHS, Nathan Erva (Francois), 0:54
6, NHS, Jay Naidu, 12:18
7, HHS, Seth Francois (Donnelly, Bostwick),14:57
8, HHS, Norkol, 13:11
9, NHS, Naidu, 12:41
10, HHS, Erva (Dean Johnson), 14:48
NHS:1/5; HHS: 2/3
NHS:4/8; HHS: 6/12