Donnelly strikes again

HOUGHTON — With the clock running down in the first period, Houghton Gremlins assistant captain P.J. Donnelly gave the Orange and Black a 2-0 lead against the Calumet Copper Kings in the Division 3 Region 17 Tournament title game when he tipped a shot from defenseman Dane Johnson past the Calumet Copper Kings’ Alex Studebaker Saturday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Donnelly, who battled nagging injuries throughout the season, is finally healthy and has been on a tear the last five games for the Gremlins, closing out the regular season with five goals and eight points in his team’s final three games before exploding for six points (two goals, four assists) in Houghton’s 9-0 victory over Jeffers in the regional semifinal.

“He got hot at the right time of year,” said Gremlins coach Corey Markham. “He struggled most of the year, scoring-wise. (He is) another senior that has been here a long time. I am so happy for him.”

When asked, after the victory over the Jets, what is different for him right now, Donnelly suggested that the changes he made in his pregame ritual made all the difference. He then went on to say that the real reason for his success.

“I think I have calmed down a lot more with the puck,” he said. “(I have) started seeing more of the ice.”

Donnelly and the Gremlins now move on to face Alpena Wednesday at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.