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Jeffers improving, but still fall short against Redmen 6-1

HOUGHTON — It is not often that a coach looks at his team’s 6-1 loss and feels that his team is making progress.

But that is exactly how Jeffers Jets head coach Patrick Nettell felt Tuesday after his team’s loss to the visiting Marquette Redmen at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Considering his team gave the Redmen (6-2, 6-2 GLHC) all they could handle in the first period and came away trailing just 1-0, Nettell felt his team was making tangible progress, especially when compared to the start of the season.

“We battled. We played well, defensively,” he said. “We made mistakes, but we’re correcting them. It shows we’re correcting them. 

“Tonight’s another night that showed that we’re progressing forward.”

For Redmen coach Doug Garrow, he was happy his team won, but felt that there was still a lot he was planning on working on in practice. He is still seeing areas of his team’s game that he wants to improve before playoffs in March.

“We’re not really worried about how we’re playing in February, as much as we’re going to be worried about how we’re playing (in) the middle of March for playoffs,” Garrow said. “We’re just taking every game game-by-game, and just trying to get better as a team and do things that we need to improve on. (We need to) try to get better at what we need to work on.”

Two players for the Redmen had very strong nights. Freshman winger Jackson Potulny scored a goal and added an assist, all in the second period.

“He’s probably our most gifted player offensively, because he has such good IQ for the game,” said Garrow. “He understands the game and where to be, and maybe where the puck’s going to be.”

The 6-foot-2 son of Northern Michigan Wildcats coach Grant Potulny created matchup problems for the Jets all night.

Garrow was also excited about the efforts of junior defenseman Brayden Grange. Grange scored twice in the third period, the first at 3:26 from the right point and the second 10:17 when he drove the puck coast-to-coast, putting the game out of reach after getting an assist in the first period.

“One thing we are harping on him is to shoot the puck more, because he has a good shot,” Garrow said. “Sometimes, he wants to over handle the puck and get closer.

“We’re just trying to tell our guys when you get to the top of the circle, sometimes, instead of trying to beat that defender, maybe use him as a screen, use him, pull it, and shoot between his legs and surprise the goalie. His first one, he did that. He had a really nice shot.”

Trailing 4-0 heading into the third period, Nettell challenged his team to come out hard. Freshman Cage Osterman did just that, forechecking into the right corner, causing a turnover. The puck eventually made its way in front of the net, where junior winger Cooper Burkman made a quick move before lifting the puck over a stretched out Brennan Hakkola for the goal just 46 seconds in.

“Bottom line, you have to have somebody that wants to get the puck in the offensive zone,” Nettell said. “You have to put yourself in harm’s way, taking the hit to make the play. That’s the culture that we’re trying to establish here. Sacrifice, dedication, taking one for the team.” 

Jets sophomore Simon Rajala made 35 saves in the loss. The Jets also blocked another 33 Redmen shot attempts. 

With the loss, the Jets fall to 1-6 overall and 1-6 in the GLHC.

The Redmen return to Marquette for a pair of games with the Escanaba Eskymos on Friday and Tuesday. The Jets have a doubleheader coming up on Friday and Saturday as they face the Houghton Gremlins at Dee Stadium Friday and the Negaunee Miners Saturday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

MSHS 1 3 2 — 6

JHS 0 0 1 — 1

First Period–Scoring–1, MSHS, Riipi, (Grange), 10:53.

Second Period–Scoring–2, MSHS, Potulny, (DeMattia), 5:59, pp. 3, MSHS, DeMattia, (Riipi), 8:52. 4, MSHS, Phillips, (Potulny, Luke), 15:07.

Third Period–Scoring–5, JHS, Burkman, (Hillstrom), :46.

6, MSHS, Grange, (Kroll), 3:26. 7, MSHS, Grange, 10:17.

Saves–MSHS, Hakkola, 6-1-3–10. JHS, Rajala, 8-16-11–35.

Power-play Opportunities–MSHS 1 of 3. JHS 0 of 3.

Penalties-minutes–MSHS 3-6. JHS 3-6.

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