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Gremlins shut down Trojans en route to 7-0 win

Houghton senior forward Landon Stevens (13) scores a goal against Traverse City Central senior goaltender Brady Faille (34) on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in Houghton, Mich. (Visual Insights)

HOUGHTON — The Houghton Gremlins hockey team has not been on a run like this that coach Corey Markham can recall. Through their first three games, the Gremlins have yet to surrender a goal after cruising to a 7-0 win Friday night at Dee Stadium over the visiting Traverse City Central Trojans.

While the score looked like something out of a football game, Corey felt that there was plenty for the Gremlins to be concerned about, especially through the first 17 minutes of the contest.

“I thought we were rusty for most of the first,” he said. “We weren’t connecting our passes. I thought our effort was okay, but we weren’t making a lot of plays. I thought Traverse City came out very strong, played physical. They were in our face. They finished every check. So, I thought the first was just a real grind-it-out-period.”

It took Houghton 14:28 to get on the board, when junior defenseman Noah Kreipke fired a wrist shot that climbed over the shoulder of Trojans goaltender Brady Faille. Kreipke’s shot was something that the Gremlins’ coaching staff had encouraged him to work on, and Friday night, that work paid dividends.

“Really happy for Noah,” Corey said. ‘We’ve been working on his shot a lot. He’s gotten stronger, and he can shoot a lot better than he used to.”

The Gremlins (3-0 overall) threw 13 shots at Faille through the first 17 minutes, but the Trojans goaltender kept his team in the contest. Even after freshman winger Connor Arko found the net 2:33 into the second for his first career goal, Faille continued to battle, which was a positive for his coach, Chris Givens.

“He played really well,” Givens said. “He’s been doing a good job for us, and obviously, another good job today. We just, we have our hands full with them 5-on-5, and then we took those bad penalties, because you’re not going to have success against them being shorthanded, there’s just no way.”

As good as Faille was, however, the flood gates opened once the Gremlins started crashing the net more effectively. Over a 10-minute stretch, the Gremlins poured it on offensively, and were rewarded with four more goals.

The first came off the stick of assistant captain Landon Stevens, who was sprung for a breakaway by sophomore forward Jay Halonen. Stevens skated in, deked to his backhand, and scored at 5:46. He struck a second time at 12:03.

Just 31 seconds later, assistant captain Sully Rajala buried a loose puck. Co-captain Camden Markham then capped the second period with a goal with just six seconds left, pushing Houghton’s advantage to six, 6-0.

Camden Markham added one more 5:51 into the third period, as the Gremlins continued to smother the Trojans to close out the contest.

Givens was impressed with how the Gremlins attacked in waves.

“I was happy with parts of our game, especially the first period, and then we just kind of checked out in the second, but I thought we picked it back up again in the third and were playing hard,” said Givens. “Let’s face it, there’s just a lot of firepower up front. They come at you so fast and it’s just in waves.”

Senior goaltender Troy Povich made 17 saves in earning the shutout, his second of the season.

Up next

The Gremlins are off again until Wednesday, when they host the Hancock Bulldogs. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m.

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