Jets grind out win against Copper Kings, 2-1

Jeffers winger Cody Turner looks to shoot the puck while Calumet defenseman Dan Loukus (9) looks to prevent a pass during a game Tuesday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton. (Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Tuesday night, the Jeffers Jets hockey team did something the program has not done in 30 years. The Jets scored a goal in each of the game’s final two periods en route to a 2-1 win over the Calumet Copper Kings at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

For the Jets, the win was the type of victory that coach Pat Nettell has been looking for since he took over.

“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s building blocks, right? That’s it. We’ve always talked about being able to be one of the bigger teams, and finally, here it is. We did it now. It’s building blocks.

“It’s a huge confidence booster for the team, helps build a culture.”

The Jets got a key goal from sophomore winger Cody Turner, who has started his second season the way he finished his first year. Turner scored the game-winning goal with eight minutes left in regulation.

“That should give him all the confidence in the world,” Nettell said. “(Aksel Loukus) is one of the best goalies around here. To get a goal on him is, obviously, just huge, and something he’ll remember forever, I hope.”

In order to be successful, Nettell and his staff knew they would need the efforts of players like Turner, and sophomore center Benton Rajala, who assisted on the game-deciding tally.

“The sophomores are doing phenomenal,” said Nettell. “They started scoring at the end of the season last year, so we had big expectations of them for this season. Now they just accomplished this too.”

The Jets came into the night 2-0 on the season, having beaten Cheboygan and Negaunee, however, they had not found a way to beat the Copper Kings since 1992.

Copper Kings coach Dan Giachino, whose team was playing its first game of the season, was quick to point out what his team will be doing over the coming days after giving up 52 shots to the Jets while only getting 29 of their own.

“We have to spend a lot of time doing a lot of work via video right now,” he said. “We’ve got to get in there, and we’ve got to watch things and we’ve got to see it. It’s one thing to play it, and it’s another thing to be able to see yourself, see the mistakes that we’re making, see the good things that we’re doing.

“From there, it’s going to be pure hard work. We’ve got to be able to put in the work to get better.”

For the game’s first 17 minutes, the Jets proved they could skate stride-for-stride with the Copper Kings. When they had the puck in the offensive zone, they threw everything they had at Calumet’s star goaltender, Aksel Loukus.

In order for the Jets to be successful, they had to find ways to create traffic in front of Loukus.

Giachino felt they were able to accomplish that.

“Clearly their game plan was just getting pucks to the net, get a deflection, get a rebound, get something, and they got two of them,” he said. “(If Aksel) sees it, they’re not scoring on him 99% of the time. So that was their game plan. They threw a lot of pucks at the net and you got two by him.”

The Jets broke the scoreless tie 10:27 into the second period when senior center Trevor Halonen fired a shot through traffic.

Looking to respond, the Copper Kings forced Jets defenseman Kellen Koskinen to take a tripping penalty just nine seconds later. The Jets managed to kill it off.

Nettell was pleased with the resolve his team showed in a tough spot.

“I thought our penalty kill did a phenomenal job,” he said. “They didn’t panic. They played it the way they’re supposed to play it. That’s huge, just to not panic, and play disciplined hockey. So that’s another step in the right direction.”

The Copper Kings did tie the game at 13:22 when freshman forward Nathan Londo beat Jets goaltender Simon Rajala from the circle to his left.

In years past, the Jets would crumble once an opponent like Calumet found the net. Nettell was proud of how his team handled the final minutes of the second period.

“We never backed on once, even when they scored,” he said. “We didn’t even frown. We didn’t even put our heads down for a second. We just know what we have to do, and we just kept on battling.”

Up next

The Jets have less than 48 hours to enjoy the win before they face the Hancock Bulldogs at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Copper Kings have a week off before facing the Marquette Redmen in Marquette on Tuesday, Dec. 6.


CAL 0 1 0 – 1

JHS 0 1 1 – 2

First period


Second period

1, JHS, Trevor Halonen (Kellen Koskinen), 10:27; 2, CAL, Nathan Londo (Braydon Cima), 13:22.

Third period

3, JHS, Cody Turner (Benton Rajala), 9:00.

Saves – Loukus, CAL: 22-15-13=50; Rajala, JHS: 11-10-7=28

Power plays – CAL: 0/2; JHS: 0/1

Penalties – CAL: 1/2; JHS: 2/4


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