Pipe shot preserves Redmen victory at Houghton, 2-1
By DAVER KARNOSKY
HOUGHTON — In a game between two even combatants, a 1/2-inch was the difference as the Houghton Gremlins hockey team came up short against the Marquette Redmen on Thursday night at the Dee Stadium.
With 8 seconds left, the Gremlins had a faceoff in the offensive zone to Redmen goaltender Tyler Bergwall’s left. Though they lost the draw, sophomore Justin Norkol raced to the boards to keep a clearing attempt from getting out of the zone. With just two seconds left, Norkol wound up and blasted a shot at Bergwall. Assistant captain Taavi Rajala tipped the shot over Bergwall, but the puck hit the crossbar and bounced back out front, rather than into the net.
For coach Doug Garrow’s Redmen, it was the second straight 2-1 game against a Copper Country opponent after losing Tuesday at Hancock. While they won the game, Garrow was more concerned with making sure his team used the game as a springboard for the upcoming regional playoffs.
“I really wasn’t concerned about winning or losing coming up here,” Garrow said. “I told them to just make sure we are getting ready for playoffs.”
After a scoreless first period, it didn’t take long for the Redmen (13-8-2 overall, 6-4-0 GLHC) to break through in the second. On a power play, they found a way to get a puck past Gremlins goaltender Will Stier.
Ethan Jones knocked down a clearing attempt near the Redmen bench and quickly moved the puck across the blue line to Thomas Dunleavy. Dunleavy did not get all of the puck, but he got enough to send it through traffic.
Later in the period, with several Redmen and Gremlins jockeying for position near Stier, Spencer Samppala fired a shot that hit a stick in front of Stier, kicked up and over the Gremlins’ netminder at 13:30.