Negaunee finds potent offense at home vs. Jeffers
NEGAUNEE — After being shut out on Saturday against Cheboygan, the Negaunee Miners’ offense came to life with five goals in a 5-3 victory over Jeffers on Tuesday night.
It was an even 3-3 game after two periods, with the Jets scoring two power play goals. Jeffers had two more power plays in the third, but Negaunee was able to kill off both and score two goals in the final five minutes to seal the win.
It took some adjustments on the penalty kill, Negaunee coach Dale Hopper said, but it all boiled down to his team’s effort.
“Well, we switched things around a little bit, adjusted our (penalty kill) a little bit,” Hopper said after the game. “But other than that, it was just the effort from the boys tonight. They did an excellent job of fighting through all the way.”
Within 62 seconds of each other in the first period, Jeffers scored first and Negaunee scored two goals to take the lead back.
Forward Cage Osterman opened up the scoring for Jeffers with an unassisted goal at 6:04.
Negaunee fired right back at 6:40 with a goal on a rush from forward Tyler O’Dovero off of an assist from forward Riley Williams. The Miners scored again 26 seconds later with an unassisted goal from defenseman Luke Syrjala to put Negaunee in front 2-1 at 7:06.
Later at the 9:30 mark, Jeffers went on the power play for the first time, and forward Trevor Halonen scored five seconds into it after a rebound from teammate defenseman Brok Holombo’s shot.
NHS had another quick answer, this time 1:27 later, when forward Owen Debelak gave the Miners a 3-2 lead with an assist from forward Cameron Mahaffey. After this wild first period, Negaunee held the one-goal advantage.
The second period was much quieter, but Jeffers defenseman Brent Heinonen scored the frame’s only goal on a power play with an assist from forward Karl Rautiola to tie it up at 6:48.
It was a stalemate for the majority of the third, with neither team getting many looks to take the lead. Negaunee’s adjustments on the penalty kill helped kill off two Jets’ power plays, and that led to Debelak being able to score the game-winning goal with 4:37 left because of a pass from defenseman Aidan Andrews.
The Miners’ defense and pressure didn’t allow Jeffers to pull the goalie for the extra attacker, but nevertheless, Negaunee added an insurance goal late.
This time it was forward Aydan Miles scoring, and it was assisted by forwards Hayden Anderson and Mahaffey.
In net for the Miners, goaltender Patrick Klumpp also came through down the stretch and didn’t give up a goal in the final period. He finished with 22 saves.
It was also senior night at Negaunee, and Anderson is the only senior on a young Negaunee team. Anderson assisted on the team’s final goal, but it was the team who was assisting him this night.
“The whole team supported Hayden all night long,” Hopper said. “It was a matter of trying to get him in different areas to be able to succeed, and as a team, we all gathered around him and put one in the win column for us.”
The five-goal performance is a good confidence booster moving forward for Negaunee, Hopper said.
“Tonight will be good for their confidence, now they know that they can put the puck in the net and play against some of these teams now,” Hopper said. “Since we’re so young, a lot of these kids haven’t played high school hockey yet, so it’s a good momentum booster for them and we’re moving into Alpena. We’ll see what we can do to put together a couple of wins down there and build a little bit more confidence.”
The Miners take the ice on today and Saturday at the Alpena Showcase.
Travis Nelson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.