Hockey: Houghton comes back to beat Flivvers, 4-3
Gremlins rally for 3 late goals, win 4-3
IRON MOUNTAIN — Houghton’s Dawson Mckay controlled a bouncing puck and skated it up the right wing against Kingsford on Tuesday night.
When he got to the slot, he released a quick shot using a defenseman as a screen that beat Kingsford goaltender Evan Hedtke and completed the Gremlins’ comeback in a 4-3 win.
McKay’s goal topped off a three-goal rally in the final four minutes of the game.
“It was a scramble play and the puck’s bouncing and sometimes it turns where we’re not,” Houghton head coach Corey Markham said. “He’s able to kick it up to his stick and it was a one-on-one. Instead of trying to beat the defender he pulled in and used a quick shot and used the defender as a screen and it surprised the goalie. Absolutely great play by Dawson.”
Even with 2.2 seconds left, the game didn’t feel out of reach with a face-off on the right dot in Houghton’s zone. In the second period, Kingsford’s Nick Murvich had shot the puck off a draw that went in off the crossbar and tied the game in the second period. But McKay won the faceoff at the end of the game against Murvich and time expired.
Kingsford was whistled for four penalties in the third period, including a pair in the final five minutes. Penalties spelled doom for Kingsford as Houghton scored three of its goals on the power play.
“Houghton’s a great team. They’re not in the top five for no reason. They brought their A-game tonight. I thought they came out hard on us,” Kingsford head coach Dennis Murvich said. “We were even in the first period although they out-shot us heavily. Second period was tilted towards us. We had a two-goal lead going into the third period. Then, you know, take a variety of penalties for whatever reason and it’s tough to kill that many penalties against a really good team.”
Houghton took the lead with five minutes remaining in the first period on a goal by Patrick Donnelly. The Flivvers took control in the second with three goals including two by Nick Murvich. The first came on a face-off when he took a shot as the puck was dropped. It bounced in off the crossbar.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen that — this is my 19th year as a head coach,” Markham said. “I haven’t seen a goal go in like that off a draw.”
Possession ebbed and flowed but Houghton held a staggering 58-18 shot advantage.
“This was a very evenly played game. I thought we had a lot of good stretches and came out really well,” Markham said. “We missed the net on a ton of our opportunities and we weren’t converting. I felt at some point that was going to happen.”
Houghton goaltender Jimmy Pietila, a Kingsford native, came up with big saves throughout the night including one that came on a Daunte Fortner breakaway in the third period. A goal would have put Kingsford up 4-1.
“Jimmy Pietila, he’s a Kingsford kid who moved up to Houghton. He played great for us. The one goal caught him off the faceoff but he made a couple really big saves in the first period that kept us in it,” Markham said. “He had a big save on Fortner in the third period when he had a partial breakaway. He does a good job of staying out of his net and competing. When he makes a save he’s competing to find the puck.”
Despite losing the game, Murvich said the team came out with a top-flight effort on another emotional night.
The game was preceded by a puck-drop ceremony by the parents of Jolene Treml and Taylor Bosley, a pair of Kingsford High School students killed in a car accident on Dec. 30.
“Our kids played hard. I’m really proud of them,” Murvich said. “We played a really good team. It was a good high school hockey game. It was fun.”
Markham said he was unsure of how the game would unfold following the emotional ceremony in which Kingsford players gave a flower to the parents, John and Lisa Bosley and Jeffrey and Mary Treml.
“We were a little weary coming into this game because it’s such an emotional deal with the tragedy that happened down here,” Markham said. “My heart breaks for the families who are dealing with that. I can’t say enough how good Kingsford is doing battling through this adversity. They’re doing a great job.”
Houghton hosts Negaunee on Thursday.
Houghton 1 0 3 — 4
Kingsford 0 3 0 — 3
HHS — Patrick Donnelly (Taavi Rajala, Dawson McKay), power-play, 11:53
KHS — Nick Murvich (unassisted), 4:12
KHS — Daunte Fortner (Eamonn Weed, Sawyer Perpich), 6:44
KHS — Murvich (Fortner), 13:12
HHS — Brendan Erickson (Kevin Bostwick, McKay), 13:15
HHS — Donnelly (McKay, Bostwick), 14:21
HHS — McKay (Donnelly), 16:17
Saves Pietila 15 Hedtke 54
Power-plays 3-7 1-4
Penalties 4/8:00 7/14:00