HOUGHTON — In what is likely the coldest arena they will play in this season, the Brighton hockey team caught fire on offense in a 5-1 win at Houghton on Friday night.
The Bulldogs (7-3-1) ended a four-game winless streak that saw them score just once in three games to end 2017. After a scoreless first period, Will Jentz scored twice in the second, once on the power play, and the Bulldogs never trailed.
Jentz scored both goals by being in the right spot when the puck was dancing in the vicinity of Houghton goalie Will Stier. Hockey players call them “greasy” goals, much like the little flares that nonetheless fall in for base hits in baseball.
As the saying goes, they count just as much as the pretty goals.
On the first one, Jentz was hanging around near the net when Sam Brennan shot from the point barely a minute into the second period.
“Sammy shot it from the point and Matt Kahra tipped it,” Jentz said. “I got the rebound and I just put it in.”
“It was great passing from our D,” Brighton coach Paul Moggach said. “Caleb Seiter and Sam Brennan made great plays to get the puck in (on net).”
Jentz scored a power-play goal with 4:44 left in the period, but Houghton’s Taavi Rajala scored on a Gremlins power play with 2:18 left in the period.
“I don’t think we had the stress it seemed like we were feeling after the Plymouth game,” Moggach said. After that contest, a 3-3 tie, Brighton lost to Detroit Catholic Central, Northville and Livonia Stevenson, notching just one goal in that time.
Brighton goalie Harrison Fleming, playing in just his fourth game of the season, was sharp in net, making a key save with his skate to deny what was Houghton’s best chance to score on the first period.
Jason Verhelle made it 3-1 early in the second period. Adam Conquest scored an empty net goal with 31 seconds remaining, and Evan MacDonald ended the scoring with nine seconds left.
The Bulldogs finish their weekend in Michigan’s snowy Keweenaw Peninsula tonight at Calumet for their annual meeting with the Copper Kings.
“We’re hearing they’re similar to Houghton,” Moggach said of Calumet. “All three teams (including Hancock) are kind of in the same bandwidth. They’re all pretty good teams, they’ve got some speed, so we’ll have a tough time.”