Hancock hockey still hot

HANCOCK – Brett Lepisto scored two goals, Hunter Kero had three points and Jacob Givens stopped 23 shots as the Hancock Bulldogs downed the Jeffers Jets 4-1 Monday night for the team’s eighth straight win.

The Bulldogs have given up just three goals in their last five games, and saw another excellent performance by Givens, their junior goaltender.

“He’s doing a great job right now,” Jeffers coach David Bekkala said. “He’s a big body in front, plays the angles well. You literally have to pass the puck around him.”

Or tip it in, as Jets forward Nicholas Harris did in the final minutes of the game. It was too little, too late for the Jets, who played right with Hancock for most of the game.

“It was a pretty evenly played hockey game,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said. “This is a team we’ll see down the stretch, and we’ll need to be better next time.”

Hancock got on the board early after a great individual effort by Matthew Sanregret to gain the zone and a five-hole finish by Tanner Kearly. The goal was assisted by Zach Ahola. Kearly and Hayden Heikkinen later assisted on the Bulldogs’ second goal, which was finished by Hunter Kero three minutes into the second period.

The Bulldogs had 21 shots in the first two periods, and the offense produced further early in the third period as Brett Lepisto scored his 16th and 17th of the season to begin the period.

“(Our top lines) are moving the puck so well,” Rouleau said. “We finally found some chemistry, and it’s showing on the ice with goals.”

The Bulldogs have scored 21 goals in their past five after scoring just 15 in their first six games.

“We are playing really good hockey right now,” Rouleau said. “Hopefully that will continue.”

The Bulldogs will have a tough test Thursday night when they host Calumet, a team that has already beat them three times this season.

“They’re a tough team,” Rouleau said. “We have to prove that we can beat them, we have to step up our game.”

The Jets were on their own hot streak heading into the game, averaging six goals a game during a four-game winning streak. Unfortunately the team couldn’t find the back of the net until the Harris power-play goal with 2:33 remaining.

“We would have liked to get them on a down night,” Bekkala said. “They slowly chipped away, and suddenly it was 4-0. I felt like we were controlling the play, though.”

The team’s struggles came in part from lost coverage down low.

“We didn’t cover in our own end that well,” Bekkala said.

The team was also missing senior Travis Wesa, who left the game midway through the second period. Wesa had scored in all but one game for the Jets this year, and leads all Copper Country players with 28 goals.

“That certainly didn’t help our chances,” Bekkala said. “The other guys stepped up, though.”

The Jets are back in action on Friday night when they host Negaunee.