Gremlins notch surprising rout

HOUGHTON – Jed Kallio had a night to remember, while the Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils had one to forget Friday night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Thanks to four goals and two assists by Kallio, the Houghton Gremlins scored an unexpectedly easy 8-0 win over the Sault in a MacInnes Holiday Classic semifinal game.

Kallio, a senior forward, said his team had some extra incentive.

“They (Blue Devils) beat us last year in the state quarterfinals, so there was a revenge factor,” Kallio said afterward. “It definitely was a big win for us … to mercy them felt good.”

Both teams are ranked in the top five in Division 3 statewide.

“They were a little short tonight, but we know they’re a good hockey team,” HHS coach Corey Markham said. “We caught them at a good time, but we did play well.”

Kallio had plenty of help as his linemate Ray Brice – the team’s scoring leader this winter – also had a big night with a goal and six assists.

“Ray (Brice) was flying right away in this game,” Markham said. “We had a lot guys who played really well.”

With his goal, which ended the game at the 7:17 mark of the third period, Brice passed Chuck Lower to take the top spot on HHS’s all-time scoring list with 90 goals.

Sault coach John Ferroni was impressed by the Gremlins.

“They have a strong hockey team, but we knew that from last season,” Ferroni commented. “We hoped to make it a better hockey game tonight, we just got beaten by a better team in this particular game.”

Houghton grabbed a 3-0 lead in a penalty-filled first period as Kallio tallied two power-play markers and Connor Hannon had an even-strength goal. Nine of the 21 penalties called came in the opening 17 minutes of play.

“Jed (Kallio) shoots it as hard as anyone on our team,” Markham noted. “We get on him sometimes for missing the net, but he was right on target tonight. I’m happy for him because he works hard and has a great attitude.”

Any hopes the Blue Devils had of getting back in the game was rebuked early in the second period when HHS netminder Marcus Gloss made what Markham described “a very tough save from close range.”

The Orange and Black moved the margin to 6-0 by the time the second frame ended as Casey Markham banged in a rebound shot and Kallio scored his third and fourth goals of the contest.

The latter two goals were came on the power play. Kallio displayed his hard snap shot on the first one and was set up nicely by Brice on the second marker. Reid Pietila scored early in the third stanza to make it 7-0.

Brice sent the crowd on hand home early with a goal six minutes later.

The Gremlins, now 10-1 on the season, meet archrival Hancock in the championship game tonight. Kallio feels his team will be ready.

“They (Bulldogs) are our rivals across the bridge … it’s always a good game when we play them,” he said.

Markham also expects a tough game in the first meeting of the time-honored rivals this season.

“Hancock is very strong on the back end and they have some good forwards,” the HHS mentor said. “I think it’s going to be a heckuva of a game.”

The Blue Devils, 8-2 on the season, will tackle Calumet in the first game tonight.

“We’re hoping to play better against Calumet, “Ferroni said. “We have to file this one away … and get better as the season progresses.”

Gloss came up with 29 saves, while Sault goalies Nicholas MacKenzie and Jacob Schopp stopped 25 shots.