Johnson approaching career highs

HOUGHTON – Calumet’s Ben Johnson of the Windsor Spitfires is approaching new career highs for goals and points in an Ontario Hockey League season with a pair of assists Sunday.

The Spits won a wild game at Sarnia, 8-7 in a shootout. Johnson’s two assists put him at 18 goals and 13 helpers on the season through just 39 games. Johnson had 31 and 37 points in his first two seasons in Major Junior.

Johnson scored two nights before in a 5-2 win at division-leading Sault Ste. Marie, his first goal of 2014.

Windsor is having its best season since Johnson’s arrival, with a playoff place all but secure at a record of 29-17-2.

The Spitfires are at home tonight against the Kingston Frontenacs and Sunday against the Guelph Storm.

Devin Kero of Hancock, in addition to committing to the Michigan Tech hockey program last weekend, was also named British Columbia Hockey League Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 19.

Kero stopped 56 of 58 shots for a .966 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against average in wins for his Merritt Centennials over the Vernon Vipers and Penticton Vees. In the win over Penticton, he made 35 saves and was named the No. 1 star.

Kero is now third in the BCHL with a .921 save percentage.

He also backstopped the Cents to a win Tuesday in an 8-1 rout of Trail, making 14 of 15 saves before taking third period off in favor of his backup with a 5-1 lead.

Merritt has some work to do, as with a 23-18-4-1 record, the Centennials are a point out of a playoff spot.

Ben Storm of Laurium continues to plug away in a supporting role for St. Cloud State’s hockey team.

He played in both games of the North Star College Cup last weekend at the XCel Energy Center, taking a penalty in the consolation game against Minnesota State, which the Huskies won.

Storm has appeared in 19 of 22 games for SCSU, which is 13-5-4 and is in third place, a point off the lead, in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. St. Cloud is at Nebraska-Omaha this weekend.

Allie Patrick of Mohawk recorded her first collegiate goal for St. Norbert College in a Jan. 17 win over Finlandia. She has a goal and three assists in 16 games for the Green Knights, who at 12-5-2 overall and 7-4-1 in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association, trail league-leading Adrian by just three points going into a series between the two this weekend downstate.

Brendan Jacques of Calumet has totaled two goals and eight assists in 40 games for the Springfield (Ill.) Jr. Blues of the NAHL, including a two-assist game Jan. 11 vs. Johnstown. The Blues sit fifth of six in a tightly-packed North Division with a 19-17-5 record. They host the Minnesota Magicians for a pair of games this weekend.

Jesse Junttila of Calumet recorded his fourth assist of the season relatively close to home in a 3-1 loss for his Janesville (Wis.) Jets at the Soo Eagles in Pullar Stadium Monday.

The defenseman has played in 30 games for Janesville, which is 17-20-2 and seven points behind Springfield in the North Division.

Both teams need to get into the top four to make the postseason, which begins April 3.

On the basketball court, Houghton’s Taylor Dillinger had a career-high 10 points for Minnesota Duluth in a 70-59 loss to Northern (N.D.) State Saturday in Duluth.

Dillinger was 3-for-4 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and had a pair of rebounds.

Dillinger is averaging 4.6 points and 1.5 boards in 15 minutes per game for UMD, which is 9-9 overall and 6-8 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

UMD hosts Augustana (S.D.) and Wayne State (Neb.) this weekend.