Bulldogs blank Miners

HANCOCK – Warming up for its Wing Ding meeting with Houghton later this week, the Hancock High hockey team put together a businesslike showing against Negaunee Monday night at the Houghton County Arena.

The 4-0 HCHS victory came against a goaltender, Anthony Moyle, who was on his game.

“I thought he (Moyle) played really well,” Bulldogs coach Dan Rouleau said. “He’s a darn good goalie. He squares up to the puck really well … and does a nice job with traffic in front of him.”

Senior forward Brett Lepisto continued his recent scoring streak with a pair of goals for the Crimson and Gold. But junior linemate Hunter Kero aided him ably by picking up four assists.

“Brett Lepisto has been on a nice run and he did a good job again tonight,” Rouleau commented. “And Hunter (Kero) did some good work to set up our scoring.”

The Great Lakes Hockey Conference game started off slowly as the Bulldogs spent much of the opening period killing off five penalties.

In fact, the locals were killing off a penalty when Kero stole a Miners pass and fed Lepisto for a shorthanded marker at the 4:55 mark.

NHS coach Darrel Sleeman felt the physicality of the Bulldogs played a big role in the contest.

“They (Bulldogs) are a big, strong hockey team,” he said. “They kind of outmuscled us at times.”

The work of Moyle, who made 37 saves in all, kept the visitors in the game before Cory Tourtillott connected at 13:03 of the second period for a 2-0 reading.

And when Lepisto sent home a nice wrist shot a few minutes later to make it 3-0, the ‘Dawgs were in good shape.

Negaunee had a couple of decent scoring chances in the final period, but Hancock netminder Jacob Givens was up to the task. Givens had a quiet night with 13 stops.

Junior Zach Ahola removed any lingering doubts about the outcome not long afterward when he fired a shot past Moyle with his team on a power play.

Now 10-6-3 on the season (4-2-2 GLHC), the Bulldogs will meet Houghton on Wednesday.

Rouleau said his team has its sights on the upcoming playoffs.

“It’s not far off (three weeks) and you want to be playing your best hockey at this time of the season,” he said. “But we’re hoping to get some more production out of our chances.”

Sleeman, whose team dropped to 5-15 on the season, said scoring goals has been a problem.

“We’re having trouble scoring, but our goaltending has been pretty strong,” the NHS skipper said. “If you have that, you always have a shot.”