By Brice Burge
It didn’t take long for the Jeffers Jets to make their mark on Little Bear Arena. Converting turnovers in the neutral zone into odd-man rushes toward the Manistique net, the Jets were able to score twice in the first three minutes of the contest. That’s all Jeffers would have needed to win, though they eventually took the game 6-1 on Thursday, Dec. 21 in Manistique.
Manistique’s lone goal came from the combination of Austin Hinkson and Blake Walther. Hinkson grabbed a loose puck at the blue line and crashed toward the net, but passed it to Walther at the last second for an easy backside goal with 13:07 remaining in the third period. The Emeralds had some opportunities near the goal for other scores, but the Jeffers defense collapsed around their goalie to keep the lead safe.
Both teams struggled on the power play, combining to go 1 of 9 on the night. The only power play score came on the final goal of the game, as Jeffers was able to poke in a fluke bounce with a second left in the man advantage and under three minutes to go in the contest.
The visitors outshot Manistique 37-22, with Emerald goaltender Alex Noble stopping 31. His Jets counterpart in sophomore Kasen Helminen had 21 saves on the night. The Emeralds record falls to 2-4 this year and is still looking for a win against an Upper Peninsula opponent.
Manistique is downstate for the rest of the week, playing at Utica Eisenhower Wednesday and hosting DeWitt in Alpena Thursday. The Emeralds are 2-2 against downstate teams this year.