Jets earn win in season opener in dramatic fashion – Daily Mining Gazette


Jeffers’ Kailob Bianco (17) celebrates with teammates Cody Turner (15) and Kyle Heltunen (4) after the Jets’ overtime goal against Cheboygan on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Houghton, Mich. (Adam Niemi/For the Gazette)

HOUGHTON — In years past, when the Jeffers Jets hockey team fell behind by two or more goals, the team would shut down defensively, and soon a two-goal deficit would balloon into a four or five-goal one in a span of minutes.

Friday, trailing 3-1 to the Cheboygan Chiefs, the Jets found themselves at a similar crossroads. Instead of taking the familiar path, they forged a new one, scoring twice in less than five minutes to force overtime, and then finding a way to get the game-deciding tally less than a minute into the extra session to earn a 4-3 win at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

The Jets returned a large portion of their lineup this season, and coach Pat Nettell felt that experience was valuable in sparking the comeback.

“You don’t want to be down two goals,” he said. “We want to be in the lead, because I’m tired of fighting back, to come back in a game. It’s a lot easier if you just win, score goals, and stay on top. We just have to keep battling.”

The Jets had peppered Chiefs goaltender Chasten Rose with 21 shots through two periods, but only had one goal to show for it. Nettell Nettell felt his team deserved a better fate than it had 8:23 into the third.

“Their goalie stood on his head,” Nettell said. “He had some highlight-reel saves. A couple of those should have been goals, but he saved them somehow. We had many opportunities, some nice looks. We have to get more in than that.”

However, trailing 3-1 after Chiefs co-captain Luke Karsten’s hat trick goal, the Jets found a way to respond 1:25 when senior defenseman Bryant Collins scored his first career goal with a wrist shot through traffic that snuck through.

With a lack of natural goal scorers, the Jets needed the spark from the back end that Collins provided.

“That’s great, because now you’re starting to get a well-balanced team,” said Nettell. “You got some power out in the front. You got some power in the back. We’re gonna rely on that this season.”

Looking to continue to push back, the Jets kept the pressure on throughout the third, and found themselves with an opportunity with a faceoff to Rose’s left. Junior center Kailob Bianco, who already had a goal and an assist in the game, pushed the draw to his left. Sophomore winger Cody Turner pounced on the puck and quickly fired a backhand that beat Rose at 14:38, evening the game.

In overtime, the Jets sustained more pressure in front of Rose. Turner managed to fire a shot in a mass of bodies in the slot that rebounded to sophomore winger Benton Rajala, who buried a quick shot, giving the Jets the win.

The Chiefs were dangerous on the man advantage, as Karsten had two of his three goals on the power play, one each in the first and second periods. The Jets could not answer the Chiefs power play, as they went 0-for-4 themselves.

However. The Jets did take advantage of their play 5-on-5, responding to Karsten’s first power play goal with an even strength one 22 seconds later when Bianco found his own rebound and buried it.

Up next

The Jets have a short turnaround after getting their first win of the season as they will host Negaunee Tuesday at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m.

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