Prep hockey: Marquette mercied by Houghton in home opener

MARQUETTE – If there was one thing first-year Marquette Senior High School head hockey coach Doug Garrow didn’t want Tuesday night was for his Redmen to be mercied in their season home opener.

“That’s exactly what I told the guys (afterward),” he said after Marquette’s 8-0 loss at Lakeview Arena. “You’d like to have a better game your first game at home.”

Reid Pietila scored three goals and added an assist for Houghton (2-0). Jed Kallio chipped in two markers and Gremlin teammate Connor Hannon two assists.

“It’s a real good start to the season,” Houghton head coach Corey Markham said, noting his team blanked Escanaba 6-0 to start the campaign.

“We skated real well (against MSHS) and concentrated on the backcheck.”

The Gremlins dominated the play so much they held MSHS (0-1-1) to just nine shots on net.

“You’re not going to win many games with just nine shots,” Garrow said. “We have to find a way to be better offensively.

“It shows we have some work to do.”

The Redmen had trouble getting the puck out of their defensive zone all game long.

Houghton’s first goal, by Pietila, came off a Marquette turnover and the second – by Pietila again 6:40 later – came off a deep rebound.

“(Houghton’s) forecheck was quick,” Garrow said. “Half of their goals were because we were not able to get the puck out of our (defensive) zone.

“They (also) came through the neutral zone with a lot of speed and we got caught standing still a lot of times,” Garrow added.

The goal that may have broke Marquette’s back came at 4:35 of the second period. Houghton’s Jed Kallio got a pass from Pietila and broke in alone on MSHS goaltender Johnny Beckman for a score to make it 3-0.

“That was real big,” Markham said. “Jed got a nice feed from Reid to make it a three-goal game. That was big.”

Spencer Donnelly made it 4-0 at 9:11 of the middle stanza, then Raymond Brice scored just 1:02 into the final period to start the rout.

“They had too many odd man rushes,” Garrow said.

Marquette’s best chances to score came on a close shot by Brock Smith early in the second period and an attempt by Alex Zerbel in the third – both turned aside by Houghton goalie Jayson Wiitala.

“It’s the coaching staff’s responsibility to put our guys in a better position to have success,” Garrow said. “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”

Marquette sophomore forward Jake Phillips suffered a left shoulder injury in the second period and didn’t return.