Prep hockey: Negaunee unable to overcome slow first period

ESCANABA – Negaunee couldn’t quite get over an early defensive letdown in a 4-2 high school hockey loss to Jeffers in Escanaba on Saturday afternoon.

Originally part of a weekend tournament in Delta County, the schedule turned into two nonconference games for the Miners (4-7), who faces the Eskymos back here at 4 p.m. today.

On Saturday, Jeffers scored three times in the first period to negate goals by Negaunee junior Eric Farley and freshman Neal Violetta and take a 3-2 lead.

“We had a sloppy first period,” NHS coach Darrel Sleeman said. “We didn’t respond well defensively, since all their goals were second and third shots off rebounds.

“We played a fantastic second period and had the better scoring chances. In the third, I thought we played them pretty even, but we couldn’t find the net again.”

Farley opened the scoring less than four minutes into the game with an assist going to junior Luke Jacobson. After Drew Morris and Nick Harris scored barely two minutes apart in the middle of the first period to give Jeffers a 2-1 lead, Violetta retied the score 2-2 with 6:12 left with an assist going to junior Michael Farley.

Less than a minute later, the Jets’ Brady Guilbault put his team ahead for good, while teammate Steve Sulonen added a third-period goal for the final margin.

Miners junior goalie Anthony Moyle stopped 22 shots, including 16 in the final two periods, while Jeffers Jacob Zerbst had 23 saves.