Prep hockey: Penalties hurt Negaune in 5-1 loss

NEGAUNEE – The penalty bugaboo bit the Negaunee High School hockey team again, this time costing the Miners three goals in a span of three minutes as Calumet skated off with a 5-1 victory at the Negaunee Ice Arena on Tuesday night.

Penalties hurt the Miners (5-12) in other recent games by preventing them from mounting comebacks. This game, however, Calumet (2-13-1) turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 lead when a five-minute major penalty was called in the middle of the second period.

The Copper Kings’ Evan Billeck, Robert Erkkila and Matt Prouty scored during the ensuing power play, though Erkkila’s came during a 5-on-3 advantage when a minor penalty was also assessed.

“If we wouldn’t have had that major penalty in the second period, it could’ve been a one-goal game either way,”?NHS?coach Darrel Sleeman said. “Our penalties included four cross-checking penalties. Those are the kinds of penalties that are just unnecessary.”

Billeck scored two goals, his first just 54 seconds into the game. Negaunee junior Michael Farley answered with a power-play goal, an assist going to sophomore Jeffrey Mathews, with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first period for the 1-1 tie.

Miners junior goaltender Tyler Riutta was called on to make 39 saves as Negaunee was outshot 44-10.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Steve Brownlee.