Jets Clinch Season-Opening Win in Dramatic Fashion | News, Sports, Jobs

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 turn into four or five goals in a span of minutes.

Losing 3-1 to the Cheboygan Chiefs on Friday, the Jets found themselves at a similar crossroads. Rather than take the familiar path, they forged a new one, scoring twice in under five minutes to force overtime, then finding a way to get the game-deciding count under a minute into extra session to win a 4- 3. win at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

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

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

The Jets had peppered Chiefs goaltender Chasten Rose with 21 shots in two quarters, but they had only one goal to prove it. Nettell Nettell felt his team deserved a better fate than the one that had 8:23 in the third.

“His goalkeeper stood upside down”, Nettle said. “He had some outstanding saves. A couple of those should have been goals, but he saved them somehow. We had a lot of chances, some pretty looks. We have to achieve more than that.”

Trailing 3-1 after Chiefs co-captain Luke Karsten’s hat-trick, however, the Jets found a way to answer at 1:25 when senior defenseman Bryant Collins scored his first career goal on a wrist shot to through the traffic that slipped.

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

“That’s great, because now you’re starting to have a well-balanced team.” Nettel said. “You have some energy up front. You have some power in your back. We’re going to rely on that this season.”

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

In overtime, the Jets kept up the pressure on Rose. Turner managed to fire a shot into a mass of bodies in the slot that bounced off second-year end Benton Rajala, who buried a quick shot, giving the Jets the win.

The Chiefs were dangerous with man advantage, as Karsten scored two of his three goals on the power play, one in the first and second quarters. The Jets couldn’t answer the Chiefs’ power play, as they went 0-for-4 themselves.

Nevertheless. The Jets took advantage of their 5-on-5 game, answering Karsten’s first power play goal with even force 22 seconds later when Bianco found his own rebound and buried it.

Until next time

The Jets are short on change after earning their first win of the season as they host Negaunee on Tuesday at MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The opening matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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