Houghton achieves success at MIHL Showcase, goes 2-0 including a 6-0 victory over Midland Dow
Trenton – There are a lot of expectations that come with wearing the “C” on your sweater, denoting you’re the captain. At Houghton, senior Reid Pietila dons this insignia and does so proudly.
“It’s a real special honor,” Pietila said. “My first couple of years here there has been some great captains that I’ve learned from. I’m still learning as I play, but I’m doing the best I can.”
On Friday the Gremlins had to battle from behind in their opening game against U-D Jesuit before picking up a 4-3 victory in a shootout. That spark plug was Pietila. He assisted on a goal then tied the game in the third period before scoring the game-winner in the shootout.
“He’s a strong player for us,” Houghton coach Corey Markham said. “He controls the puck. He does everything for us offensively, and we rely on him a lot. On the power play, he plays on the point for a full two minutes and sets everything up.
“He shoots the puck better than most high schoolers. When you have a shot like that, you’re going to score quite a few goals. He’s been nothing but a special leader for us all year.”
Saturday’s affair was more of the same for the Gremlins and Pietila as his hat trick carried Houghton (11-7-1) to a 6-0 win over Midland Dow.
“The kids were ready to play today. We didn’t have the legs we normally do yesterday, and it took us a while to get going,” Markham said. “Today, right from the get go, we were moving very well. Getting the lead early helps, and having a player like Reid that can shoot the way he does helps too.”
Houghton jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 4:24 left in the first period when Dawson McKay earned his first goal of the showcase.
From the second period on, Pietila took the game over and took advantage of his chances.
“You have to bear down on your chances. You only get a handful a game, and you want to make them count. My line mates skate hard to move the puck around, and we just want to keep feeding each other the puck for good looks,” he said.
Pietila’s first goal came 1:45 into the second period on the Houghton power play. Junior Jacob Kruse fed Pietila the puck, and the forward used a referee screen in the slot for a 2-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Pietila intercepted the puck in the Dow zone and rifled a shot to the top shelf as he fell to his knee for a 3-0 lead. He also assisted on Alan Jurmu’s power play goal with 1:14 left in the 2nd period.
The final goal that sealed the hat trick for Pietila came two minutes into the third period when Midland Dow (12-7) was on the power play. Junior Austin Goudge intercepted the puck at center ice, and found Pietila streaking down towards the blue line.
Pietila moved towards the slot and went short side for the short-handed goal, 5-0, for his 20th goal of season.
Houghton freshman goaltender Dmitri Kochan earned the shutout.
“We have two goaltenders a sophomore (Will Stier) and a freshman (Kochan) that are both undersized. They haven’t physically developed yet, but they’re both going to be very good goaltenders,” Markham said.
“They’ve been working really hard in practice to get better, and that was evident in the showcase.”