Houghton edges Northville in shootout at MIHL Showcase
TRENTON — A shootout in high school hockey is a rare happening. It’s even more unpredictable to prepare on the fly for something that happens so infrequently.
Houghton coach Corey Markham said he liked his team’s chances of prevailing during the two-minute timeout before Friday’s shootout against Northville in the MIHL Showcase. After all, his goaltender, Marcus Gloss, had just stopped 24 shots in regulation, and he felt confident his forwards could find the back of the net in the overtime format.
“We’ve never really had a shootout,” Markham said. “This was kind of our first one. I didn’t want our kids to over think anything, so I just told them, ‘Go with your best move and do what you feel your best with.’ ”
Markham sent senior forward Jon Bostwick out as a shooter. Bostwick deked to his backhand for a quick goal. After Gloss forced a shot wide from a Northville shooter, Houghton senior Cale Markham rifled a wrist shot to the stick side for the clinching goal for the Gremlins.
It propelled Houghton to a 1-0 victory, making the school’s seventh consecutive win and first triumph of the MIHL Showcase.
“It was a little scary at times. Shootouts are fun, but it puts a lot of pressure on you," Gloss said. "Everyone played so well and mistake free. This was our fourth overtime game, so we were used it.
“I always want to come out, contend, follow the guy in and hope you save it," he said of facing opposing shooters one-on-one in the OT format. "A shootout didn’t change my strategy.”
It had the intensity of a playoff matchup, which was by design.
Houghton, which improves to 16-2-2, faced a difficult challenge from Northville (14-6-2), which played tough and aggressive. The Mustangs looked to block shots before they could get to goaltender Chance Boutin.
“We lost three games heading into this one and we needed a sense of urgency," Northville coach Clint Robert said. "We said from here on out, everything is a playoff game. They way we block shots, the way we forecheck, everything we do is playoff atmosphere. We tied the fifth best team in the state in our minds.
"They have the best goaltender in the state, and (Gloss) is probably going to play at the next level," he added. "We wanted to crash the net in hopes for an ugly goal that just never came.”
Northville had a scoring opportunity early in the third period when Houghton served a five-minute major penalty, but Houghton kept attacking. Senior Reid Pietila intercepted a pass in the neutral zone for the Mustangs, but he couldn’t convert the short-handed breakaway attempt.
“That kill was huge. We actually had better scoring chances than (Northville) did in that flurry,” Markham said. “That was the biggest point in the game. From that point, I thought we had the momentum and that we were going to capitalize. We just didn’t do it in regulation.”
Keeping Northville’s opportunities to a minimum was crucial in Markham’s mind as well. He said he couldn’t have been happier about the performance of his goaltender.
“Marcus works his butt off and he continuously has gotten better. His work ethic is second to none," Markham said. "He competes and he never wants to be beat. He was huge for us today."
Northville will face Detroit Catholic Central next on Saturday at 2:40, while Hougton faces off against host team Trenton at 10:40 a.m. Saturday at Kennedy Ice Arena.