Jackson United team captain Jacob Cook (center) looks for the puck during a hockey game against Portage Northern High School at Optimist Ice Arena on Saturday.
By Jeff Steers
Sometime – real soon – Jackson United Coach Matt Grimes hopes the Vikings win games like the one at Optimist Ice Arena against Portage Northern High School on Saturday.
The Vikings lost 2-1 in overtime despite having a number of 5-on-3 chances late in the game.
Jackson United – a combination of players from Jackson, Western, Michigan Center, and Northwest high schools – is 1-4 under first-year Coach Grimes.
“We outplayed that team tonight … this is one we should have won,” Grimes said. “This was a tough loss tonight.”
Jackson United has 17 players on the team with more than half of them being freshmen or sophomores. Grimes said the Vikings were gassed at the end of regulation.
“We roll with pretty much 10 guys (two lines), so overtime is not in our favor,” Grimes said.
Neither team took advantage of power-play opportunities in the first period. The Huskies had two chances and Jackson one. Portage Northern outshot Jackson 7-6 in the first period.
Drew Bonser of Western scored the first goal of the game for Jackson United. He scored on a rebounded shot from Jacob Cook for a 1-0 lead.
Jackson had trouble with penalties, starting the second and third periods in 5-on-3 disadvantages. But goalie Barrett Roe came up big all night for the Vikings.
Portage Northern tied the score at the 9:42 mark for the third period. Blake Sorge scored on a breakaway for the Huskies on an assist by Braden Falk for a short-handed goal.
Jackson United outshot the Huskies 15-4 in the third period, but could not get one past the Portage Northern goalie.
Roe made a huge save on a breakaway to start the overtime period. But Falk scored on another breakaway at the 5:40 mark of overtime for the game-winning goal.
Jackson finished with 28 shots on goal and Portage Northern had 24 shots at the net. PNHS had one more power-play opportunity in the hockey game.
Roe finished with 26 saves for Jackson United.
The Vikings will face Southeastern Conference opponents Lenawee at 5 p.m. next Saturday at Optimist.