Carson Lovedale of the M&M Thunder scores a third-period goal against Calumet Friday night at the Civic Center. <br>EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Carson Lovedale of the M&M Thunder scores a third-period goal against Calumet Friday night at the Civic Center.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - The M&M Thunder appears to be up to the challenge of a new, tougher high school hockey league.

Friday night, the Thunder beat Calumet 3-1 for its first victory in the Great Lakes Hockey League.

It won't be easy in the new league, though. The days of 10-0 blowout wins are long gone. With slick puck handling and good skaters, Calumet matched the Thunder for 21⁄2 periods.

"I'd say our league is a lot better than last year," Thunder senior captain Denin Bieberitz said.

The Thunder took a 1-0 lead at the 8:16 mark of the first period. Brock Jersey fired a sharp angle shot to beat the goalie's glove side. Colin Hass and Elizabeth Horn earned assists.

The Copper Kings tied the game at the 13:09 mark of the second period, but Thunder goalie Zak Giese made some good saves to keep the game tied.

"The first period we outworked them, and then the second period they outworked us," Thunder coach Frank Best said.

The third period was the best period of the young season for the Thunder. On a power play, Hass rifled in a wrist shot high to the glove side for a 2-1 Thunder lead. Luke Kraus earned the assist.

With 6:28 remaining, Bieberitz took a pass from Easton Arsineau and made a great centering pass to Carson Lovedale breaking to the net for an insurance goal.

"I thought we were more diciplined and forechecked harder," Best said of the third period.

The Thunder has played nonconference games against the Copper Kings for several seasons.
"I like playing them," Best said. "They're disciplined, fast and well-coached. They're one of the first places I get ahold of every year to try and schedule games."

Both teams are 1-2 and will play again today at 9 a.m.

With six new players, there has been a steep learning curve in the early season.

"As time goes on it just keeps getting better," Bieberitz said.