IRON MOUNTAIN - For anyone wondering how long it would take Ted Pietila to get up to game speed after missing the past two contests, the answer is 52 seconds.
Pietila scored three of his four goals in the first period as Kingsford put away an overmatched Negaunee early and coasted to a 9-1 Great Lakes Hockey Conference victory Monday evening at Mountain View Ice Arena.
"It's great to get Teddy back," KHS coach Jim Peterson said of the Flivvers' captain. "He was ready. His strength, his puck handling, working down low, he's a force out there."
Pietila, serving a two-game suspension after receiving a game disqualification in the Flivvers' season opener, put in his second goal at 3:23 of the first.
He completed his hat trick at 13:10 on a power play after Negaunee's Cole Francis lost his cool and earned a double minor and game misconduct for some extra shoving following a stoppage near center ice.
Marcus Andrews, scoring two goals of his own in the game, assisted on two of the Pietila tallies, with Reid Pietila helping on all three.
Andrews made it a 4-0 game near the end of the first frame, redirecting a blue-line shot by Nick Brule.
"It was a good game for us," Peterson said. "We needed a home win, that's for sure."
Another power play marker from Pietila made 5-0 before Negaunee got on the board. Brule and Andrews helped set up the score.
"We know what to do (on the power play)," Peterson said. "We just have to do it at a little faster pace. Tonight we started moving the puck from high to low, got some opportunities."
Ryan Syrjala broke Conor Berndt's shutout bid at 6:55 of the second, knocking in his own rebound.
"They deserved to win," Negaunee coach Eric Hill said. "They came out after us hard. They were all over us all night, and they moved their feet.
"They outworked us. They got all kinds of bounces, and when you work hard, you get those type of bounces. A young team like us, this is a learning experience. We're just going to have to learn from all our mistakes and hopefully get better for Friday night."
Sean Ryan blasted in a long shot to answer the Negaunee tally at 10:29 of the second.
Norway's Justin Rock notched his first prep goal early in the third. He fired again on what would be the game-ending goal at 7:22, his shot deflecting off the stick of Brady Nettell on its way to the back of the net.
In between, Andrews recorded his second goal at 6:58, unassisted.
The game was hard-hitting throughout, with a lot of extra pushing and shoving after whistles - with Negaunee obviously showing the most frustration.
"When it got chippy, we kept our head, which we have to do," Peterson said.