CALUMET - With one quick wrist shot, Calumet junior forward Levi Erkkila buried two recent demons and the game-winner against reigning Division 1 state champions Novi Friday night.
After six minutes had passed in overtime, Erkkila found the puck at his stick several strides from the net and flipped a quick strike past Wildcats senior goaltender Spencer Peterson to give the Copper Kings a 5-4 victory. It was the first overtime victory of the year for Calumet, which had lost three and tied one this season when the game reach an extra period. It was also the first time Calumet had defeated Novi since 2007 - a string of four straight losses.
"There was a shot from the point, my linemates were battling for it and it just popped out to me," Erkkila said. "It came right on to my stick and I just fired it and it went in."
Calumet’s Brendan Jacques digs for a puck at the feet of Novi’s Collin Pew during the first period of Friday’s game at Calumet Colosseum as several Calumet and Novi players look on. Calumet defeated the defending Division 1 state champions 5-4 in overtime on Levi Erkkila’s game-winning goal. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
"The overtime might have been the best we played the whole game, I don't think we had a particularly good game from the second period on," Calumet coach Jim Crawford added.
"When you play that many overtime games, you deserve one, you would think."
The barrage in overtime from the Copper Kings - including five shots on net and several more chances just wide - came after lackluster second and third periods.
Novi 2 1 1 0 - 4
Calumet 4 0 0 1 - 5
First period - 1, CAL, Josh Harju 3 (Erkkila), 12:22; 2, NOVI, Curtis Herzog (Trainor), 14:47; 3, NOVI, Jon Mencer (Mastropaolo) 15:24; 4, CAL, Lucas Lahnala 7 (Storm, Erkkila), 16:06 (PP); 5, CAL, Lahnala 8 (Erkkila) 16:22; 6, CAL, Eric Mattila 1 (Nelson, West) 16:57.
Second period - 7, NOVI, Dylan Shepard (Mencer, Kobylarek) (PP).
Third period - 8, NOVI, Travis Trainor (Herzog, Hole) :26.
Overtime - 9, CAL, Erkkila 9 (Lahnala, Storm) 5:59.
Goalie saves - NOVI, Spencer Peterson 32 (7-10-10-5); CAL, Tyler Kangas 28 (9-10-8-1).
Calumet netted four goals in the first frame, highlighted by three scores in the final minute of the period.
Junior forward Lucas Lahnala lit the lamp twice and sophomore forward Eric Mattila buried the final score of the period with 3.2 seconds remaining on the clock. The deluge of goals started with a power play score after Novi picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty during the celebration of the Wildcats second score.
"Just strung together a couple of nice plays, got a few bounces and bang, bang, bang we have three goals," Crawford said.
"I don't know what happened with the penalty, but it helped us."
Besides the stellar play from Erkkila, two offensive-minded defensemen in seniors Ben Storm and Josh Harju helped carry the load.
Harju scored the game's opening goal 12 minutes in with a hard wrist shot from the left circle and Storm picked up two assists in the contest.
"Harju had that great shot that he scored on and Storm made some nice plays around the net," Crawford said. "It definitely helps our offense with those two on the ice."
The Wildcats were led by forwards Curtis Herzog and Jon Mencer with a goal and assist apiece. Kings goaltender Tyler Kangas saved 28 of the 32 shots he faced and Peterson saved 32 of 37.