CALUMET - It looked like it was going to be one of those games. Every athlete knows the feeling.
The Calumet hockey team was doing all the right things Saturday against downstate opponent Farmington Hills, except the one that matters most - putting the puck in the net. Three times in the third period alone, with the score netted at three apiece, the Copper Kings worked the puck around crisply before finding a man open deep in the slot.
Clang. Off the post.
Calumet senior forward Brendan Jacques sits at the bottom of the pile as his teammates congratulate him after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime Saturday. Farmington Hills goaltender Hunter Myers lies in front of his net. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
Several other chances went buried deep into Farmington goaltender Hunter Myers' stomach. A couple of times the shooter couldn't quite get his stick and feet in rhythm.
Despite putting together 17 minutes of attractive hockey in the final period, Calumet entered overtime still searching for a winner with the prospect of an undeserving tie looming.
Enter senior forward and four-year varsity member Brendan Jacques.
F. Hills 2 1 0 0 - 3
Calumet 1 2 0 1 - 4
First period - 1, CAL, Lucas Lahnala (Eric Mattila, Robert Erkkila), 4:17; 2, FAR, TJ Zak, 11:16; 3, FAR, Zak (Eric Stanis), 13:49.
Second period - 4, CAL, Brendan Jacques (Bryce Johnson, Braden Anderson), 7:32; 5, FAR, Stanis (Noah Downs), 10:59; 6, CAL, Anderson (Reilly Schreiber, Blake Rowe), 15:23.
Third period - No scoring
Overtime - 7, CAL, Jacques (Robert Erkkila, Bradley Erkkila), 6:43.
Penalties - FAR, 3-6; CAL, 2-4.
Jacques, who already had tied the game once with a tally in the second period, found himself gifted a pass in between the circles from Robert Erkkila with just over a minute to go in OT. Jacques turned, gathered and fired on goal as he lost his feet and fell to the ice.
"It happened so quick, and I was just trying to get up and see what happened but the guys were already on top of me," Jacques said. "I was just yelling at the bottom of the pile to get off, that's all I remember. I don't even know where it went in, I just knew it did because everyone was on top of me."
He beat Myers top-shelf and a dogpile ensued as Calumet won its third straight game, this one with a 4-3 final. The Copper Kings twice had to recover from a goal deficit in the second period before winning in overtime.
"I thought we had enough scoring opportunities to get a win easy, but we just couldn't buy one," Crawford said. "Posts, open nets, we should had a lot more than we did. We were working hard and making nice plays but the right one just wouldn't fall in for us."
It was Jacques' fourth and fifth goals of the season, a solid total for the average high school hockey player but not one the Northern Michigan-committed Jacques has been particularly pleased with. Like his teammates Saturday, he has created and missed on a few grade-A chances this season.
Jacques is hoping that is the goal to get him and Calumet going.
"He probably had 10 grade-A scoring chances that game," Crawford said. "He has been having a hard time scoring, but when he gets going, look out. I told him the other day, he was frustrated after Kingsford, and I told him just keep going. If you are putting yourself in a position to get those chances you are doing something right. Eventually they are going to go in."
After allowing two goals in the first period to the Flyers' T.J. Zak, Calumet upped the intensity in the second and third while searching for the equalizer. Jacques scored while on his knees right after a power play ended to tie it once, then after a third goal from Farmington, Braden Anderson evened it up for the rest of regulation with help from teammate Reilly Schreiber.
"It was good to see that we kept on fighting and kept on firing the pucks," Jacques said. "You are not going to get any chances without shooting the puck, so it was good that we kept firing and didn't get down on ourselves trying to get that last goal."
"I don't know if I was seeing things wrong, but that whole third period it seems we controlled the whole bloody play," Crawford added. "I thought we dominated that period. Tight games are good for you. It is a big win."
After a tough two losses to Cranbrook by a combined 17-1 score two weeks ago, the Copper Kings have now won three straight with a 5-2 overall record heading into undefeated Houghton Thursday.
"These last three games we got the wins in were really big for us to get some kind of a streak going," Jacques said. "Hopefully we can keep this going the rest of the year here."