CALUMET - Hancock did get a game in before facing off with Calumet in the opener of the Copper Island Classic Friday, but it may have been all the games logged in the past that showed the most.
The highly experienced Bulldogs took it to the relatively green Copper Kings, and the result was a 6-0 Hancock victory that put the visitors in the driver's seat to win the two-game total-goals series for the first time since 2008.
"One thing about last week is we blew a two-goal lead with four minutes left and when we got the lead tonight, we played good with the lead," Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said.
Hancock’s Zach Ahola carries the puck behind the net during the second period of Friday’s first game of the Copper Island Classic against Calumet at Calumet Colosseum. Aaron Rose pursues him for the Copper Kings. Hancock won the game, 6-0. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
The Bulldogs (1-0-1) directed one-way traffic throughout the first period, but it took a Calumet penalty for any of it to turn into a goal. After a high shot on Calumet goaltender Ian Carroll, everyone in the danger area needed a beat to find the puck again. Wade Hanke did first and poked it in to break the deadlock 12:05 in.
Less than a minute later, Hunter Kero doubled the lead, stuffing the puck past Carroll's foot on the near post.
Shots were 17-2 Hancock over the first 17 minutes.
Hancock2 1 3 - 6
Calumet0 0 0 - 0
First period - 1, HAN - Wade Hanke 1 (Brett Lepisto, Jack Fenton), 12:05 (PP); 2, HAN - Hunter Kero 1 (Lepisto, Zach Ahola), 13:01.
Second period - 3, HAN - Larry Fallon 1 (Fenton, Ahola), 15:15.
Third period - 4, HAN - Alex Hill 2 (Hanke, Dan Hill), 5:33; 5, HAN - Fenton 1 (Kero, Lepisto), 10:01; 6, HAN - Hanke (unassisted), 12:54.
Power-play opportunities - Hancock 1-for-2; Calumet 0-for-2.
Penalties - Hancock 2/4, Calumet 2/4
Goalie saves - HAN, William Lucier 17 (2-9-6); CAL, Ian Carroll 38 (15-13-10).
"They definitely deserved to honk us, that's for sure. They outskated us bad," Calumet coach Jim Crawford said.
Calumet appeared to regain its bearings in the second period. Defensively, the Copper Kings had at least slowed Hancock down. Offensively, they generated multiple odd-man rushes, though the finishing was not there.
Whatever progress Calumet made in the period, however, was erased late when Larry Fallon scored the frame's only goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. Carroll appeared to drop Fenton's hard slapper from the right point, and Fallon was the first to it for an easy tally, his first of the season.
"What I like mostly is we got our defense involved in the offense too. Jack Fenton had a great game, a goal and two assists tonight, but how many shots on net the kid had," Rouleau said.
Hancock broke Calumet's remaining resistance after Alex Hill rushed in from the left for the 4-0 goal at 5:33 of the third period, and Fenton and Hanke added tallies in the closing stretches.
The 6-0 final score marks the biggest Hancock win in the history of the series (dating back to 1976) and forcefully ended a run of six consecutive Calumet game victories in the series since the Bulldogs' 5-2 win in Game 2 of the 2009 series.
"It was nice to see us, after having a great first period and a so-so second period, to come back in the third and get back to pretty much a good forecheck in the two periods," Rouleau said.
William Lucier made 17 saves for the shutout.
"Seeing only a couple shots in that first period. He got a few in the second, and it's hard for a goalie to come back like that. I thought 'Loosh' did a good job out there." Rouleau said.
For Calumet (0-1), Carroll made 38 stops, though he gave up too many rebounds, Crawford said. That and several other things will be on Calumet's list of things to improve for the series finale tonight at the Colosseum.
"They learned the speed of high school pretty quick. These rookies will have to pick it up and our experienced players have got to play too," Crawford said.