Calumet pulls away to top No. 1 Brighton
Calumet pulls away to top No. 1 Brighton
CALUMET — Through the first 18 minutes of the contest Saturday night, the Calumet Copper Kings and Brighton Bulldogs were tied in shots, saves, goals and nearly every other offensive category at the Calumet Colosseum.
Just 3 minutes, 32 seconds later, that changed. From there, the Copper Kings took advantage of a Bulldogs squad that slid back on its heels and Calumet went on to score twice more to win the game, 4-1, over the No. 1 team in Division 1.
The Copper Kings had one major goal in mind: keep Bulldogs’ assistant captain Jacob Crespi and his linemates off the scoresheet if at all possible. Crespi had two goals and an assist Friday against Hancock.
He was held off the scoresheet — for just the second time this season — against Calumet as they mostly kept in check throughout the evening.
“Rory [Anderson], Brent [Loukus] and Eddie [Beiring] held their big line in check all night,” said Copper Kings coach Dan Giachino. “To control those guys and keep them off the scoresheet, that’s a bigger accomplishment than from the offensive side.”
Crespi had one quality scoring chance at the end of the second period. As he skated in alone with just seconds remaining on the clock, he seemed to panic and release a shot earlier than he wanted to.
Without their top offensive threat creating offense the way he normally does, Brighton struggled to keep up with the Copper Kings once they started rolling.
“We didn’t work hard enough to win that game,” said Bulldogs coach Paul Moggach. “I thought Calumet brought it all three periods and they deserved the win.”
The Copper Kings were engaged in the contest from the drop of the opening faceoff and their two top offensive threats nearly connected just 20 seconds into the contest when captain Rory Anderson fed the puck from the left circle to assistant captain Ed Beiring in the slot for a redirect that Brighton’s Robert Pegrum stopped.
It took the duo 12:34 more playing time, but this time it was Anderson who was recipient of a well-timed flip pass in the neutral zone from Beiring before heading off to the races to score the game’s opening goal on a breakaway at 12:54.
“I saw both [defensemen] were slow pinching up a little bit,” said Anderson. “I yelled for Eddie to chip it, and that’s what he did. I saw open space and took it and went to the net.”
After Spencer Gehres took advantage of a turnover by Calumet defenseman Trevor Johnson to set up Will Jentz game-tying goal just 45 seconds in the middle frame, it took Anderson 3:32 to respond when he picked up a puck at center ice, drove around a Brighton defender and finally fed the puck out into the slot where freshman Scott Loukus could quickly turn the pass into a new lead for the Copper Kings.
From there, the Copper Kings answered everything the Bulldogs threw their way until Anderson beat a Bulldogs defender at center ice and then found Beiring busting up the left boards. Beiring turned Brighton defenseman Brody White inside out to get past him and then cut to the Bulldogs net, where a quick move to his forehand allowed him to get around Pegrum and extend the Calumet lead at 12:31.
“When you play teams like this, you have to have your best players be your best players,” said Giachino.
While the Copper Kings felt very good about where they were at that point, Brighton nearly closed the gap once before Crespi got loose in the final seconds of the frame.
Looking to put the Bulldogs away early in the third, the Copper Kings turned to senior Jack Sturos two shifts in. Sturos picked up the puck behind his own net and skated it out of his own end down the left boards. Once he realized that he still had room to skate, he took advantage, blowing around another Brighton defender in the offensive zone before turning towards the net and beating Pegrum with a backhand, ending the Bulldogs goaltender’s night.
Pegrum was replaced by Logan Neaton, who had beaten Hancock on Friday.
“I thought, going into the third, he had done his job, we just weren’t doing anything up front,” said Moggach of Pegrum. “When it went to four, [we made the switch] to get a spark somehow.”
Both teams skated well in the remainder of the contest, but with the contest mostly decided, the Copper Kings were not as aggressive as the Bulldogs were, leading to a 10-7 advantage in shots for Brighton in the final frame. Calumet junior Nick Voelker was equal to the task, stopping 22 of 23 Bulldogs’ shots in the contest.
Brighton 0 1 0 – 1
Calumet 1 2 1 – 4
1, CHS, Rory Anderson (Ed Beiring), SH, 12:54
2, BHS, Will Jentz (Spencer Gehres), :45
3, CHS, Scott Loukus (Anderson), 4:17
4, CHS, Beiring (Anderson), 12:31
5, CHS, Jack Sturos, 2:07
BHS, Pegrum 6 8 1 – 15
Neaton 0 0 5 – 5
CHS, Voelker 6 6 10 – 22
BHS: 2/4; CHS: 3/6
BHS: 0/2; CHS; 0/1