Calumet recovers from 2-goal deficit to beat Houghton
CALUMET — The first time the Calumet Copper Kings and the Houghton Gremlins met this season, the Copper Kings cruised to a 7-1 victory. When the two met at the MacInnes Classic, Houghton emerged victorious, 7-5.
Tuesday night, the two teams met at the Calumet Colosseum. Houghton jumped out to a 2-0 lead, only to see Calumet score the game’s final three goals en route to a 3-2 win.
The Copper Kings, winners of three in a row, did not play a perfect game, but it was enough to earn the victory. With just two games left before the regional tournament, finding a way to win is important to coach Dan Giachino.
“They packed the box in tight,” said Giachino. “They blocked a lot of pucks. They did a nice job of keeping us out of the scoring areas. We had to work to get the puck in there.”
On the opposite end of the rink, coach Corey Markham’s Gremlins were without freshman Ty Halonen, who is injured, and sophomore Kevin Bostwick, who was serving a suspension while assistant captain Taavi Rajala and sophomore P.J. Donnelly were both playing sick.
While no one in arena would have been surprised if Houghton checked out of the game early, especially while junior goaltender Will Stier was under severe siege, the Gremlins bore down and found themselves up 1-0 just 2 minutes, 24 seconds into the contest when a wrist shot from assistant captain Dawson McKay found its way from the right circle through Calumet junior Nick Voelker.
“For what we had, with the sickness we are dealing with, really happy with the effort,” said Markham. “We had to change our game plan a little bit. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Stier made six saves over the course of the first period, including point-blank chances from captain Rory Anderson, assistant captain Ed Beiring and sophomore Brent Loukus. One shot finally beat Stier in the dying seconds of the period off the stick of junior Davin Lehto, however, it did not beat the post.
In the second period, the Gremlins took advantage of an early power play and senior Ronald Olson extended the lead to 2-0 when he knocked a rebound that Voelker lost control of into the net at 3:12.
Just as it appeared that Houghton (14-9-0 overall, 6-6-0 GLHC) was in control and starting to play with more authority, an old issue reared its ugly head as McKay was whistled for tripping.
On the ensuing advantage, the Copper Kings (16-6-1 overall, 9-1-0 GLHC) were able to cut the Gremlins’ lead in half. Stier was in position to stop a one-timed shot that Loukus misfired towards the goal. Just as the puck reached the crease, Beiring reached over and redirected the puck past Stier at 5:27.
The goal was just the type of goal only a player with the height and reach of Beiring could score.
“Eddie does a good job of getting in front of the goaltender and getting in his vision,” said Giachino. “He also does a good job with his stick around the net. He’s able to get to some pucks that maybe the goaltender doesn’t expect him to.”
The Gremlins were awarded a 5-on-3 for 1:01 just over halfway through the period. Instead of regaining the two-goal lead, however, Houghton only managed one shot from sophomore Justin Norkol from the left point and a pair of shots from sophomore Brendan Erickson at the right point. It was the second time in as many games the Gremlins failed to score during a lengthy two-man advantage.
“We had a great chance to get a two-goal lead,” said Markham. “We didn’t take advantage.”
That penalty kill gave the Copper Kings a boost of energy to renew their assault on Stier. Awarded a second power play just after the key penalty kill, Calumet quickly evened things when Loukus cut across the slot and wired a wrist shot home at 12:43.
The teams traded chances in the third. Erickson skated in on a 2-on-1 and fired two shots that Voelker stopped just over three minutes in. Less than a minute later, Anderson had a chance on a rebound, but his shot sailed over Stier and the net.
Shortly after Anderson’s chance, Houghton junior Clayton Sayen collided with a Calumet skater and a door at the Copper Kings’ bench. He struggled to get up and remained in the contest.
In the late stages of the third, Sayen was out on the ice during a shift in which the Gremlins were bottled up in their own end. He attempted to make a play on Anderson but was unable to keep him from getting to the slot. Anderson wired a low wrist shot that beat Stier at 12:24.
After the goal, Calumet kept Houghton bottled up until the final 72 seconds, when the Gremlins were awarded an offensive zone faceoff after an icing by a Copper Kings’ defender. Off the ensuing faceoff, the Gremlins got the puck to captain Jacob Kruse in the slot, but he could not kick the puck to his stick before a Calumet defender got to him and kept him from getting a shot on goal.
Calumet returns to the ice on Friday when they travel to Escanaba. Houghton is back at home Thursday when they host Marquette.
Houghton 1 1 0 – 2
Calumet 0 2 1 – 3
1, HHS, Dawson McKay, 2:24
2, HHS, Ronald Olson (Casey Lentowich, P.J. Donnelly), PP, 3:12
3, CHS, Ed Beiring (Brent Loukus, Trevor Johnson), PP, 5:27
4, CHS, Loukus (Rory Anderson, Beiring), PP, 12:43
5, CHS, Anderson (Loukus), 12:24
HHS, Stier 6 10 6 – 22
CHS, Voelker 7 9 2 – 18
HHS: 2/4; CHS: 3/6
HHS: 1/3; CHS: 2/2