Hancock goes off in 8-5 win over Calumet to take control of series

Hancock’s Alex Nordstrom scores the third of his four goals against Calumet as goaltender Nick Voelker attempts to make a save, Friday, at the Calumet Colosseum during the Copper Island Classic. Hancock won 8-5. (Daily Mining Gazette/Bryce Derouin)

CALUMET — When Teddy Randell and Alex Nordstrom emerged from the locker room following Hancock’s 8-5 win over Calumet, the two made one thing clear. Donning matching gray pants, brown shoes and pink button-ups, it’s obvious they are in sync with each other. On the ice, it is even more apparent. 

Randell and Nordstrom had a hand in all eight of the Bulldogs’ goals in the first game of the Copper Island Classic at the Calumet Colosseum. They scored four apiece, with Nordstrom tallying three assists and Randell adding two.  

“They are two very talented hockey players,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said. “They know where the other one is at all times and the chemistry they’ve built over the years, I haven’t seen that in a duo here at Hancock.”

The opening series against Calumet is something they’ve been looking forward to all offseason, so Randell and Nordstrom came to play. 

“This is one of the biggest games of the year for fans, and this place is packed,” Randell said. “I’ve been here for four years and I didn’t sleep at all last night.”

When play began Calumet struck first, taking a 1-0 lead with 7:21 to go in the period. Senior Davin Lehto out-skated the Hanock defense on the right board, and cut back to the middle of the ice before finding junior Brent Loukus skating for the goal. Loukus fired the puck into the top of the goal and the Copper Kings began to celebrate. 

But it didn’t last long. Randell and Nordstrom went to work immediately.

Less than two minutes later, Nordstrom came up with the puck in front of the net and tapped it home to tie the game at 1. Then, 46 seconds later, Randell got in on the action, scoring his first goal of the game and giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. Naturally, Nordstrom recorded the assist.

“We wouldn’t get that many points without each other, to be honest,” Randell said. “When we are out on the ice, all we do is see each other.”

The two have spent three years getting to know each other’s strengths on the ice, and according to Rouleau, there isn’t much his dynamic duo isn’t good at. 

“They are very, very smart hockey players,” he said. “Both of them can pass, and both of them can score. Usually you have a kid that is good at setting up but he can’t finish, or the other way around, but these kids have all the attributes.”

Randell and Nordstrom eventually led Hancock out to a 4-1 lead over Calumet, but the Copper Kings showed persistence. With 9:27 left in the second period, Hancock was whistled for two penalties — the Bulldogs had seven in the game — and Calumet had a 5-on-3 advantage. 

The Copper Kings scored when Lehto fired a shot from between the face-off circles. They continued to apply pressure as the power play wound down and had three more shots before it was over. 

For Calumet coach Dan Giachino, offense wasn’t the problem. When a team scores five goals, a win is expected, but the Copper Kings made too many mental mistakes on defense. 

“The biggest issue I have is the nature of how we gave up those eight goals,” he said. “There were too many easy ones. We handed them about four goals tonight, and we can’t do that. But offensively, we generated scoring chances and I thought we scored well on those chances.”

 Calumet was led by Loukus, who had two goals and two assists. 

The Copper Kings outshot the Bulldogs 29-23, but Nordstrom and Randell were too much to handle.

“You have to eliminate their time and space,” Giachino said. “That is the biggest thing because it decreases their abilities quite a bit. They are very good players, but we also made it easy on them tonight, so we have to be more physical and get in their faces.”

The Copper Kings will have another chance tonight when they meet the Bulldogs for Game 2 of the Copper Island Classic tonight at 7 p.m. in the Calumet Colosseum. After winning on Friday, Hancock is up three goals over Calumet in the two-game, total-goal series. 

“Right now with our youth and the inexperience in our locker room, it is all about getting them to stay positive and to understand that this is a game of mental mistakes,” Giachino said. “It wasn’t physical mistakes, it wasn’t effort, it was mental mistakes and two kids that were able to take advantage of those mistakes. So we clean up the easy ones and we will be fine.”

Calumet holds a 25-16 advantage in the Classic, but Hancock is hoping to get one more, with another win tomorrow. 

“It is nice having a three-goal lead going into tomorrow, but it means nothing if they come out and score three right away, so obviously we want to jump on them early,” Rouleau said.

– – –

Calumet 1 2 2  – 5  

Hancock 2 3 3 – 8  

First period  

Calumet – Brent Loukus (Davin Lehto), 7:21, 1-0.  

Hancock- Alex Nordstrom, 9:12, 1-1.

Hancock- Teddy Randell (Nordstrom), 9:58, 2-1.

Second period  

Hancock- Nordstrom (Randell), 3:55, 3-1. 

Hancock- Nordstrom (Petr Anderson, Randell), 4:07, 4-1. 

Calumet- Lehto (Scott Loukus, B. Loukus), 10:07, 4-2.

Hancock- Randell (Anderson, Nordstrom), 13:33, 5-2.

Calumet- Sam Erkkila, 14:53, 5-3.

Third period  

Hancock- Randell, 2:35, 6-3.

Hancock- Randell (Nordstrom), 2:47, 7-3. 

Hancock- Nordstrom, 4:50, 8-3. 

Calumet- S. Loukus (B. Loukus, Cam Kauppinen), 6:25, 8-4.

Calumet- B. Loukus (S. Loukus), 12:33, 8-5.

Saves  

Calumet: Nick Voelker 16, Alex Studebaker 5.

Hancock: Dawson Kero 18.

Penalties  

Calumet: 3/6; Hancock: 7/17.   

Power plays  

Calumet: 1/7; Hancock 0/3. 

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