Hancock repeats as Copper Island Classic champions

Hancock poses with the John Sherf trophy after defeating Calumet 4-3 Saturday, at the Calumet Colosseum. Hancock won the Copper Island Classic on an aggregate score of 12-8. (Bryce Derouin/Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — In 1976, then-sophomore Dan Rouleau played for Hancock in the first Copper Island Classic. The memories of that series have gotten hazy over the years, but the feeling of hoisting the trophy following a win over Calumet hasn’t changed. 

Rouleau did it as a high school player in ’76, and he did it Saturday as a coach when Hancock defeated Calumet 12-8 in the two-game aggregate series after winning 4-3 in Game 2. 

“This is a hard place to win,” he said. “Calumet is good in their own rink, so it is always enjoyable to celebrate up here because it is tough to do.”

Back then the Copper Island Classic was just an idea that was put into motion thanks to a donated trophy. Now, it is a staple of the hockey season.

“There is still a lot of competition, a lot of physical play, and it means a lot to both teams to win this and to be a part of it,” said Calumet coach Dan Giachino, who played in the Classic in the ’90s. “It is definitely an important piece to our season.”

Hancock got out to an 8-5 lead after Friday’s game, but Rouleau said he needed a quick start from his Bulldogs on Saturday. 

He got his wish. 

Hancock jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after the first period. Junior Trevor Tchida was responsible for two of the goals, and Teddy Randell netted the third.

Calumet got 10 shots off in the period, but Dawson Kero was solid in goal. With 6:20 to play in the period the Copper Kings got a close-range shot from Alex Matilla, but Kero deflected, allowing Hancock to clear the puck. A minute later he recorded his seventh save of the game by diving forward onto the puck after players from both teams fought for possession in front of the net. He finished with 24 saves.

When the first period ended, Hancock held an 11-5 goal advantage over Calumet in the series. From there the Bulldogs coasted to their second-straight Copper Island Classic victory. Calumet holds a 25-17 all-time lead in the series.

Calumet outplayed Hancock in the second and third periods, outscoring the Bulldogs 3-1. The Copper Kings got their first goal of the game from Rylan Anderson at 16:05 in the second. Then they finally settled in and began to attack on offense and battle back on defense. On Friday, Calumet made mental errors, something that continued into the first period of Saturday’s game, but a different team emerged in the second period.

“I think we had some kids that grew up tonight from last night,” Giachino said. “We had a lot of kids that maybe weren’t used to the crowd size, weren’t used to the competition level, but tonight those kids settled in a little bit as the game went on. They realized they could play at this level and could be effective.”

Before Calumet got comfortable, Randell made it 4-0 at 10:45 in the second period when Calumet coughed up the puck in open ice. He lined up the breakaway shot and fired past Nick Voelker into the right side of the net. Randell had two goals in the game and six total in the Classic. According to Rouleau, Hancock will likely make a habit of high-goal totals this season.

“We got an offensive team, we are going to score our share of goals, so we have to just learn the defensive end of the game,” he said. 

Rouleau got the start he wanted from his Bulldogs, but the finish left something to be desired. 

In the third period, Calumet got goals from freshman Tanner Rowe and sophomore Scott Loukus. 

With 8:40 left to play Dean Loukus skated around the back of net and Kero turned to challenge. Then, Dean found Rowe in front of an open net to make it 4-2. 

Less than two minutes later, the puck went airborne and Scott Loukus swung his stick down, shooting past Kero and cutting the lead to 4-3.

The late rally is a positive for the Copper Kings going forward.

“It was just good experience and getting the kids to believe in themselves a little bit,”Gianchino said. “Giving up eight goals is tough and then getting down early, but we challenged them on the bench between periods to respond and they did.

“It is a learning curve for us. We are going to have ups and we are going to have downs with how young we are.”

– – –

Calumet- 0 1 2- 3  

Hancock-  3 1 0- 4

First period  

Hancock- Trevor Tchida, 2:10, 1-0.

Hancock- Teddy Randell (Alex Nordstrom, Petr Anderson), 9:44, 2-0.

Hancock- Tchida, 15:56, 3-0.

Second period  

Hancock- Randell (Nordstrom), 6:15, 4-0.

Calumet- Rylan Anderson (Tanner Rowe), 16:05, 4-1.

Third period  

Calumet- Rowe (Dean Loukus), 8:20, 4-2.

Calumet- Scott Loukus (Sam Erkklia), 9:53, 4-3.

Saves  

Calumet: Nick Voelker 20.

Hancock: Dawson Kero 24. 

Penalties  

Calumet: 2/4; Hancock: 4/8.   

Power plays  

Calumet: 0/3; Hancock 0/2. 

COMMENTS