Calumet turnover in OT gives Cranbrook a 2-1 win

Calumet’s Alex Studebaker protects the puck from going in for a goal on a wrap-around shot from Cranbrook’s Case Kantgias Friday, at the Calumet Colosseum. (Daily Mining Gazette/Bryce Derouin)

CALUMET — Brent Loukus had the Calumet faithful sending out “Oohs” and “Ahhs” during his electrifying goal against the Cranbrook Cranes. But the mood changed by night’s end, and those same fans let out a collective groan that was coupled with disappointment. 

With under a minute left in overtime, Calumet turned the puck over in its own end and allowed Cranbrook’s MacLean Brice to beat Calumet’s Alex Studebaker on a breakaway for the game-winning goal and a 2-1 win with just 48 seconds remaining in overtime, Friday at the Calumet Colosseum. 

“That was a very anti-climatic ending,” Calumet coach Dan Giachino said. “It’s a bad turnover, and it’s one of those things where you have to deal with it from time to time. The only way to deal with it going forward is to put it behind us and focus on playing tomorrow night.”

The two teams will meet again tonight at 7 p.m. at the Colosseum.

Cranbrook outshot Calumet 31-20 and was straight dominant at times. The Cranes gave themselves every opportunity to score during regulation, but pucks rang off the crossbar or sailed through the crease as they could not capitalize time and time again. 

But when Calumet gifted Cranbrook its best opportunity to score in overtime, Brice put the game away.

“We got a lucky break and got a lucky bounce,” Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach said, “But Brice was very patient with the puck, out-waited the goalie and got it behind him. It was a good goal for him, and a lucky break for us.”

There was no luck involved in Loukus’ goal. 

With Cranbrook holding a 16-6 shot advantage and dominating play in Calumet’s end, Loukus gained possession and deked two defenders before beating Cranbrook’s Colin Rutter with a backhanded shot 9 minutes, 59 seconds into the second period for a 1-0 lead. 

Prior to Loukus’ attack, Calumet’s offensive opportunities were limited.

“Brent’s one of those guys who can do that for us,” Giachino said of creating offense. “He took one-on-two, basically, and split the defensemen and made a nice play to the net. We definitely need that out of him. It’s nice to see that happen.”

Some of Cranbrook’s biggest missed opportunities came in the second period. 

Just over a minute in, Cranbrook’s Case Kantgias had a wrap-around shot that went under a sliding Studebaker but sailed across the crease along the goal line. 

Later, Calumet was caught in a line change, allowing Cranbrook’s Hugh Lambert to get loose on a breakaway where his shot would beat Studebaker before bouncing off the crossbar. 

The Cranes finally broke through 1:13 into the third when Connor McGrath flipped the rebound over a diving Studebaker to tie the game at 1.

“Eventually you’re going to score if you keep traffic in front and go for loose rebounds,” Weidenbach said. “If you keep peppering the goalie, you’re bound to get rewarded sooner or later.”

Cranbrook’s equalizer appeared to give Calumet’s offense a greater sense of urgency, leading to a team-high nine shots in the period for the Copper Kings. 

However, Calumet failed to generate those same type of scoring opportunities in overtime, finishing with just one shot on goal in the extra session.

“I think (Cranbrook’s) size and strength wore us down a little bit as the game progressed,” Giachino said. “They’re much bigger than us from top to bottom, so I think that physical size difference wore us a little bit. 

“We weren’t able to generate as much in the overtime as we would have liked.”

– – –

Cranbrook 0 0 1 1 — 2

Calumet 0 1 0 0 — 1

First period

None

Second period

Calumet — Brent Loukus (Taner Rowe), 9:59, 1-0

Third period

Cranbrook — Connor McGrath (Hugh Lambert, Case Kantgias), 1:13, 1-1

Overtime

Cranbrook — MacLean Brice, 7:12, 2-1

Saves

Cranbrook: Colin Rutter 5 4 9 1 — 19

Calumet: Alex Studebaker 11 6 7 5 — 29

Penalties

Cranbrook: 2/4; Calumet 1/2

Power play

Cranbrook: 0/1; Calumet 1/2.

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