Calumet wins 3rd-place game, defeats Howell 7-3
HOUGHTON — The Calumet Copper Kings netted five goals in the third period to earn a third-place finish in the John J. MacInnes Holiday Classic Thursday night at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Copper Kings skated away with a 7-3 victory over Howell.
Looking for a better effort than they had Wednesday during a loss to the Houghton Gremlins, head coach Dan Giachino juggled his lines, looking for a spark and it took 34 minutes for those changes to pay off in spades.
“[I thought] our top line, there’s some skilled kids there, they kind of slowly took over,” said Giachino. “I thought our second line there took a little bit of time to gel, even more so than our top line. Once they did, we were able to get some offense going.”
Awarded a play early in the the final frame, sophomore Sam Erkkila paced the Copper Kings with an end-to-end rush that he followed with a smart shot short side that beat Highlanders goaltender Nathan George at 1 minute, 54 seconds.
Erkkila would finish the night with two goals and an assist.
“Right now we are seeing the progression we were hoping to see out of him at this point in the year,” said Giachino. “He’s got a lot of speed. He’s got skill. He plays hard. We were waiting for the offense to appear.”
Less than two minutes later, freshman Scott Loukus skated the puck into the lower right circle before beating George with a quick wrist shot at 3:47.
Just under three minutes later, senior Matthew Yeo extended Calumet’s lead to three.
The goal ended George’s night.
Calumet captain Rory Anderson put the Copper Kings up 6-2 when he crashed the net and beat Calvin Kantola with a low shot at 8:32.
Russell Daavettila broke up the streak of goals for Calumet with a rare penalty shot goal at 13:24, which was the only blemish on freshman Alex Studebaker’s third period in goal for the Copper Kings.
After a rough night for junior Nick Voelker Wednesday, Giachino changed goaltenders to Studebaker. The youngster was tested in the first two minutes, and struggled with a shot from Howell’s Josh Farr, kicking a rebound out into the slot. Noah Stanko attempted to knock the rebound home, but Studebaker was there to make the stop.
“It’s been, for him, close to a month without a start,” said Giachino. “You expect a little bit of nerves, a little bit of rust. I thought once he fought that off, he played a solid hockey game.”
A little under a minute later, George was tested at the other end of the rink as senior Russ Bjorn threw a pass from the left point to senior Daylen Anderson alone in the slot. Anderson’s quick shot was held on to.
From there, both teams struggled to get things settled in their respective offensive zones until the final 4:30, when Bjorn carried the puck to the bottom of the right circle and attempted to beat George up over the glove-side shoulder. His shot appeared to have enough to beat the Howell netminder, but the near-side post kept it from beating George.
By the late stages of the first, Studebaker had settled into the net and was forced to come up with a key save off a slapshot from Steven Mullally with 3:37 remaining.
Calumet had one last good scoring chance in the first when sophomore Brent Loukus was sprung behind the Highlanders’ defenses. He took a pass from Rory Anderson, but his quick backhand shot sailed wide to George’s left.
The Copper Kings opened the second period on a power play, and it took them just 1:06 to take the game’s first lead when Rory Anderson ripped a quick blast from the right circle that beat George cleanly. Sophomore Brent Loukus fed the puck over to Anderson for the tally.
Looking to build off that lead, the Copper Kings went right back to work and quickly found the back of the net again when Loukus was sprung skating down the right side of the ice by a well-placed pass from senior Trevor Johnson near the left faceoff dot in his own end of the rink. Loukus blew past a Highlanders’ defender and beat George with a wrist shot at 2:55.
Loukus was whistled for a penalty on the ensuing shift, and that proved costly as Howell cut into Calumet’s lead when Russell Daavettila fired a shot from the bottom of the left circle and beat Studebaker short-side at 4:48.
After the goal, the Highlanders attacked hard again, but this time Studebaker made the stop. From the rebound, Rory Anderson exploded the other way, carrying the puck in on a 2-on-1 with assistant captain Ed Beiring. Anderson fed the puck to Beiring, but Beiring’s pass back just missed finding Anderson, skittering away harmlessly.
Howell found a way to even things up, 2-2, at 9:04 when Stanko found a soft spot in the Copper Kings’ defense near Studebaker. He took a pass across the crease from Graham Hassan and beat the young goaltender with a one-timer.
Howell 0 2 1 – 3
Calumet 0 2 5 – 7
1, CHS, Rory Anderson (Brent Loukus, Trevor Johnson), PP, 1:06
2, CHS, Loukus (Johnson), 2:55
3, HOW, Russell Daavettila (Sheldon Sturos, Josh Seiter), PP, 4:48
4, HOW, Noah Stanko (Graham Hassan), 9:04
5, CHS, Sam Erkkila (Trevor Salata), PP, 1:54
6, CHS, Scott Loukus (Izaak Avery), 3:47
7, CHS, Matthew Yeo (Erkkila, Josh VanDenburg), 6:28
8, CHS, Rory Anderson (Davin Lehto, Ed Beiring), 8:32
9, HOW, Daavettila, PS, 13:24
10, CHS, Erkkila (Yeo, Avery), 13:55
HOW, George 9 8 9 – 26
Kantola 0 0 9 – 9
CHS, Studebaker 4 7 10 – 21
HOW: 4/8; CHS: 3/6
HOW: 1/3; CHS: 2/4