Wolverines top Pioneers with shootout victory

Jamie Glenn/Daily Mining Gazette The Wolverines’ Ian Carroll readies for a shot attempt from the Pioneers during a game Sunday at the Calumet Colosseum.

CALUMET — With it being so early in the hockey season, teams are still trying to figure out who fits best and where, two young teams, the Calumet Wolverines and the Portage Lake Pioneers, faced off for their second exhibition game on the weekend Sunday evening at the Calumet Colosseum.

When the game finally ended, the Wolverines pulled out the win, 5-4, in a shootout.

Bruce Coppo, coach of the Calumet Wolverines saw two evenly-matched teams have some fun in extra session.

“As a whole, most of our teams were using our new kids,” he said. “I think I had like seven new kids out there. I had a lot of veterans not here tonight. It was a pretty evenly-matched game all the way through. We went to the shootout. It was a lot of fun.”

Both sides fought hard to the final shot.

The Wolverines struck first with a goal from forward Rory Anderson at 2:59 of the second period, but Portage Lake would respond at 5:35 with a goal from Riley McKay.

The Wolverines regained the lead on a power play when winger Ed Beiring found the net at 17:00. Again, Portage Lake evened things on the power play 2:20 later with a goal from Jack Fenton.

A strong finish to the second period from Portage Lake forced Calumet to respond.

“I didn’t think we played that well in the second period,” said Coppo. “I thought we were a little sluggish. We’re not in midseason form yet. It’s early in the year, (but) I think we held our own. I thought Portage had more momentum in the second period (and) had more shots on net then we did, but we held our own.

“We know we’ve got to get in a little better shape because these are our first games on the weekend. We were trying a lot of new guys so we know where we’re at with our new players. Now we can start working on different things in practice that we know we need to work on.”

Trevor Ploe, a defenseman for the Pioneers, thought his team played well even though they fell short in the end with two defensive breakdowns.

“I thought the game went really well,” said Ploe. “Any time you’ve got a shootout, you’ve got a battle through the entire game. (With an) early season game, I don’t think we could really ask for too much (more).

“We had one or two defensive breakdowns and that last goal that they had to tie it up (was) a heartbreaker. It takes the wind out of your sails, but I thought we rallied back okay.”

The third period saw four goals, the first from Wolverines forward Matt Yeo at 1:11 into the period on a penalty shot. Pioneers forward Matt Zerbst at 15:46 evened the game again.

A blueline shot from Pioneers forward Tyler Bailey would give them the brief lead until Chris Hoffman sent the game into overtime with 33 seconds left in regulation.

Portage Lake goaltender Matt Turunen had 38 saves in the loss.