WITH GALLERY: Copper Kings blank Bulldogs, 3-0
Calumet wins first of Copper Island Classic rivalry
CALUMET — The Copper Island Classic on the day after Thanksgiving is as traditional as grandma’s cranberry sauce.
Calumet won the trophy last year and they are on pace to keep it at home again this year as they defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 on Friday.
Friday’s matchup between Calumet and Hancock marked the 44th year for this series. The winner of the two-game series is the team that scores the most goals. Calumet has taken home the John H. Sherf trophy 26 times while Hancock has claimed it 17 times.
Friday was the first game of the year for both squads and it had all the trappings of an opening act.
“We’ve only had four practices, and it showed,” said Copper Kings head coach Dan Giachino.
The Copper Kings (1-0) have had so few practices as many of the kids on the hockey squad were football players whose season ended barely two weeks ago in the state quarterfinal.
“We obviously can be better and I think we will as the season progresses,” Giachino said. “It is what it is for a first game.”
The Copper Kings broke the ice towards the end of the first period. At the 12:53 mark, sophomore Paul Sturos found the back of the net after taking a pass from forward Noah Jukuri who was deep in the corner.
Calumet added another before the period was over. The Copper Kings found themselves a man up due to Hancock’s Kyle Maki penalized for roughing. With the advantage sophomore Tom Erkkila fed one to junior forward Tanner Rowe who lifted one past Bulldog goalie Isaak Pietila with two minutes remaining.
The Copper Kings got their final goal midway through the second period when senior forward Gabe Coppo fired one from the slot through the pads of Pietila to make it 3-0.
“I thought our defense played well tonight,” Giachino said. “Our goaltender (Alex Studebaker) stepped up and made some big saves for us and got the shutout.”
Studebaker made 22 saves for the win.
Pietila made 23 saves for Hancock (0-1).
Despite the loss, Hancock head coach Dan Rouleau was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I thought we played better and better as the game went on,” he said. “It was a good start to the season.”
He was particularly pleased with the hard work of sophomore goaltender Isaak Pietila.
“Last year, I think he faced two or three shots total,” said Rouleau. “So to come out and face a team like Calumet and do as well as he did says a lot. I was impressed.”
The two teams will do it again tonight at the Calumet Colosseum with the face-off at 7 p.m.
Calumet 2 1 0 — 3
Hancock 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — 1, CAL, Sturos (Jukuri) 12:43. 2, CAL, Rowe (Erkkila), power-play, 2:14.
Second Period — 3, CAL, Coppo (S. Loukus), 6:54.
Saves — CAL, Studebaker, 4-9-9–22. HAN, Pietila 5-6-12–23.
Power plays — CAL 1-4; HAN 0-4.
Penalties-minutes — CAL 6-12; HAN 4-8.