Prep Hockey: Brighton hands Calumet 1st loss

Calumet's Noah Jukuri (17) tries to wrap the puck around on Brighton goaltender Christopher Wozniak (35) on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Calumet, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — All good things must come to an end.

The Division 3 No. 1 Calumet Copper Kings’ season-opening unbeaten streak ended at 12 games Saturday night as the hosts were not able to find the net in the third period and fell to the D1 No. 5 Brighton Bulldogs, 3-2, at the Calumet Colosseum.

For the Bulldogs, the win was their second of the weekend after defeating D3 No. 3 Houghton Friday night. Head coach Paul Maggoch was very pleased to see his team break a 2-2 tie in the third period and earn the second straight win.

“We came off a two losses to two good teams before we came up here,” Maggoch said. “So there was some sting, but we changed a couple of things. Then they responded and they really worked hard.

“It’s not easy riding in a bus, staying in a hotel, three guys in the room, all that stuff, but I think they came together and I think we saw it on the ice. I think you could see the difference, at least we could as coaches, in terms of how they played the game.”

Calumet's Seth Coppo (10) shoots at Brighton goaltender Christopher Wozniak (35) on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Calumet, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

On the other end of the rink, head coach Dan Giachino felt his team, which outshot the Bulldogs 30-26, just never really settled into what became their first loss of the season.

“I don’t think we had our best effort today,” he said. “It was kind of we just didn’t have that little bit of edge. We didn’t have a lot of gas in the tank

“We had a tough game last night I think. I just think ultimately, things catch up with the end and they seemed like they had a little more jump than we did and that’s that’s what ends up happening.”

The Copper Kings (11-1-1) were up 2-1 thanks to goals from senior winger Alex Mattila and senior defenseman Nick Djerf just 1:38 apart in the middle frame, but Moggach felt his team bent, but never broke, and found a way to even things 44 seconds later when a goalmouth scramble led to a goal from Logan Mitchell-Petitta at 9:26.

From that point forward, when the Bulldogs had the puck in the offensive zone, they pushed bodies and shots to the front of the net, creating havoc and taking away Copper Kings’ goaltender Alex Studebaker’s ability to see the puck until it was too late.

Brighton's Logan Mitchell-Petitta (7) battles for a loose puck in front of Calumet's Lincoln Beiring (3) and goaltender Alex Studebaker (30) on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Calumet, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

Del Wohlart was the beneficiary of that traffic and chaos as he scored what would stand as the game-winning goal just 1:32 into the third.

Moggach had wanted to see his team to battle hard from the drop of the puck in the third, and that is exactly what he got.

“That’s what we change coming in here,” he said. “We just tried to move the puck a little bit more so we’re not just taking shots. We’re trying to move the puck and create something that’s unexpected. We were passing the score instead of shooting the score. I think that I think it showed.”

From that point forward, it was the Christopher Wozniak show for the Bulldogs. The Copper Kings threw 11 shots Brighton’s goaltender’s way that hit the net and another seven or eight that missed entirely over the game’s final 14 minutes. With most of the shots coming from 40-60 feet from the net with minimal traffic in front.

“They pack in real tight on the box, and they try to block as many shots as they can,” Giachino said. “It happens that way against teams like this. We have got to be able to get shots through from the from the point and sometimes we’ll find the back of the net or sometimes we get some rebounds and bounces in front of the net that we just. We weren’t able to get tonight.”

Calumet's Gabe Coppo (13) shoots against Brighton on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Calumet, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

The Bulldogs (7-4-1) broke through first 9:42 into the contest. Matthew Blaska found some soft ice in the slot and took a pass from Wohlart. Once he got it, he quickly released a shot that found its way past Studebaker.

In the second, Mattila evened things when he batted a rebound off a shot from senior defenseman Hunter Rowe past Wozniak at 7:04. Then, just 1:38 later, Djerf picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and drove into the left circle in the Brighton zone before wiring a wrist shot over Wozniak’s right shoulder.

While Giachino admitted that much of his roster had an off-night of sorts in the contest, one player he felt stood out was senior winger Gabe Coppo.

“He’s he’s been he’s been playing well all year,” Giachino said. “I mean, him and Tanner and Alex Mattila are playing really well together. They’re generating scoring chances and, at times, all three of them right now are having trouble scoring right now.”

The Copper Kings are off until Friday when they host Northville.

Calumet's Lincoln Beiring (3) battles Brighton's Colin Reiter (19) for a loose puck on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Calumet, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

Brighton 1 1 1 — 3

Calumet 0 2 0 — 2

First Period–1, BHS, Blaska (Wohlart, Seiter), 9:42.

Second Period–2, CHS, Mattila (H. Rowe), 7:04. 3, CHS, Djerf, 8:42. 4, BHS, Mitchell-Petitta (Pryzsiecki), 9:26.

Third Period–5, BHS, Wohlart (Reiter, Forfinski), 1:32.

Saves–BHS, Wozniak, 9-7-11–28. CHS, Studebaker 9-9-6–23.

Power-play Opportunities–BHS 0 of 2. CHS 0 of 2

Penalties-minutes– BHS 2-4; CHS 3-6